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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Baby Boy or Girl Foster

(My mother-in-law is in town this week, but the babies don't wait and the questions are coming in faster than I can answer them, so I'll post some for anyone interested to work on.)

Mechi writes:
My name is Mechi Foster and my husband, Joey and I are expecting our second child on October 17th. We have a three and a half year old daughter, Sofia Juliana, and we had a really easy time picking her name. We came up with and agreed upon a first and middle we liked very quickly. Not really the case for baby no. 2 (and we decided we want the gender to be a surprise, so its trickier).
The main problem we have is a culture clash. Joey (Joseph Henry) is of English, Irish, and Scottish origin (but they've been here in the US for generations). My family is from Spain and Argentina, and my parents moved to the US after they got married. I speak almost fluent Spanish, and although my family was just an average American family, I feel like if I name our second child a completely English name, I'll be losing some of my culture (and I already am because we're obviously raising them in English, not Spanish.) Joey understands that, and he loved Sofia Juliana, two bilingual names. He's completely open to it.
So what's the problem? Well, neither of us can find any Spanish names we like! And we don't want a name like Ignacio or Magdalena, that is impossible to pronounce in English, so nix all of those names. We want to find a name like Sofi's (or mine - my full name is Mercedes Alicia) that is bilingual - embraces my culture, but also is English (for Joey, and so people won't be constantly mispronouncing his or her name).
And one last thing. When we picked Sofia in 2006, we didn't really do that much research on the popularity of the name, and therefore didn't realize that it's one of the top fifty names right now (and Sophia, which may be spelled differently, but is essentially the same name, is in the top ten!) and I regret that. I don't want my kids to be one of many in a crowd. (Sofia just started preschool last week and there are two Sophia's and one other Sofia in her class!) So we really would like a bilingual name that is less common.
And for middle names, we're not the kind of people that are huge on honoring family members, so the same criteria as the first name.
Thank you so much!

Name update 10-27-2009! Mechi writes:
Hi, Swistle! Thanks for all the help
Sofia's little sister was born on October 15th. Our newest addition is Maya Elena Josephine Foster! Maya Elena is her full first name, and Josephine is the middle. Maya Elena sounds sort of like Magdalena when spoken ("Mayalena") which we liked because we always did like that name. And Sofi has taken to calling her Mali, and now I find myself calling her that too, and I think thats just the greatest twist. I think Mali is just adorable. Thanks to all the readers who gave us suggestions - they were great! And we have tons of ideas for any future child, thanks!


Abby@AppMtn said...

Would Marco work for a boy? I love Marco Alejandro - it feels like the perfect brother name for Sofia Juliana. (Friends of ours used it for a similar, culture-spanning compromise.)

For a girl, would you consider Camila or Mariana?

Anonymous said...

I love your daughter's name... so elegant.

Girl name suggestions:


My favorite of those is Elena. How about Elena Serena Foster?

Boy Name suggestions:

Tobias (Toby)

How abour Lucas Robert(o) Foster?

Anonymous said...

I love Lucia (Lu-chee-ah) for a girl. Maybe too similar to Sofia though?
Isabelle/a, but that is also very common.

Tara said...

For a girl I like:

Natalia (Spanish influences)

For a boy I like:
Xavier (or Javier)

Hawkeyegirl said...

I like Elena and Marco too; here's my list:



Patricia said...

I looked at a list of currently popular names in Spain and thought these top 20 names (there) might work for you -- each name is also used in English, although often the pronunciation is a bit different:


Here's the URL for the complete top 100:

I love your first daughter's name (having both a Sophia and a Julianne in my family). Spanish names are so pretty and so many have English versions that I'm sure you can find something as lovely for your second child.

Best wishes!

Anonymous said...

I like the aforementioned Maya and Serena; I would also suggest Mila for a girl-and i also like both Marco and Lucas for boys-not too overdone but w/ some spanish flavor... good luck!

Melio (MelissaInk) said...

Natalia and nice for a girl. Sofia and Natalia. I like it!

I like the suggestion of Javier for a boy. Marco and Lucas are nice as well.

Patricia said...

PS I just noticed that the gender of your baby is unknown so you need a boy's name too. When I went back to the top 100 names in Spain (2006 data is given), I saw that boys' names are more problematic as fewer are the same in English (Jose/Joseph; Roberto/Robert: Juan/John, etc.) Two suggestions for you:
Mateo (which is being used by English speakers in that form)

I have a half Hispanic grandson named Nicholas Alberto, nn Nico. His older brothers also have traditional English names that have Spanish versions: Christopher nn Christo and Alexander, who is not called by the Spanish version of his name Alejandro. (These three young brothers are being raised bilingually as Spanish is their mother's first language.)

Katherine said...

I happen to love the name Adolfo for a boy. Marcelo too.

For a girl, there is:

Julieta (I guess this would be too close to your daughter's middle)

Best of luck.
Hope these h

Emily R said...

I love Elia. Elia Xochitl would be my pick, but the middle is pretty Mexican, not so Spanish. I'd name my own daughter that if my husband would go for it. And if I had a daughter.

Boys are trickier. Marcos and Nicolas that others have said are really nice. I really like Diego, but darn that little friend of Dora's! Efrain is nice, but you'd probably have pronunciation issues. What about Seville? It's not a Spanish name, but it just screams Spain. It's fun, unusual, sophisticated. The more I think about it the more I like it.

Lisa said...


I love Marco

Karen said...

You may find the suggestions from Swistle and her readers to this post useful:
In that case they were looking for names that worked with half-siblings who had very Irish and very Spanish names.

Lucas was one very nice suggestion. I suggested Oscar and Tomas. There were also a surprising number of girls' names that worked well: Catriona, Mona, Fiona, Alana ...

Good Luck!

md said...

For a girl I suggest "Maria Elena". It is my mother's name, and she is of Spanish and Mexican descent, and I have always thought it was beautiful. Also, it bridges the gap nicely - it is easy to pronounce.

Anonymous said...

For boys I like Marco, Mateo, and Lucas.
(I really like the name Luca for a boy too but I suspect it isn't Spanish based on the -a ending.)

I loved the suggestion of Elena for a girl.

What about Matea/Mattea? I think it is beautiful and sounds Spanish, although I am not sure if it is. One of my Latina friends named his daughter Matea.

TweePopACap said...

There have been some great suggestions above! For boys, I like Sebastian, Lucas, Matteo, and Nicolas (nn Nico). For girls, I like Ana, Maya, Mariana, Liliana, Eliana, Elena, and Camila. To the list of girl names, I'll add Adriana - and would Adrian work for a boy?

I agree that finding two bilingual names is the best option, but if for some reason you just can't find two that you like, what about using one Spanish name and one English name? I vote using the English name for the first name and the Spanish name for the middle, because there are two parts English influence (English father, English-speaking society) and only one part Spanish influence (Spanish mother). If you go this route, I love Alejandro for the middle name! It matches the rhythm of Juliana, and it's just a cool-sounding name! :]

Rayne of Terror said...


Beatriz Ana
Liliana Perla
Giselle Bianca

Arturo (love!)
Benito nn Ben
Oscar (love!)

Xavier Luis is very nice.
Luis Emilio
Benito Nicolas
Jamie Arturo
Oscar Arturo

StephLove said...

How about Carla, Gabriela or Isabel for a girl? Alejandra is pretty close to Alexandra, too. Probably close enough to be recognized.

Boys' names are tougher, but Daniel and Gabriel work in both languages. And Tomas is pretty close to Thomas.

Buena suerte!

g~ said...

Leo, Noah (my friend has the exact same issue as you and named her daughter Sophie and her son Noah so that's why I include it).
Mina and Bella are my girl picks.

Sofia said...

For a boy, Joaquin Alejandro instantly popped into my head. Mateo and Rafael also seem like good multi-cultural solutions, and they're a bit easier to pronounce.

Catherine said...

Off the top of my head: Tomas or Nina would work nicely.

P. Gardiner said...

I love Elena, Daniela, Marina, Nina, Francesca, Rafaella, Camelia (my daughter's name), Valentina, Ana Maria, and Mira.

I love, love, love Matteo! Oscar is also really nice. Joaquin, Mario, Rueben, Pablo, Paolo, Martin, Andres, and Raul.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

For a girl, Maria or Luciana?

Christina Fonseca said...

With Sofia and knowing you don't want anything that popular, I like:
Catalina / Talina / Alina
Cordelia / Delia
Lidia / Lydia
Silvia / Sylvia
Vera / Veronica

Dahlia, Daisy, Iris and Coral would give you a nature name that works in both languages. If mythology appeals to you at all some possibilities are:

Some Biblical names:
Miriam, Ruth, Sara, Susannah

For boys:
Aaron, Abel, Abraham, Benjamin, Axel, Daniel, David, Elias, Felix, Isaac, Joel, Lucas, Martin, Omar, Oscar, Victor

Some names with similar spellings:

Christina Fonseca said...

Forgot to include a couple of links: (Girls) (boys)


Anonymous said...

Aurora or Marco.

Libby said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the name Camila. Or Cora (is that Spanish at all??).

I think Camila Maya would be really pretty.

Oooh and I think Isabel would go sooo well with Sofia, and it's pretty gender neutral.

Isabel Ariana sounds really pretty.

Good Luck!


tracynicole22 said...

Some girl combos I like are:
Marina Julieta
Ana Graciela
Marisol Lucila
I also like the names Jacinta, Susanna, Celia, Elodia, Emelina, Christabel & Caridad.

I love, love, love Mateo for a boy. Some boy combos:
Mateo Bartoli (Does that sound Italian? LOL, I like it though)
Marco/Marcos Alfonso
Jacobo Augusto
Julian Roberto
Oscar Cordero
Gabriel Alfonso
I also like Carlito, Christiano, Emilio & Esai
WOW! Good luck!

haj said...

for a boy: Daniel, David, Leo, Samuel all work in both languages.

for a girl: Aurelia, Carolina, Celia, Clara, Claudia, Ivelisse, Marina, Ramona, Renata, Vera

Ivelisse is one of my favorites, I must say.

StephLove said...

Thought of some more--Ava/Eva for a girl and Simon for a boy.

haj said...

Oh, Philip for a boy and Zara for a girl would work too.

Anonymous said...

If I had a drop of Spanish blood (which I do not) I would use Pilar in a heartbeat. And Mateo!! Both can be understood by the English tongue I would say.

I also love the name Maite for a girl (I think it means love in Basque), pronounced MY-tay. Love it.

Anonymous said...

I dont think theres anything wrong with Magdalena if you like it....I think it's completely pronounceable by the average american.

M.Amanda said...

I second Pilar. I always liked that name. I also like Ana (Hannah, Anna, getting more popular, though?) and Elena.

For a boy, I like Mateo and Marco and Daniel.

Christina Fonseca said...

I know that you're not big on family names, but what about using Alicia or Mercedes as the middle name?

Alicia would also make a good first name.

Erin said...

No one has usggested Adriana yet? Love it. Sofia and Adriana. Also love above suggestion of Catalina and Liliana, love both those as well. For a boy, love Javier, Mateo, Oscar or Mateo has the very English "Mat" nn, and Javier, well the only Javier I was friends with was just Javi, and that was pretty cool for a nn. I think definitely go with Spanish/Argentine influences, especially if the children have your husbands last name.

I would also point out that Catriona and Fiona (and even Bianca) while irish, have a bit of a spanish feel to them, which might be helpful, and as the other poster suggested, that post might have some good ideas for you.

Anonymous said...

I throw out the suggestion of Paloma. LOVE it!

TweePopACap said...

Erin, I totally MEANT to suggest Adriana! So I'm with you on that one! I think Adriana would be pretty much perrrrrfect!

Christina Fonseca said...

October 17th is the feast day of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. Maybe you could use Margarita as a middle name.

Frazzled Mom said...

There are many good suggestions, but personally I feel Sofia and Fiona are too similar for sisters. I guess that's a matter of tastes, since my Mom disagrees. Yes, that's why I thought of Sofia and Fiona because I was actually having this discussion with my Mom recently.

I like Camila myself. This name is rising (appearing in the top 100 for the first time last year after rising like 40-50 some spaces), but since Sofia is already popular anyway, I wouldn't worry too much about this second daughter having a less popular name. If anything, I almost think it makes more sense for the second daughter's name to be somewhat popular, although not necessarily in the top 10. But if the first daughter has a top 10 name (or variation on one) and the second daughter has a name that is very obscure, one daughter may feel the other got "the better name."

For the boy I like Matteo and Oscar.

SheLikesToTravel said...

I always liked the names Clara (which I see suggested above) and Lola (which I do not).

Kathy said...

I love the name Laura Elena for a girl, and Daniel Adrian for a boy. I love names that can travel a large part of the world and be recognizable!

Deniselle said...

Congratulations! I think Maya Elena, nn Mali is just beautiful. All the best for your family! :)