My husband and I are having a boy this year and are having trouble coming up with a name that will fit. My husband is Vietnamese/Chinese, adopted by a white family, last name rhymes with Quaker. I am Scottish, Irish and Scandinavian. We want our son to have a name that reflects both sides of his heritage and is unique, without putting him in a box. We want to use the middle name Lee or Li, but haven't been able to find a first name that speaks to both of us. We have already looked at numerous baby name books and what seems like hundreds of websites, and we keep finding the same European names, and a relatively small number of Chinese and Vietnamese names, most of which, while we think they are beautiful names to use if you speak the language, we don't think would translate well in public school in the US - we don't want the Sixteen Candles Long Duc Dong syndrome. Any ideas about finding or inventing cross-cultural names?
I wonder if it would work to find a Scottish/Irish/Scandinavian name that by coincidence includes a Vietnamese/Chinese name? For example, Declan is Irish, but the first two letters are the Chinese/Vietnamese name De, which The Best Baby Names in the World From Around the World says means virtue in China, and Baby Names World says means royalty in Vietnam. Or Camden is Celtic, but contains the Vietnamese name Cam (as well as the De already mentioned), which Baby Names World says means orange in Vietnam. But...finding even just two names that worked that way took a lot of flipping back and forth between the sections of the book, and it's a bit of a reach: I don't think anyone looking at it would think of it as reflecting both sides of his heritage.
Or you could flat-out invent a name, by using a Chinese or Vietnamese name with a typical name-segment from Irish/Scottish/Scandinavian names. But again, I'm not sure anyone would look at such a name and realize it reflected two heritages.
Another option would be to give him a double first name, hyphenated or not. Li Declan, for example, certainly reflects both sides at once, as would Camden Hao or Erik-Ji.
Or you could choose one heritage for the first name and another for the middle name, and swap that order for the next child.
Or you might conclude that although you'd like his name to reflect both sides of his heritage, that might not work with the style of names you like. In which case there are fortunately many other ways to include both heritages in his life, and perhaps the new goal could be to choose a name that reflects neither heritage specifically.
I'm going to turn this over to the commenters to see if they have any other ideas or advice for representing both sides of the family tree in a name.