Sunday, December 23, 2012

What's In A Name?

When we started looking at children from China on Lifeline's website as well as other advocacy websites, Parker remarked that it seemed odd for them to all have English names. We explained that this was due to privacy concerns. A child's Chinese name was kept private unless you viewed their file through your adoption agency. So the very first name that we saw associated with our son was as "Zachary"on Lifeline's waiting children website.  After we requested his file, we received access to his Chinese name....three characters in Chinese and their "pinyin" (English) translation (Until we are a bit further along in the process, we've been asked by our agency not to share his Chinese name publicly). 

But his Chinese name is not the name of his birth given by his parents. When we was abandoned as an infant, someone from the Guangzhou Social Welfare Institute (SWI) that took him in gave him this name. The first character of a child's name in Chinese is designated as the surname. In our son's case, all children found by his SWI in 2010 were given the same surname. While sometimes the first and middle names are given with some thought to their meaning and that particular child, we've learned that many times they are often randomly chosen or used to designate things like gender or what district a child was found in.

Before we sent in our letter of intent in November, we found his file on another advocacy site, with recent pictures taken by someone affiliated with our adoption agency (more about this later in our Moments of Confirmation series). There his name was "Jeremy." A few phone calls and emails later with Lifeline and we received official confirmation that "Zachary" and "Jeremy" were indeed one and the same person. But what would we call him?

We actually started thinking about boy names while we were at the beach this summer. Both Parker and Wesley have family names with a lot of meaning and significance. Parker's full name is Parker Wayne Allen. Parker comes from Debbie's side of the family - John Parker Miles was her dad's great-grandfather. Wayne comes from Daryl's side of the family - it is not only Daryl's middle name but also his dad's first name. Wesley's full name is Wesley Robert Allen. Wesley comes from Daryl's side of the family - Carroll Wesley Sparks was his great-grandfather. Robert comes from Debbie's side of the family - it was Debbie's dad's first name and he was named for his grandfather Robert Elmer Miles.

We wanted to choose a family name for our third son as well with the same attention to meaning and significance. After a lot of thought and discussion, we chose the name Davis Warren Allen. We didn't realize until Daryl's mom pointed it out that this means Davis and Daryl will share the same initials. What a wonderful bonus! This name is a little different for us - all of our previous names have come from paternal family lines; both parts of this name come from maternal family lines. The name Davis comes from Daryl's mother's side of the family. This is his mother Joyce's maiden name. It is really a nod to include both of her parents who were so hugely influential in both our lives - Emma and Howard Davis. The name Warren comes from Debbie's mother's side of the family. Debbie's grandmother Helen had a younger brother named Warren Critchlow, who lived for many years in Tampa and whom Debbie remembers visiting often as a child.

Davis is all official now at our house, with his name letters on the wall above his bed, just like his brothers. We couldn't find the letters in the store anymore (apparently they've been discontinued; how rude!) so we had to order custom letters online and they just arrived this past week. It was the final touch in finishing off the of the room that Davis will share with Wesley. Wesley could not bear for Davis' shelf to be empty so we figured out a couple of things to put up there. We have the framed picture of China that we used in our family photoshoot this year. We also have the first family picture that Wesley drew including Davis. And last, but certainly not least, is a trophy right from Wesley's own shelf! 

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