Parental naming practices in same-sex adoptive families
Objective: To explore the ways in which same-sex adoptive parents navigate the process of determining what terms their children will use to address them (i.e., parent names). Background: Parent names are markers of familial relationships and identity. Different-sex parents are linguistically privileged in that their parent names are widely recognizable, easily distinguishable between each parent, and usually assigned by default as opposed to chosen, whereas parents in same-sex couples must go through a deliberate process of choosing parent names. Little is known about the naming process for same-sex parents. Method: This qualitative analysis was designed to explore 40 same-sex adoptive parent couples' approaches to parent naming (20 gay couples, 20 lesbian couples). Results: Most couples collaboratively selected parallel names (e.g., “Daddy” and “Papa”). Participants drew on traditional mother and father derivatives, as well as their cultural backgrounds and naming trends within queer family communities. Families who adopted older children navigated unique issues. Conclusion: This study adds to the literatures on same-sex parenting, adoptive parenting, and naming. Families highlighted the perceived importance of parallel names and collaborative naming processes; the consideration of cultural backgrounds and other same-sex parent families in naming; and naming challenges related to child age, the gender binary, and stigma. Implications: Results shed light on various sources and considerations that may shape parent naming, which can inform the work of therapists and other providers who work with same-sex parent families, particularly during the transition to parenthood.
Frank, Emma L.; Manley, Melissa H.; and Goldberg, Abbie E., "Parental naming practices in same-sex adoptive families" (2019). Psychology. 322.