What’s in a name?

I have started a blog numerous times. Each time the same obstacle has blocked my way – the name. Juliet’s assertion “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” downplays the importance. But in adoption names mean a lot. Names are tied in with identity and myriad issues concerning the self.

My wife and I have been tweeting for a few years now, using the handle @mrsreedwarbler. On the one hand, that username was selected rather hastily, as we felt pressured to adopt a pseudonym before sending our thoughts into cyberspace. On the other hand, it works pretty well:

  • We are a same sex couple – some might call us a pair of birds – who enjoy ornithology;
  • The reed warbler is a plainish bird that is normally heard rather than seen;
  • It winters in Africa (that might just be wishful thinking).

However, there is one potential problem with the name. Reed warblers enjoy a symbiotic relationship with cuckoos, failing to distinguish between their eggs and other birds’ and caring for them equally. This is the aspect of adoption that we wanted to share and embrace. Unfortunately, some would view the relationship as parasitic, calling cuckoos cunning and opportunistic. My worry is that, by extension, people will think we view birth parents in this way. We absolutely do not.

The relationship with birth parents is complicated, which I will no doubt explore in detail at a later point. But without birth parents we wouldn’t have our little ones. And we must acknowledge their loss, because it seems that loss is at the very heart of adoption (sounds like another blog post…).

I guess this post serves as a disclaimer of sorts, an acknowledgement that the name might be clumsy and misguided but well-meaning. Having navigated the adoption process for almost four years I feel that we have experiences to share, which we hope will benefit others. We have benefited from others’ kindness and generosity as we have prepared to be adoptive parents and we hope that we can share the skills, knowledge, and experience we have gained with others. Equally, through attending courses, reading books and blogs, and through communicating online via websites and through social media we have extended and developed our support network. We hope to offer this to other adopters who may not have the opportunities to attend such courses or who haven’t yet encountered the amazing people we have been fortunate enough to meet.

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