Friday, October 22, 2010

What's in a name.

We've had more than a few wrinkles of the nose when people ask us what their names are and we tell them that we are keeping their Chinese name as their middle name and then giving them an American name as their first name.
Jacob Benjamin LouJ***
Joseph Samuel LouX**
At which point I then typically add that we will then call them whatever they would like to be called.....

except maybe Firetruck
or Doughnut
or Hot Wheel...

they are boys after all.
You just never know.

Anyhoo, I guess I shouldn't say I've been surprised by the many curious glances and nose wrinkles from those never-adopted-children before people that question our decision to "change" their name...
but I do..
I do get surprised.

And to be quite honest,
I feel like I have to validate that decision to them.
So then I proceed to launch into this dialogue of why we are choosing to do this, why they actually will want an American name, etc, etc.
And then I walk away from that conversation wondering if I said it right.
And most of the time I think of a few more points that I should have added at which point I want to turn and run back in their direction and say,
"Wait! Wait! I remembered something else!!"
But I don't.
I simply keep walking and hope that I have adequately and honest answered their questioning.

Anyhoo, so the same week that I had gotten a couple of nose wrinkles I was reading my blogging friend Chris blog and was blown away by her story that day...
all about her daughter who had at that point been home for about 7 months
and it was all about what is in a name.

So here, reposted with her permission is a story you simply must read.
Just have the tissues handy
cuz when you get to the end
you will ugly cry.
I'm just sayin.

Her {Chinese} Name

Shea likes her Chinese name.

In fact, she loves it.

Fu Hua

She especially loves to be called Hua-Hua!

She likes the way it sounds....
She likes that it was what she was called when she was a baby still living in China....
She likes what it means....Flower or possibly Lucky Flower...maybe Blessed Flower (???)

(I certainly am no expert on Chinese names, but this translation is based on what I was told by our coordinator while in China adopting Shea. Plus some of my friends, who are Chinese, have implied this meaning as well.)

Bottom line, Shea likes her Chinese name.
She likes it also when I say her full name: Shea Emily Hua!

Avery does not like hers AT.ALL!!!

Zu La

My understanding is that Zu La is very unusual.  Quite a few of my {Chinese} friends were scratching their heads over this name.....However, the general consensus was that it means Charming.
(I would have to totally agree...
My Avery is completely charming!)

Many times over the past seven months since she has been home with us, she has firmly indicated that she doesn't like to be called by her Chinese name.  I would ask her why.  She would just shrug her shoulders. And say that she is

Okay then!

When I call Avery by her full name: Avery Lyra Zu La....she wrinkles her nose and tells me that is not her name!

"I am just Avery!"

Okay then!

There are times when Shea wants to be addressed by her Chinese name and wants Avery to be addressed by her Chinese name as well.

Avery wants nothing to do with this!

No way!
No How!
Not happening!

Shea gets frustrated with her....not that Shea is bossy or anything....! Ha!

This is the interesting thing about how Shea & Avery initially responded to us when we used their Chinese names shortly after meeting them:

When we were in China adopting Shea (back in February of 2007), she would not respond to her Chinese name.  Ever!  She immediately embraced Shea as her name.  I would try calling her response.  I would try response.  Even Hua-Hua didn't work. (This nick-name was highly recommend by her foster parents.) Only Shea would do.  Hmmmm....

For Avery, it was the exact opposite. While we were in China this past January,  she absolutely would not even consider acknowledging 'Avery' as her name.  Every where we went, she would tell people her name was Qing Zu La.  And that was that!

Within four to six weeks after arriving home, she was allowing us to call her Avery.  She began responding to Avery.  And then eventually began calling herself Avery.
The other night, Shea was in her 'Chinese name' mode.  She was just loving having us all call her Hua-Hua.
I tried to get Avery in on the 'fun'.  I told her how pretty her name is and how much I love her name....

Zu La

We all tried.

She kept shaking her head no.

She told us not to call her Zu La.

She told us she doesn't like that name.

As always, I asked her why...

This time she had an answer.

It took my breath away.


Then quietly she added....

Barely above a whisper....almost missed by all of us....

"No one loved Zu La....."

to be continued....

Chris just finished Pt. 2 so head on over here and check that out.

I guess no matter what we end up calling them

....must go extract the mascara off of my forehead now.
I told ya
ugly cry.


  1. Sonia,
    THanks for sharing that post from your friend. You're right.....TEARS!
    My daughter is Xiao Hua (Little Flower) and since she was 5 1/2 when we adopted her we were going to call her what she wanted to be called. Well, we have gone from calling her Xiao Hua to Isabella to Isabella Hope Xiao Hua to Xiao Hua Hua! I can remember when she quit calling herself XiaoHua and went to Isabella. It made us sad. I love her Chinese name! But I see now that she loves all her names and will use whatever she likes at the moment. She loves "her China" and is proud of her country- it's so neat to see her loving where she came from and where she is now.
    Anyway, all that to say- who cares what people think. Your boys will love to have both an American name and their Chinese name.
    (I think a lot of Chinese people use an American name anyway!)
    Now, hurry up and go get those boys!!!!

  2. I cried thru her original post too.
    And as the parent of adopted children whose names we selected I am always encouraged by the example of the countless persons in Scripture who our Heavenly Father renamed to mark their spiritual gifts, blessings or new Kingdom assignment.
    I just love the names you have prayerfully selected for you boys!
    Love & Blessings from Hong Kong,

  3. I, too, read that post and it made me cry. Fortunately, for us all the girls love their names. I did have one girl snicker at Ivy's Chinese name while still in China. Her name is Ma Xue. Ivy was born the year of the horse, therefore, Ma. Xue means "learned", so, not very pretty to the Chinese, but stunning to me! Ivy is now Ivy Xue. The other girls still have their names as their middle names, XueHong, ChunMeng. Beautiful.

  4. Ah just grabs your heart and yanks it out!! WOW! Thank you for sharing this. It is hard to know what name at times. For our new little guy, it's kind of hard to know since he'll be close to 6 when we adopt him. We wanted to use part of his Chinese name for sure, but we also use our middle names for our kiddos and wanted him to have that too. Nothing like giving him a bazillion names, but all important to him too. Watch...he'll get here and decide he doesn't wany any of them! :) Kaylin was a bit easier as she was only 13 months at adoption. We stilled used part of her Chinese name and a tradition in her orphanage as well as my middle name. So, she has been happy with hers. :)

  5. Oh, wow. Thank you for sharing that!

  6. You adopting mothers are amazing. I don't think anyone has a right to even wrinkle their nose over your personal decisions. You got me hooked on adoption stories and I spent WAY too much time reading them yesterday. I love what Kim said about God renaming people to mark changes in their lives. How perfect.

  7. Oh my Sonia! You are right, tears! Wow! Lizzie was one who responded right away to the name we gave her. She does like to hear her Chinese name every now and then but sometimes will tell me "no."

  8. All of our adopted children have different feelings about their original names. We at least try to use them as nicknames, but it seems for us the older they are when adopted the more they just want their American name used. For some, the chains of the past are tightly wrapped around those letters.

    Okay and not to mention that most of us slaughter their Chinese names so it doesn't even sound like what they are used to be being called.

    Loved this sweet post!

  9. Thanks for posting....

    Every time I read it, I still suck in my breath...
    I still am amazed by it all...

    I will never know what her first four years of life were really like...

    I do find comfort in the fact that Jesus was with her...

    And, I hope someday she finds comfort in that truth as well!

  10. Thanks for posting this--I've been wanting to write something myself about adoption and naming your child.