Of Names and Such

Differing views regarding the naming of children inundate the adoption realm. For the simple fact that such contradicting opinions come from learned professionals leads me to the conclusion that following our gut made for the best decision for our family.

Yesterday I had a most wonderful conversation with the couple adopting the youngest little girl from our orphanage. They are in the visitation stage. Three days to bond under the eyes of the social worker and the psychologist who will form a report of the progress allowing them to move to the next stage of the adoption. Eventually they will be able to take their daughter back home to the country they came from.

Chattering a mile a minute (or a kilometer a minute since they come from Spain) they confided in me as one who has seen this process various times before and as a fellow adoptive parent. My heart swelled as they shared the story of their five year struggle with infertility and the following six grueling years of the adoption process bringing them to this very point.

The match with their daughter is perfect. I am overjoyed.

As one prone to analytical tendencies there came a moment in the talk during which the familiar doubts crept into my stream of consciousness. Not doubts regarding them. Doubts regarding our own adoption decisions. I truly hope one day the doubts and second guessing subside. For now I must beat them back with a stick of reasoning. Thus the blog.

I brought up the topic of naming. With much conviction they told us this little girl would retain her name as her middle name. Ironically the first name they chose for her happens to be the first name of this little girl’s birth mom. Then they clinched there position with the following, “That name is hers. It belongs to her. How could we take away from her something that belongs to her and makes her who she is. No. Never. We would never take that away from her.”

So my mind starts spinning. We gave our adopted daughter a completely new name, first and middle and last. According to the viewpoint expressed by this lovely couple we stripped our daughter of something precious and sacred. They did not say that in so many words. I did not bring up our situation. I just listened. They are under enough stress and scrutiny as it is. They don’t need a second point of view from me. They need an ally. I am their ally still. I smiled and nodded approval at their passion.

This article bears the purpose of bringing peace to my mind and shoring up my own personal convictions regarding the issue of giving our daughter a new name.

  • DaRonn and I chose all five names of our children before we were even married. [‘Names’]
  • Being raised in her birth culture assures me her ties to Bolivia will be strong.
  • Names carry meaning. The meaning of her name is a precious gift we have given her.
  • Naming her helped me to bond with her as her parent.
  • Various times in the scripture people received a new name from God to mark a new part of their life. Her new name marks the new life she has stepped into.

One of the most fascinating parts of our adoption to me was how quickly she assumed her new name. During the two week visitation we made as a family to her orphanage we called her by the name she had always known. We didn’t want to throw too many changes at her all at once. On the day we brought her home we called her only by her new name. I sat her down and told her in the most simple way, in Spanish, so her two year old mind could take it in, “Your name is now Kaitlynn.” And that was it. She never turned back and has been very proud of that name ever since. Actually it took longer for her to call me Mama than it did for her to accept her new name. I am supremely grateful for that.

There will come a day when she will want to know about her life before she became a Washington. I have all the paper work and documentation so that she can know everything we know. I am looking forward to that time of discovery with her. We will not hide that from her whatsoever.

As an end note, today marks 15 months since we brought Kaitlynn home. [See ‘Nine Months’ post for chart] That is the exact amount of time she spent living in the orphanage. Somehow this has significance for me because from this day out she has spent more time on this earth outside of her birth mom’s womb with us than anywhere else. We are her most permanent home thus far.

 

5 thoughts on “Of Names and Such

  1. Congratulations Angie. that is a really important milestone to reach. when i read that she has now been with you longer then anywhere else i instinctively breathed a sigh of re-leaf. not sure why. it just feels like a victory for some reason.
    and by the way, i completely agree with all the reasons that you listed for renaming her. and i may add another one from an outside perspective. You made the decision with much care, and prayer, and thought and did not just change it for shallow or frivolous reasons. the amount of care you put into naming her translates to the love you felt for her before you even met her. its a really beautiful thing.
    give my niece a squeeze for me. much love.

    1. Thanks for the empathy, Shawn. It does my heart good to know that even though you are physically far away you are walking through this with us as though we were hand in hand. Thank you. I like that extra reason you added. I am looking forward to skyping mañana.

  2. Naming is a tough decision. I think you made the right choice, and for very good reasons. We kept both of our children’s first names, and gave them middle names we had chosen. Our daughter was 11 when we adopted her, so I think it would have been difficult to change her name, and I love it. My son’s name is Muslim and many Christian Ethiopians feel strongly that we should change it. His mother told us the story of his name, and we gave him a Christian middle name. I am still torn, and he at times will go by his middle name. Names are very signficant, and I think God gives us all names at times in different ways. Don’t second guess yourself, Kaitlynn’s name is perfect for her.

    1. Thank you Signe, it means alot coming from you. Each case is unique. What a treasure that you were able to converse with your son’s birth mom. I appreciate your encouragement.

  3. Such an interesting perspective and I love seeing the two sides of it! So many things to ponder and consider when adopting. Thanks for sharing your own experiences. And I love your heart behind it and so exciting that you’re now her most permanent home! That speaks volumes to her heart I’m sure =)

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