I want to start an FAQ series to respond to a number of questions that I get asked in emails. Today, I'm going to talk about our boys' names.
Even though we adopted Ty from birth, we were still very sensitive to Rebekah and approached the subject of naming with deference. We started by asking Rebekah if she would like to name Tyrus (who we called "Baby Boy", at the time). Rebekah's heart for us through her pregnancy was evident in everything she did. Her response was consistently, "I have done this before...I want you and Ben to have all the firsts. I don't want you miss out on this." I know the honor we offered one another in those early days is the chord of unity that still runs thick to Tyrus, today. The love he has for both of his mothers is pure, genuine, and overflowing.
I could talk about the connection Ty feels to Rebekah all day, but I'll try to stay on topic here! Once we found out that Ty was a boy, we really wanted to use Ben's grandfather's name, Tyrus. We couldn't think of a better namesake. Because we wanted Rebekah to be a part of the decision, we came up with two more names that were a close second. I think they were Maximus and Cole. We gave all three names to Rebekah and asked for her feedback. When she said she loved, Tyrus, I cried with joy. Even though she had left the decision to us, we wanted it to be a collective choice. We used "Lee" as the middle name because it held significance on both sides of our families and funny enough, both Ben and I share the middle name, as well. Had Ty been a girl, I would have absolutely used Rebekah in her name.
One of the first questions LJ's foster mom asked us was whether or not we would change his name. She admitted that she would have. Prior to PRIDE training, Ben and I probably wouldn't have thought twice about changing a young foster child's name. As it turned out, I was the volunteer for the exercise that left me with lasting impressions. The trainer had different people in the class come up to the front of the room to represent the biggest pieces of me - my family, my friends, my church, my job, my education, this blog....maybe a few others. One by one she "took" pieces a way from me until I was only left standing with my name...and then she took that. After a dramatic pause, she asked me how I felt.
Most foster children have had everything dear to them taken. Unless we adopt a child with a name that binds him to his past in an unhealthy way (I know a family that adopted a child named Dark Dragon) or the child is old enough to request a name change, we will keep our children's given first names.
I use LJ on this blog, for LJ's protection. It is not his given name, but has become a nickname that we do call him. LJ's first name remains, but we did change his middle name to Jeremiah because we love the promise that comes with it. LJ's first name starts with an "L", so LJ has become a natural nickname that he enjoys, especially because we often call Ty, "T-Y" (saying each letter). We use LJ's given name and his nick name, interchangeably. When he's writing or spelling out his name with letters, he always uses LJ, but when he introduces himself, he always uses his given name. I beam with pride when I hear him tell people his full name and he ends with an emphatic "JEREMIAH PINCH--BACK!!" He sounds like a boy that knows exactly who he is. I love it.
If we are able to adopt LJ's sister (PRAYING!), we will also keep her given name and call her Mia for short, as it is a part of her longer name. I don't think I've given an update on her in awhile....we are getting closer. Her case is moving toward termination and her, current, foster family has expressed that they do not intend to adopt. If we had been asked to adopt her a few months ago, the answer would probably have been no, but we are feeling much more settled in our family, today. We pray for Baby Mia every day and trust God for his perfect plan, recognizing that it may not include us.
We are no where near expert status in the field of adoption. Every child is different and right answers vary. I will, however, continue to share our experiences and the ways God had led us on this path, in effort to encourage your heart.
Feel free to leave your questions in the comments and I will use them for upcoming FAQs!