09/27/2012 04:02 pm ET Updated Nov 27, 2012

Baby Names for Foreign Parents

I am a Turkish immigrant, and my name is Hulya Aksu. Not Julio Iglesias, not Julio, not "Me and Julio down by the school yard" and certainly not Sylvia (Try saying, "This is Hulya," really fast. Sometimes you get Sylvia). I grew up being teased about my name, and it got so bad that I started answering to the teases; my new nickname at home became "Julio." Kids can be very cruel, especially when the subject of humiliation is an 11-year-old girl from Turkey who doesn't speak any English. Years of being teased did hurt, but not enough for me to adopt a Western name, like Julia. I didn't do it, but my brother did. He was much older, and he went from Mustafa to Michael overnight. But neither of my other two siblings caved in.

Years later, I am now a mom myself and gave birth to two beautiful children in the United States. My first child was affectionately named after two of the best Sultans in Ottoman history, and the second one was named more simply after a honey bee in Greece. My son struggles with his name, and I constantly remind him of the grandeur his name represents and not to take snot-nosed kids seriously. What do they know about the siege of Constantinople and our ancestors' attempt to invade Vienna? We know, and that is all that matters. So I remind him to be proud.

However, I can't help but wonder if we did a disservice to him with our stubborn patriotism. My daughter has it so much easier. She never helps anyone pronounce her name, and she certainly doesn't have to take out ancient war plans and formations to show the reputation and honor of her name. She is simply who she is without any phonetic mistakes.

My son is much more driven though. He is more competitive, and he is certainly touchier when it comes to criticism. He's identical to me. I wonder if the fight for his name is the source of his ambition. It certainly had something to do with mine.

So, my question here is: Do you stand out and risk being teased for your name? Or do you simply "do as as the Romans do" when you are in Rome and blend? Which is better?