Tuesday, June 26, 2012

What's in a name?

Fear not for I have redeemed you, I have called you by name, you are mine. Isaiah 43:1

We wrestled for a few months if we would keep our kids given names or rename them.  I read Adopted for Life by Russell Moore and it really impacted me (I highly recommend it even if you have no plans to adopt, it is an amazing correlation of the gospel and our adoption into Christ's family). Moore writes about his sons:
"They eat what we eat...They share our lives, and our story. They belong here. They are Moores now, with all that that entails...They {maxim and sergei} seemed to them to be someone else's names, and they were. Some people think we've done something wrong by renaming the boys...We see naming as a part of a welcome- the American names represent the fact that the children are now part of an American family. They're not foreigners geographically or emotionally. When parents name a child, they're welcoming him; they're identifying with them, forever. In our day, names tend to be doled out as the whim of a parents' wishes and cultural fads... In the world of the Bible though, a name said something about who you are, or at least who you're parents expected you to become...A name is important to one's identity And that's why in the story of our fathers and mothers God keeps changing people's names...God names things as though they are and them makes them that way (Rom. 4:17) The same thing has happened with us in our adoption."
This echoed in our hearts when it came to naming our children. We didn't want a foreign sounding name that would only make them further feel like they don't belong. With a lot of prayer, the Lord lead us to change our children's names, before we even knew them. We prayed we would find names that would tell the story God wanted told with their lives. We prayed their names would be a reminder of what God has given to our family in this journey.  In Uganda, mamas at the orphanage would name the orphans names like Patience, Hope, Joy, Faith, so they would remember when seeing that child how to treat them, remember their story and how God has used their story and redeemed their lives. In the same way is our hope for these names.  It is signifying a new chapter in their lives, the adoption into a new family where they are viewed no different than if we shared the same DNA structure.  It is a reminder to us what God has done and how he has been faithful.

Our daughter will be Maran Grace (pronounced like Aaron or Karen with an M).

Maran comes from the Aramaic word Maranatha or Maran 'atha which means the Lord comes, or the Lord is coming (when the words were separated rather than joined it was used as a declaration that the Lord will come!).  This is a phrase that was used to remind people of the eternal perspective we should have. This life is temporary and it is not the point, but the Lord is coming.  It was also used to express urgency to share the gospel in light of the Lord's coming.  It is used in the end of Revelation giving us hope and perspective to live in the knowledge of God's coming and closeness to us.  Just as in John 14:18 when Jesus says "I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you."  This name is significant to us because this journey of adoption started as God gave us more of an eternal perspective and revealed idols of comfort in our lives.  Life is not about this life here or temporary material things, we want to live in a way that points to the fact that the Lord is coming, that the Lord comes when we call on him.  We decided long ago we would name her after my sweet grandmother Grace who has exemplified sacrificial love to me as she had cared for two husbands on their deathbeds. She loved and gave despite the fact that very little was given back to her in the relationship due to cancer in one situation and then 7 years of dementia. She is such an example to me and has been an example of Grace in my life.

Our son will be Levi Moses.
Levi is hebrew for attached or joined.  This will be a reminder how God has woven him into the fabric of our family. How we have been attached firmly and joined as a family forever, despite the method we brought our children into our family.  We pray one day he will be forever joined and adopted into God's family. We were going to use a family name as his middle name, but were drawn to the name Moses.  Moses means "drawn out of the water" signifying Moses' mother making the choice to giving him up in hopes his life would be spared and Pharoah's daughter drawing him up out of the water and raising him as their own in their family.  It is a beautiful picture of Moses' adoption and yet coupled with a painful past of a choice a mother should not have to make. But God redeemed her choice and sacrifice and Moses was an instrument of God and a leader of his people. This is our prayer for our son. He will have a painful beginning to go back to as he grows, but our prayer is that God redeems it and uses this part of his story to draw Levi closer to Jesus as well as have an impact on others.
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  1. beautiful! We, too, have given much thought and prayer about re-naming our 4 yo (coming home soon!) daughter! The same words from Adopted for Life have helped to guide us. Thanks for sharing this!

  2. Thanks for sharing. This is something we have just started talking about, and it is neat to get other perspectives. What beautiful, meaningful names you have chosen!

  3. The names you have chosen are beautiful and so special! Your children will surely cherish their names and the prayer and meaning behind them! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Kylie, this is amazing!
    What beautiful names for these beautiful babies!!!
    love you and your growing family!