Two Sons Named Adam?

I’d like to hear what you guys think about this one.

Slate hosts Dear Prudence live chats regularly. The quotes below come from a mid-August chat entitled “A Baby by Any Other Name.”

Here’s the reader question:

My husband and his first wife named their son Adam. Their Adam is 25 and lives across the country from us. Now we are having a son, and Adam is my late father’s name and grandfather’s name. I always wanted to name my son after my dad. My husband says I can’t do that because of his firstborn son, and he can’t have two sons named Adam. But mostly, because it would upset his ex-wife. I don’t think I should have to forgo naming my son after my dad because of this. We rarely see his older son, so I don’t see what the problem is. My husband got to pick the name for our daughter and it meant a lot to him. This means a lot to me. His son said it would be all right with him, but his ex is livid at the idea.

And here’s Prudie’s answer:

Only three more sons to go—all named Adam—and your husband could tie George Foreman’s record for having sons who all share the same name. I hear from a lot of people who think other family members have “stolen” a name they wanted for their child. But while it doesn’t matter if cousins have the same name, it is bizarre to give more than one of your own children the same name. You husband already has a son named Adam. The older Adam may feel so disconnected (or is so laid back) that he says he doesn’t care that he could have a younger brother also named Adam. But your husband says he doesn’t want to give both his sons the same name. I agree the wishes of the ex-wife are completely irrelevant, but maybe your husband is trying to make her the heavy. You can honor your own family name by making Adam your son’s middle name. You could even flip your father’s first and middle names for your own son. I know Adam was the first man, but there have been many since them and you need to choose another name, because in your family, Adam is taken.

Later in the chat, someone recommended using Adam with a different middle name.

Prudie stayed put: “I’m against giving two sons the same first name, period.”

Me? I totally disagree.

Prudie’s answer pissed me off, in fact.

Prudie seems to be forgetting that that the wife’s opinion and family are just as important as the husband’s. If this mom-to-be wants to honor men on her side with a baby name, she should do so. This may be her only opportunity, after all.

The husband has to realize that his new family is not merely a continuation of his old one. The ex-wife’s opinion is irrelevant (I agree on that point) and the 25-year-old Adam is largely out of the picture.

In his new family, it’s his wife’s turn to name a baby. The name she wants is a good one. It’s extremely meaningful to her. (And it will be to the baby as well.) I see no reason why she shouldn’t use Adam as her baby’s first name.

How about you — are you on Prudie’s side, or on mine?


11 thoughts on “Two Sons Named Adam?

  1. I agree with you.
    I think it would be different if they were growing up together, but it’s a different generation.
    Go for it I reckon.

  2. I think its totally ridiculous to give 2 sons the same first name, regardless if they’re growing up together or not. They are still half brothers, they are still her husbands sons, and both will share the first name. Its just weird.
    Use Adam in the middle spot and come up with something else as the first name. Using names in the middle spot honors just as much as if it was in the first – in fact, I think all people who want to honor someone should do so using middle names – give the child his own identity with his own first name.

  3. So basically all her male family members are Adams, and she wants to make it even more obvious? How silly. I agree with Prudence, use it as a middle name. Maybe that will require her to use some creativity to come up with another name that isn’t Adam, but it will do her good in the long run. And her son will thank her.

  4. They will both be Adam Samelastname. This will cause all sorts of problems when they are older, particularly when Dad dies and the estate needs to be settled. It can lead to tax problems, banking problems, job problems. All sorts of mistaken identity issues. I think it’s unfair to the Mom that she can’t use her preferred name, but I think it is WRONG for her to use it. Move Adam to the middle, use grandpa’s middle name, use a family surname from her side, do anything but use Adam.

  5. I wonder what the child in question will think about his name when he gets older? Will he only think about the fact that he was named after his grandfather or will he he think he has the same name as his brother? If I were this child, I might want to know why my parents didn’t think I deserved my own name–why do I have to share with my brother (even if I don’t see him often)? IMO, if one parent doesn’t want to use a specific name for a child, then the other parent should respect that. Come up with something you both can agree on. Adam would make a lovely middle name . . .

  6. My cousin has 5 immediate family members with the same name, it’s very confusing.

    Her father and brother are both named John and she named her firstborn Johnathan. Later on that cousin divorced her first husband and married again. Her new husband’s name… John. And just because this isn’t confusing enough, her husband’s son from his first marriage is named Johnny.

  7. Well I guess its no surprised that John is the most overused name ever. Plus it seems like all John’s require that their sons become a Jr…. a bit like Michael.

  8. I’m on team Prudie.

    The father has a son named Adam. It’s off the table as her son’s name, period — this is not 1750 and we do not name babies after deceased siblings anymore. Besides, at any rate “25 and out of the house” and dead are two different things. Kind of a bummer, but she should have realized this long before she got pregnant.

    She could use Adam as a middle name, use a variation like Adan or Addison, etc. Or she could sigh and set it aside as a could have been. Plenty of us have names we would have used were it not for a family claim; this is just one more.

  9. I agree that Adam is off the table for the first name. Besides all the legal, familial, etc. etc. confusion having the same first/last name would cause, I think the wife needs to remember that one person doesn’t get to name a baby in a vacuum. For better or for worse, you have to take factors into consideration such as your spouse’s preference, the last name the baby will have, family obligations (although this carries much less weight in my view). There were a number of names that I have always loved that we can’t use because of my husband’s surname – that’s just part of the naming process. In fact, in order to honor my husband’s dad without using an unusable name combo (Donald Duckworth) we went with his middle name. Everyone understood, and the honor was still very much there.

    In this situation, although this is a new family and not a continuation of the first one, that first son still exists, still was a part of her husband’s past, and SHOULD hold some role in his father’s life. I do agree that the ex-wife doesn’t come into it at all, but naming the new baby the same name as the first son might seem like a “do-over” or replacement, despite the genuine family claims of the new wife. This is very similar to not being able to use the name of a spouse’s ex-fiancee, no matter how much you love it. Adam can be a great middle name, or she can use another family name to try to honor her dad and grandpa.

  10. Thanks for the input everyone. A lot of very good points.

    I realize my position isn’t the most logical. I just can’t help sympathizing with the mom in this particular scenario.

    But even my husband disagrees with me. :) We were arguing about it this weekend. He thinks my argument makes no sense and that all of you guys are smarter than me. (And that’s probably true! Oh well.)

  11. I think its okay to have x2 sons called Adam in this situation, BUT not if the father disagrees.
    They need to find a name that BOTH parents agree on and are happy with.
    If the Dad is against Adam for any reason (and he has a very good reason) then choosing another name is in order.

    My husband & I have both let go of names that we LOVE, merely because the other parent isn’t keen on them.
    In the end we find a name that we both love and the process of finding it is all part of the fun.

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