December 22, 2011 by greenhouse04
I have two children right now, both of whom we are in the process of adopting: Daniel and Emily. They came to us after birth (Danny at 2 ½, Emily at 3 days), complete with their names. We’ve been asked a few times if we plan on changing their names once they’re adopted. We do plan on changing their middle names, and changing the spelling of Emily’s first (it’s legally spelled Emailie right now), but otherwise we’ll keep their first names. After all, that’s the name they know, and are known by!
But I have often wondered if I’ll ever get to name a child myself.
I’ve always loved names. As a kid, I’d come up with elaborate imaginary family trees, mainly for the pleasure of thinking up all those names (yes, first AND middle). There was never a time I didn’t have a “favorite” name, or a list of names to give my future children. I brought up names with my future husband while we were still dating.
Here were a few of my childhood favorites:
Rose, Hannah, Penelope, Vanessa (I can’t believe I liked those last two!). My cousins tell me I liked Dorcas for awhile (don’t remember that, thankfully!) … (no offense to anyone with any of those names!)
Here were some of the names I remember planning to give my children:
Hannah, Timothy, Emma, Annie, Micah, Josiah, Caleb, Elijah, Helena.
As you can see, Daniel and Emily are not on either list. However, Daniel is sort-of a family name – I have one uncle, one cousin, and two cousin-in-laws with this name. I’ve also always greatly admired the Daniel of the Old Testament. He is one of the only prophets and powerful men of the Bible without a single stain on his character recorded.
As for Emily, I’ve always preferred more traditional girl’s names, and Emma was a favorite, so Emily is easy to like, too. Also, as soon as we heard what her name was, I was struck by the significance of the fact that Emily was also the English name of one of our Chinese students – and our first spiritual daughter!
And it’s amazing how the Lord prepares a person for what’s ahead. I can distinctly remember thinking in the months before we got Daniel and Emily that I liked the name Daniel, primarily because of the man of the Bible who had that name. And I thought a couple of times of the name Emily, remarking for the first time ever what a pretty name it was. Amazing, huh?
I was struck by one other reassuring truth this Christmas season, as well. Mary and Joseph were also not “allowed” to name their child, but the angel commanded them to name him Jesus. Wow. Did Mary have the perfect name picked out for her firstborn child? Did Joseph want his firstborn son to be given his name, or his father’s name? It was the same for Zacharias and Elizabeth – they were told to name their son John, and even their neighbors were surprised at this choice.
So I don’t mind now so much that we weren’t the ones to name our kids. It’s kind of interesting imagining what the names of our future foster children might be – you never know with all the strange and inventive names floating around these days! And I guess I should be very thankful that Danny and Emily’s names are … well, Danny and Emily (and not something weird like Penelope).