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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

The Name Game

It’s a tricky game when adopting a school-aged child or above, particularly when it relates to their name. Maybe you’re bringing home a baby or toddler and wonder the same. Do you keep the foreign name or change it? Most everyone has an opinion on the matter, and there are some really good reasons for going either way.

Think of the names that are most popular in the U.S. right now. Let’s take a look at the top ten boy and girl names: Jacob, Ethan, Daniel, Matthew, Alexander, Michael, Joshua, Christopher, William, Anthony, Isabella, Emma, Madison, Emily, Ava, Olivia, Sophia, Abigail, Chloe, and Elizabeth.

Not one of our kids can be found on these lists.

These are the names that end up on keychains and caps in novelty shops. Even knowing the names won’t be there, we still give a look anytime there are monogrammed or personalized items.


The thinking behind keeping their name is that it’s all a child has when they come home. The thinking behind starting life with a new name is that it makes life easier, it’s one less question to ask, it’s neat and nice and it follows that you’ll find some stuff with the name plastered all over it.

We opted to keep the kids’ Russian first names, add a middle name of our own choosing, and then finish it off with our family name as the cherry on top, a multisyllabic mishmash that suits us and them just fine. Never mind that most Americans mangle their names every time….

What did you do in terms of naming your children?


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