How Can We Not-Quite Keep This Name?
- Excited Auntie
Adopting a child is a beautiful act, but an emotionally complex one. Names, with their power to represent relationships, culture and identity, are a natural flashpoint in the process. In the best case, a name can be a positive symbol of transition (or continuity) for the child. In the worst, it can become a symbol of tension between her old and new worlds.
It sounds like your relatives are approaching this with a perfect attitude. They're both embracing the joyous opportunity to name a baby and showing respect for the birth parents who made this moment possible. Unfortunately, the name itself isn't cooperating with their good intentions.
A mom named Anne changes the playing field for An- names. That's a straightforward, unemotional issue. If this is an open adoption, it's something the birth family should understand.
The new parents could try to get around the problem syllable by capturing the "ain" sound of Angel in a name like Ainsley. Alternately, they could choose a name with traditional angelic associations, like Ariel or Gabrielle. Neither of those approaches, though, retains the essence of the name Angel.
The simplest answer is to use Angel as a middle name. This preserves the baby's name in the form it was given, while allowing her new family to choose a new name for daily use. Even though Angel isn't to their tastes, as a middle name it could take on the unique beauty of a keepsake from their daughter's birth.