Friday, July 30, 2010

What's in a name?

Now that we have our referrals, we have been thinking about names

We plan to give our kids American names to go along with their Ethiopian names, but the question remains, “Should we call them by their American names or by their Ethiopian names?”

Reasons to call them by their Ethiopian names:
- In a nutshell:  Heritage
- We think their Ethiopian names are beautiful… BEAUTIFUL!
- They were given to them by their birth family and are extremely special.
- We certainly do not want to make them feel as if we think their Ethiopian names were not “good enough” or that we did not like them.
- They are used to them. It’s what they’ve always been called, and it would be strange for them to have to learn new names at 3 and 4 years old.

Reasons to call them by their American names:
- In a nutshell:  Practicality
- Their Ethiopian names would be unusual and difficult for people to remember, pronounce, and spell. We have experienced this some with Deke and Mattea. For some reason, people have trouble figuring out how to spell Deke’s name. (Apparently, it’s more difficult to spell than we originally thought!  “Deek”,  “Deak”, even “Dink”) And poor Mattea has her name mispronounced almost every time anyone has to read it. We’ve even made it a game to try to guess how it’s going to be pronounced – especially when we go to the dentist! (It’s Muh-TAY-uh, by the way. LOL) I can only imagine how many times our Ethiopian kids will have to re-pronounce, spell, and re-state their names! I just don’t know if they should have to do that their entire lives.
- So that they won’t have to answer questions or explain where their names came from every time they meet someone new.
- In the Bible, God gave many people a new name to mark a turning point or new phase in their lives. (Abram became Abraham. Sarai became Sarah. Jacob became Israel. Cephas became Peter. Saul became Paul.) This is definitely a new phase in their lives, and I believe it would be appropriate to receive a new name.

Really, the only reason we would call them by their American names is so that their lives could be simplified. It really does get old having to repeat and spell your name for lots of people. That’s a pretty big reason. So, I think we’re leaning toward calling them by their American names, but we certainly are not completely committed to that yet.

We’re praying about it. We’ll see…


Cindy said...

I will tell you one thing.People get used to their Ethiopian names. People LOVE learning a new name and I am very infrequently asked to explain it to people. When they do ask I just tell them the meaning of her name. She identified strongly with her name at age 4. We did give her an American middle name. Also it is beautiful when Ethiopian people meet her and hear her name is not changed. They light up!
Good Luck! It is a tough decision.

Melinda said...

Thanks... You make good points. Really considering what you have said.