PLEASE HELP!!! I wrote to you back in July asking for help naming our second child. Now I need help saving our unused boy name from being stolen! My brother and sister in law are due with their first child in the middle of October and want to use our boy name. We decided on the name Porter West for a boy, but had a girl. (On a side note, we named our daughter Adelaide Marie. My mom suggested it a day or two before you posted my letter. We loved all the nickname possibilities and the classic, ambiguous European sound it has that goes so well with Evangeline. Now we have our little Addie and Evie.) I wouldn't mind, except we are already trying to conceive baby number three and still love Porter. I feel like I should have the claim to it since I came up with it. SO, I need you to help me come up with another name for them!
They have shot down just about every name I have suggested. They either think it is too popular (Mason), too out there for their taste (Atticus), or too old man (August). They are really outdoorsy, and I think a name along that vein would work better for them, but they tend to like last names as first better. I have also suggested Jasper, Remington, Archer, Brody...All of which they liked, but still preferred Porter.
My husband and I have SUCH a hard time agreeing on names I can't bare the thought of starting from scratch on name selecting for BOTH genders when we already have a boy name we both love. So, PLEASE help me find another name for them!
The first point I need to make will sound harsh, but I think we must start with it in order to re-center perspective before beginning to tackle the problem: The name isn't yours and can't be stolen. Names are multi-use items, and others have thought of the name before you, and you haven't even used it yet.
With that out of the way: You have my full and heartfelt sympathy, because they should be CHOOSING not to use the name, knowing how you feel about it, knowing YOU thought of it for YOUR baby. And I, too, would feel the aspect of "stealing" if I were you. And of course an immediate-family "copy" is different than knowing the name has been used at other points by strangers. I think reasonable people can be expected to understand that it is wrong to use someone else's baby name idea in whole or in part, when that person is still actively in the business of naming children. Sure, TECHNICALLY they can do it, but not without creating hard feelings---and surely they ought to want to avoid that.
On the other hand, remember I just said that names are multi-use: if you have a boy later, you too may use the name. It will be galling to have it look as if you are copying THEM, but everyone involved will know the real story. And here again I have a wave of sympathy for you, because I wouldn't want to do that either.
At this point, it's not your job or mine to come up with an alternate name that they will prefer: this presents the situation as if they have the perfect right to use the name UNLESS you/I do the work to come up with something better for them, when only the first part of that is true. Instead, I would use the approach of telling them frankly that you and your husband nearly tore your hair out thinking of the name, and you are still planning to use it for a future child; that you realize they have the perfect right to use the name, but that you are asking them please, please not to; that you think of that name already as "your baby"; that it will damage their relationship with you if they use it knowing you feel this way. Cry a little, maybe.
Or: let the name go. Maybe you will never have a boy, and then in retrospect an emotional confrontation/ultimatum will seem to have been a bad move, and it will be nice to have a nephew with a name you love so much. And many people find that the names they consider for one pregnancy are completely different than even the finalists they considered for another pregnancy---which, again, if you were to have a boy and NOT name him Porter West after a confrontation that resulted in your brother not using the name, could make an emotional confrontation/ultimatum seem to have been a bad move. The name may have already been spoiled for you at this point by this distressing situation, whether or not your brother uses it.
My primary reason for not sharing baby name candidates with friends and family is that I don't want to hear negative remarks. But another good reason is to keep someone else from using the name, if you belong to a family/friends circle in which people would do that (in other circles, it would be more appropriate to put dibs on the name by revealing/claiming it early).