What in the world should we name our children? Or should we name them at all? That is the great name debate in our household.
When we received our referral information in August, we received not only pictures, but names and medical information on the children. They had both African names, and English names: Rose and Emmanuel. Of course, we’re a bit confused. Are they called by their African names (which we don’t know how to pronounce) or by their English names? Have they just begun to be called by their English names, or are the names a sort of pseudonym for us to use when we communicate about them with our agency?
So, we’ve faced a quandary. What should we call them? What will we call them?
We could keep “Rose” and “Emmanuel” as their names. They are perfectly fine names, and they may be already answering to those names even as we speak. They are easy to spell and pronounce, and will fit in with American culture.
We could keep their African names. Although we don’t know how to pronounce them — or even what language they are in, it’s something we could quickly catch on to. If I have indeed figured out how to pronounce Rose’s African name, I actually think it’s kind of cute. And with all of the change that the children are about to go through, keeping their name the same might be one less change. But still, their names will always be difficult to pronounce to Americans, and they won’t know anyone else with similar names.
We could reuse the names that we had intended to use for the twins, who indeed never existed, so the names have never been used. In fact, we were seriously considering this option before we lost the three- and six-year-olds who were originally referred to us. But in all honesty, to attempt to name a third pair of siblings “Palmer” and “Emelia” has lost its appeal, at least for now.
We could rename them entirely. After all, they will be our children, and we have that right. To be honest, I would really love to name our children ourselves. I’ve always loved choosing names, but other than naming our dogs, Buddy and Holly, I’ve not had the chance to choose many names. Oh sure, I’ve made suggestions for names, like when I suggested that my chemistry-teacher friend name her daughter Ethyl Methyl Polly Ester. Somehow, she didn’t go for it. 😉
Why all the name debate? If the children were younger, it wouldn’t be such a quandary. But three and four year olds are old enough to know their names. Orphans have so little to call their own. Quite possibly, the only thing they will come to us with is the clothes on their backs, and their names. To thoughtlessly take away what little they have doesn’t seem right.
So we have decided . . . not to decide, at least for now. We probably won’t decide until we get to the Democratic Republic of Congo and find out a little bit more about their names and their significance. We’ll probably tuck a naming book into our luggage as we travel. For now, we’ll probably still refer to them as “Rose” and “Emmanuel,” since that seems a bit more personal than “the boy” and “the girl,” even though I really don’t necessarily want those names to “stick.”
So at least the foreseeable future, the great name debate will continue. What in the world should we name our children? Or should we name them at all? Only time will tell.