Wednesday, December 14, 2011

It took two parents, a birth mother, an orphanage director, and two countries to name my kids

The topic last night at my MOPS meeting was "naming rights". The discussion flowed from biblical babies to our own real time ones, and how their precious names were selected. We talked about how important our names are - they are our identity, a gift from our parents. Sometimes they are a link to our past. Names are so very important.

We talked about that first moment when you hold your new baby in your arms and look in his or her eyes for the first time, and how you just know, you just know the name you selected fits this tiny creature. Being the only adoptive mother in my MOPS group I am used to conversations about our little ones frequently being framed in the context of pregnancy and birth, and that is fine with me. All those mothers, having their babies the old fashioned way! Last night's conversation was the same - very much centered around those first few moments after birth.

But I can relate. I waited to see my baby's face too. I found out I was having a boy not in my doctor's office on an ultrasound table but standing in my kitchen, with our adoption agency on speaker phone. It's a boy! I remember hanging up the phone and sinking down into a kitchen chair,  thrilled and stunned that we were having a boy. And the great baby name debate began.

It was funny, last night, participating in this conversation about meeting our babies. I saw my baby's beautiful little face not in person for the first time, but in a picture. But I was in the hospital. It was  our adoption agency's policy to not show a prospective family the photo of the baby until after the parents to be had reviewed the baby's medical information, which makes sense. It would be hard to turn away from a baby you know in your heart your can't care for after you have seen the picture. So we had met with the doctor, we were confident we could handle the cleft palate and cleft lip our son to be would come to us with. And so we stood in a cubicle in the International Adoption Clinic offices at Nationwide Children's Hospital and waited as our baby's picture loaded onto the assistant's computer. And so that part of our story might be different than other's. But what happened next was the same as every other new parents' story. We looked at the picture of our new little son, a tiny Chinese boy in an over sized white t-shirt, his eyes speaking volumes to us. And we looked at each other and said, "Yes, his name fits him. He is a Matthew." You just know. You just know.

We talked at MOPS about how we all settled on the names we chose for our children. And again, my story was a little different. It wasn't just my husband and I making this decision. We had boys with names already. One given by the orphanage, another by a birth mother. (sometimes I still struggle with that word, birth mother. But no matter the struggle, I am everyday thankful to these unknown women.) Both names were links to history, to birth countries. So it wasn't just my husband and I. Or even extended family. It took two parents, a birth mother, an orphanage director, and two countries to name my kids.

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