Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Random Pre-Adoption Thoughts About a Name

So, like I don't have more important things to think about like "where in the world are we going to get $15,000 to adopt this baby?" or "shouldn't I be watching some of that 10 hours of required adoption education instead of blogging?" I think about random stuff like "should we keep Bernice's name or give her a new one that we gave her?"

I remember years ago when Angelina Jolie adopted her son Pax (you don't hear as much about ol' Pax, do ya, compared to the others) and I distinctly remember that I thought it was odd that she changed his name. The reason I found it odd, I guess, was because he was older and not a baby like her other children were when they were adopted. I tried to imagine what it would be like if all of a sudden one day, someone said that you were no longer "So-and so" and that you would from now on be known as "Such-and such." Weird. I imagined little Pax playing and Angie calling him for dinner and him not responding. "Oh wait! I'm Pax! She's calling for me! Coming Mom!!!" See. Random thoughts even way back then.

Chuck, JR and I have talked about it and I was outnumbered by their vote to keep Bernice's name what it is. JR doesn't like change, so it came as no big shock that she wanted to keep her name the same. Chuck explained that he actually liked the name Bernice (really? Because... really?). The man continues to amaze me. Perhaps stupify would be a better word. But getting back on track here... I've been thinking about her name and wondering if it's the best fit for her. Here's why:

I was told by the lady who runs the orphanage that Bernice's mother tried to kill her twice and eventually just neglected her because she thought that she was cursed (because of her cleft lip and palate). So if Bernice is the name given to her by the woman that tried three unsuccessful attempts to end her life, well... I'd rather her not have ANYTHING that ties her to that situation. On the other hand, if by the time she gets to us she is old enough to understand that she IS Bernice, would changing her name totally mess her up? I've contemplated a few names for her first name, while keeping Bernice as her middle name, but nothing has won me over.

Some friends of mine have suggested that we call her Niecee (like Niecee Nash) and I think that's cute. My aunt has called her Bernie... also cute. Chuck calls her Lil' B (and I do too, sometimes). And though it's catchy, somehow I can't wrap my brain around her filling out school work and putting her first name down as "B," the artist formerly known as "Bernice." Both of my older girls have family names, so should Bernice be given a family name too? I'm perplexed.

So what do YOU guys think? Leave me a comment or message me if you want if you have any ideas. Names that I like for little girls just don't seem to fit her and who she is. The only contender right now is "Halle Bernice," because Halle means "unexpected gift," and that"s exactly what she is to our family: a beautiful, unexpected, magnificent gift. :D


  1. Well, you have no idea who I am but I came here from Linny's blog after reading your prayer and fasting post.

    We adopted a 6 year old girl from Ghana in 2009, and I struggled mightily with your exact name dilemna. Should we keep her given name, knowing the history of her family life before she became an orphan? Should we let her choose her new American name herself (her preference was a doozy, let me tell ya!), or do we keep her given name as her middle name and give her a family name as her first?
    We ended up keeping her Ghanaian name as her first name (the name given by her birthfather), and her "school" (English) name is her middle name. At the time, that made the most sense and by a miracle, her African name totally fits with some of our family nameing traditions.

    Anyway, three years later and three years older, she desperately wants us to change her first name to a name that she chooses, keep her African name as her middle name and drop the "school name." As we have learned more details about her life at the school/orphanage, we really wish we had not kept that reminder of that time for her. BUT we still believe that she should keep her first name as-is, because she will appreciate it when she is older and feels more drawn to her heritage.

    I guess I am not much help. Do you know your daughter's Ghanaian name? Is there a nuickname or "love name" that anyone there uses for her? Do you have a family name that has special meaning to you? I do love Halle, though!

    Oh, and my Auntie is named Bernice, but she goes by Bunny! She is a strong, independent and completely amazing women, too.

    God bless you in your adoption journey. I know it is hard, frustrating, and that Satan will beat you down at every opportunity. You will be in my prayers!

    1. Thank you so much for your sweet comment! It's nice to know that I'm not alone in the thoughts I have concerning this new world of adoption. We do not know Bernice's Ghanaian name, nor do we know if she has a middle name. But I am in LOVE with the nickname "Bunny!" Thanks for sharing that! Thanks also for your prayers. May God bless you and your family!

  2. Lindsey You are one of the most amazing people I know for following what God has called your family to do. I bind Satan in advance and pray nothing but blessings and happiness as you continue this journey. We love you and no matter what you decide as a name we will love "little b" also:)

    1. I love you, Hollie! Thanks for being such a wonderful friend to me. Keep those prayers coming!