To Love a Rose: An Ethiopian Adoption Journal

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Name Game: Part One

I've titled this with "part one" after it, because I know as the adoption process continues and the closer we get to our referral (and even after the referral) that we will be going back and forth when it comes to names.  This is simultaneously one of the most alluring and most exhausting parts of the process for me.

As an author, I am obsessed with names.  Literally.  I have books upon books upon books with names, meanings, and origins inside.  Old names, new names, mythological names, Biblical names, Hindi/Hebrew/African/French - blahblahblah - you think of it, I've got a name book specializing in it!  I've named tons of characters and lots of pets, but this is of utmost importance!  This is my child.

Mr. C and I have already decided that we're going to give a first name that we love with the middle name (hopefully) being one that Baby C's biological mom or dad gave him/her (this would be very special to us and hopefully to Baby C one day as well); however, if the Ethiopian name is one that was merely given by a caretaker (and don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to down-play the importance of the caretakers in my future child's life by any means!) in the orphanage, then we will give two middle names - one that we like that goes with the first name we chose and the second being the name or nickname Baby C was called while in foster care/orphanage.

Most of the names we like are Irish, because both of our families are Irish.  My mom's biological mom (yes, my mom was adopted) was Irish.  She never became an American citizen.  I find this fascinating!  Mr. C and I have a very Irish last name; so, conveniently, most Irish names sound pretty kick-arse when paired with it.  I'm also pretty excited to show Baby C through naming that s/he is truly a part of OUR family.  By giving an Irish name (or any name that we simply love) instead of just focusing on giving Baby C an "African" name, we are showing that we are not putting him/her in a box (as in "you are the child adopted from Africa; therefore, you had to have an 'African' name").  Instead, we are removing him/her from the "them" category and placing him/her in the "us" category.  At least, that's what we're hoping for!  :-)

That being said, we've run into a few snags.  Not all of the names we love are Irish, and a few have pretty unfortunate meanings.  So, what to do?  Would you name your child something that you loved, even if it didn't have the best meaning out there?  Take Mary, for example.  We actually really like this name - a lot.  But, it means "sea of bitterness".  Ugh!  Terrible!  On the other hand, Mary was the mother of Jesus Christ (which is kind of a big deal! ha!).  Also, Mary and Miriam are very popular in Ethiopia (all Christianity related names are); so, using a name like Mary would be very mindful of Baby C's roots while still using a name we love.  *le sigh* Decisions, decisions!

So, for your viewing pleasure, here are a few of the names we have come up with for boys and girls.  Our longer list that we made about a year ago has been refined and shortened considerably.  Let me know what you think!


Desmond ("man from Munster" the province in Ireland where my mom's bio family and Mr. C's family are both from)

Colm ("God's dove" - such a pretty meaning, but would people think I named him "Calm"?)

Finnegan ("bright, fair" - this almost seems like an oxymoron for the very basic and real fact that Baby C will not be "fair" but brown-skinned - is it pushing it? or can you dig it?)

Jude ("from Judea" - nice and obvious, right?! :)

Carlisle ("city of Lugovalos" in Scotland, this will be used as a middle name with nearly any of the above if the Ethiopian name did NOT come from a birth parent)


Maeve ("intoxicating" - Mr. C and I both LOVE this name! it's pronounced May-vuh)
Mary: ("sea of bitterness" - really iffy on this one since the meaning is just NOT good!)

Tallulah ("leaping water" - this is the meaning in a Native American tongue, but it is also a Welsh name, but I can't remember the meaning in that language, either way, I love it and the nicknames "Lulu" and "Lullah")
Layla ("night/black" - obviously this comes from one of my favorite songs of all time, Eric Clapton's version of "Layla")

Bridget ("exalted and lofty" - honestly, I don't think Mr. C likes this one very much - boo!)

So, those are the main options right now...what to do, what to do?  We've got TONS of time to think about it.  Plus, Mr. C is convinced that it doesn't matter what we pick out now, when we get the referral and look at Baby C's face, we'll know whether s/he is supposed to be a "this" or a "that".  He's probably right, but that's not going to stop me from contemplating names - I love it too much!  I guess also the naming process makes it all that much more "real" to me.

What do you all think?  Do you have a favorite name you'd like to suggest to us?  What do you think of the names we've chosen so far?  I'd love to hear what you have to say!

Love and Blessings

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