Names and naming in adoption: birth heritage and family making

Pilcher, J. ORCID: 0000-0002-1864-1362, Coffey, A. and Hooley, Z., 2020. Names and naming in adoption: birth heritage and family making. Child and Family Social Work, 25 (3), pp. 568-575. ISSN 1356-7500

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In this article, we consider the significance and practices of names and naming in adoption, to develop understanding of the issue amongst scholars, policy makers, adoption practitioners, and adoption communities. Research on the topic of names and adoption is scarce and focused mostly on international and domestic adoptions in the United States. We draw on the research literature to critically explore names and naming in adoption through two recurrent and related themes. The first is 'birth heritage', where names, forenames especially, are shown to be important in the approach taken by adopters to their child's birth family and cultural identity. The second theme is 'family-making', where namesaking and homogeneity of surname emerge, amongst others, as strategies to create, sustain and display 'family'. In gathering together for the first time an otherwise scattered, disparate body of research, our article showcases names and naming as illuminating distillations of key contemporary challenges experienced by families formed through adoption. We conclude our article by considering emergent gaps in existing knowledge and understanding about names, naming and adoption that might usefully be addressed, to inform professional advice and familial decisions about names, and enhance outcomes for adoptees and their families.

Item Type: Journal article
Alternative Title: Names and naming in adoption
Publication Title: Child and Family Social Work
Creators: Pilcher, J., Coffey, A. and Hooley, Z.
Publisher: Wiley
Date: August 2020
Volume: 25
Number: 3
ISSN: 1356-7500
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 24 Feb 2020 09:36
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2022 03:00

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