Thursday, May 28, 2009

Naming Babies

The process of naming children is always interesting to me. My interest is renewed as I contemplate the name of the child I currently carry in my womb. I always thought I'd want to use creative, rare names for my children. And then my first child came pre-named. I really never expected that to happen when I envisioned my future family. But I never expected to become a foster/adoptive parent, either.

At first I was a little underwhelmed by what I perceived to be the most common boy's name in history. It grew on me, though. Actually, we offered John the opportunity during our adoption finalization, when John was four, to choose his own name but he chose to keep his original given name. I was glad. His birth parents were surprised and honored that we chose his original last name as his new middle name.

By the time of his adoption, we had decided that he was officially named after John the Baptist. If I were naming him as a newborn, that's what I would have done. And our first biological child's name was also a Biblical name: Hannah. I was thinking last night that both children have personalities and hearts similar to their namesakes.

John has certainly proven himself to be a man of the wilderness. He adores being outside and experiencing all the glory of the creation God has made. He has an uncanny ability to recognize spiritual truth. And just as his namesake jumped in the womb at the prescence of his savior, our John would also exhibit his joy in a very physical way. I see my John as one who is bold and audacious and sometimes poorly understood. If he strongly believes in something, he will not back down. He is also one who recognizes only ultimate authority, but when he does he will demonstrate humility and declare himself unworthy to even untie the sandals of the Son of God.

Hannah also shares traits with her Biblical namesake. She is named for the Hannah who prayed desperately for a child. I came to pray Hannah's words for my self after two pregnancy losses. Hannah was conceived not long after I began praying that prayer.

Hannah is a peaceful child, calm, quiet but one who makes known her desires. She will doggedly pursue her dreams and goals with a faithful steadfastness. As Samuel's future mother prayed unselfconsciously for a child from God, our Hannah is not a performer. She behaves in whatever way she behaves regardless of who is watching. Our Hannah also exhibits a love for children and babies. She spends a great deal of time each day caring for any representation she can find for her future children. She also sings to them about how Jesus loves them. I pray she will grow into the kind of mother who will choose to give her children over to the service of her Lord.

We never intended to begin a tradition of naming our children after Biblical characters, but I know our Lord designs all things and that His ways are higher than our ways. I believe we may continue in this tradition and I wonder now who is my third child. Is this an Isaiah who will have a willing heart and say, "Here am I, Lord, send me."? Or is he a Paul who will share his gospel with an unmatched passion and dedication? Or is this a Sarah in whom promises will be fulfilled and who will laugh. Or is this a Lydia or Rebekah or a wise, older Elizabeth who can mentor and support others in difficult times? Or is this Ruth with a fierce dedication and undying faith? Or is this a child who will stay with us for such a short time, we won't discover his earthly personality like some of his siblings before?

It will be a while before we know. We are opting this time to allow our child to be knit together in secret, without invasive tests and gender identification. But we can't wait to meet this gift from God. I pray that this child will have a name worthy of the plans his Father has for him.

(Or her, of course, just using the masculine pronoun convention)

1 comment:

Amy said...

Names are so important to me too. As is the meaning of the name.

Since I haven't done it yet, let me say a HUGE congratulations to you, and a "Lord, PROTECT THIS BABY!"

(If it's a boy, "Samuel" has a lovely meaning... "asked of the Lord". I think John and Sam go together really well, although it is a pretty common or at least traditional name.)