Tuesday, April 3, 2012

My Sweet Rose

Oh Shakespeare, how I heart thee!  In one of his most beloved plays, Romeo and Juliet, Juliet very wisely and eloquently states:

What's in a name?  That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.

About 20 years or so ago, I just "knew" what I would name my little girl should I ever have a daughter.  Sofia.  Beautiful, fluid, melodic.  I wrote it out.  Repeatedly.  I would say it to myself over and over again and I never tired of it.  For 20 years I clung to that name as if it were her birthright.  I never even considered another name because to me, I couldn't find one that I LOVED the way I loved Sofia.

Until last summer.

When I first requested her information, they sent me her file and her Ind*an name was all over the paperwork.  Her name was adorable.  Beautiful.  Fluid. Melodic.  Everything that I had once thought about Sofia I was also now thinking about her Ind*an name.  To many of you, you might be thinking, "Big deal.  Just change the name."  But for me, it was harder than that.  When you have clung to something for that long and have envisioned in your mind what you will call your daughter, a paradigm shift had to happen for me.  I'm sure it's just a "girl" thing, but I struggled with this decision.  For awhile, I thought I would keep her Ind*an name as her middle name.  But something kept gnawing at me.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to names and adopted children.  I understand the reasons for keeping the name and I understand the reasons for giving the child a new name.  I think that it comes down to each individual's circumstances to make the right call and I would never question any parent's decision to keep it or change it.  The thing about adoption is that YOU ARE COMMITTED as a parent.  I'm not saying that biological parents aren't committed.  It's just that with adoption (and infertility) you are literally battling for your children to get here.  The hoops you have to go through would cause anyone who had even the slightest doubt about being a parent to abort the mission.  I think too, that there is a sense of helplessness on the parent's part and you want to do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING to make up for what the child has lost.  Adoption is bittersweet because regardless of the circumstances, it all is birthed from loss.  Loss of birthparents, loss of birth family, in some circumstances loss of culture and language, loss of time with adoptive parents and child, for some like me the loss of never birthing a child, and much, much more.

When I read her file, I was horrified at what this precious little girl had already experienced during her 3 short years of life.  Some of it I still haven't fully processed and have had to compartmentalize it because I can't bear to think of what she went through.  To say that she has had a traumatic past doesn't begin to scratch the surface.

With that in mind and thinking about all of the changes and transitions she is going to have to make, changing her name really weighed on my heart.  I prayed and prayed and prayed about it.  I prayed that the Lord would give me peace about what to do and that I would make the best decision for her.

One night I had a very vivid dream.  It was the day that I was finally able to get her.  I remember that she was in this large set of bleachers on the other side of a huge swimming pool (remember, this is a dream and my dreams are always c-r-a-z-y!).  I was all dressed up and could see her on the other side.  Yep.  I went right through that pool, fully clothed, just to get to her as fast as I could!  As soon as I hugged her and had her in my arms, we were instantly at the doctor's office.  Remember, crazy dream!  I was asking the doctor about some specific things that I have been worried about and she was babbling on in her native language ( I have never heard Tel*gu spoken so I have no idea where my brain got that!)  Anyway, the doctor asked me who she was and I said, "Sofia."  She stopped talking, giggled, looked at me, and in perfect English said, "I'm M______," and then went right back to babbling in Tel*gu.  I smiled and said, "That's right, Sofia M______."  She stopped, giggled and again in perfect English, shook her head and said, "I'm M_______," and went back to speaking in Tel*gu.  She never said anything else in English.  Then I woke up.  I had an overwhelming sense of peace.  I knew that she needed to keep her name.  The funny thing is, I threw out Sofia altogether.  She will have my middle name as her middle name.  My middle name is a family name that we have traced back to the 1700's and I love that she will be a part of that family lineage.

Since she is not yet legally my daughter, I can't say her name.  But from now on I will be referring to her as M.  I can't wait until you see her beautiful face and you will know that Shakespeare was right-

That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.


  1. We called Grace by her Chinese name (Xiao Li) for months. I love her name and though it was officially her middle name, I thought that we'd just keep calling her Xiao Li. Then, one day I called her Xiao Li, and she said, "My name is Grace." From then on, she always wanted to be called Grace (and I love that name, as well!!).

    Sweet M. will be so blessed by your thoughtfulness about her name.

  2. Absolutely beautiful. What an incredible telling of this part of the story. Your sensitivity to God's leading is one of your strengths, Kristen. It's one of the reasons you deserve these children. They will need a mother just like you to help them through the process of transition to health and wholeness. This is totally awesome!

    1. Thank you Paul!!! This means so much to me :)

  3. Love this. So sweet... what a great dream!!! BTW, if we have a girl, our top pick for names is Juliet!!!:) Love you!!! KJJ

  4. I just can talk from our experience. My daughter was 3 years old and her name is very important for her. We didn't change and I think she is happy with it. She got a second name but till now never asked to call her with this name.
    I am waiting the day you can show us her face and name. God bless you