What’s in a name

So, I was talking to a friend of mine today and I was reminded of something God taught me a long time ago.

I’m a birthmother. I had a little girl nine years ago and placed her with an adoptive family. Through that process I was very passionate about her name. I watched a girl who had established a relationship with the adoptive parents of her son. She had named her son and always wrote to him in letters to the names she had given him. The adoptive parents, of course, had given him another name.

This really struck me…I wondered about how he would grow up. Would he feel really duplicitous because of his double identity. It really made me think…a lot. I didn’t want my daughter to feel that way. I wanted her to know that I knew who she was and I was okay with that. But I also wanted her to bear the name of a very influential woman in my life.

It was a tough road to walk down.

I really struggled. I only wanted my child to have one name. This was really important to me. I wanted her to have one identity and I wanted her to know that I supported and loved who she was…always.

So through a long and interesting process, God brought her parents and I together. I love them. They have extended grace and mercy and love to me in ways I totally don’t deserve. That’s the beauty of Jesus. They have been a part of my healing process in ways I can’t possibly explain. They make me feel like a good woman…and mother.

That is priceless.

Through our conversations over the course of my pregnancy, I discovered that they too had a very specific name in mind for this little girl and it had an amazing story behind it…much like mine. I had always been adamant that I would at least ask the adoptive couple if they would keep the name I was going to give the baby, but for some reason, a Holy hush always came over me when the subject of her name came up. I would share my reasons and thoughts on my name and theirs equally.

When she was born the nurses were asking about her name. A few weeks prior to her arrival i had determined that I would combine the two names. Their first name for her, because that is how she would identify herself and be identified by others and I wanted to support that. My name second because it was so important for me to be able to identify her as my first baby girl. I had even gone so far as to decide to put those two names on the certificate…so that at least her first name would always be the same.

But in the hustle and bustle of a new baby, my mother made a discovery. As the adoptive mom was watching me she told my mother that she and the adoptive dad had made a decision about changing our daughter’s name.

It was a miracle.

One I never even thought to hope for. On their own, around the same time as me, after much prayer and consideration, they decided to do the same thing. They had decided that they wanted to keep the name I was going to give her as her middle name. Her name has always been the same.

And this…as so many things do…brings me back to Jesus.

He knows me. Everything about me. He longs for me to identify myself with Him, as His daughter, and not attach my identity to anything less or additional. He knows that I will feel duplicitous if I attach who I am to anything but Him. And He wants more for me than that.

And I am learning all over again to do that. To only identify with Christ and Him crucified and risen as my Savior. Because it’s in Him that I can trust, and rest, and know my place….

because that’s what’s in a name.


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