Posted by: perchancetodream | September 18, 2009

What’s in a name?

I’ve been mulling over a post about “naming” in response to Mel’s excellent post here (if you haven’t read it yet, I strongly urge you to) about the English, Hebrew, and “secret” names that she’s given her children.

Like most American Jews, I was given both an English first and middle name and their equivalents in Hebrew. I’ve had a life-long love/hate relationship with my English first name.  It’s not terribly common although there is a more common French equivalent.  My middle name is far more common but not overly used and as a kid, when all of my friends were getting pencils, bookmarks, room plaques, and just about everything else with their names on them, I really wished I could swap my names around.

Now though I’m glad that I didn’t.  In some ways having a name that is more unusual has suited and shaped me and hey, now its possible to have anything printed 🙂

My Hebrew names have gotten very little use.  I’m not overly thrilled with either one of them and they get stuck in your throat when you say them together.

While hubby and I have had a much easier time of agreeing on most of the adoption questions that have come up than I would have expected, we’re a bit at odds on the issue of naming (well, the discussion has been tabled for the moment).

We are adopting from Bulgaria where the names are very long and highly identifiable as Eastern European. Having grown up with an uncommon name, I know how cruel kids can be.  I also know how much trouble even adults have in dealing with names they don’t know. Also, the Jewish tradition of naming children after dear and departed relatives is something that deeply matters to me.  I have a number of relations who will never have their names carried on unless my children are gifted with them (or some variation of them).

To add to the issue, hubby is Scottish.  I have a freelance career that is Irish in nature.  We both have a strong desire to stay within the Celtic realm.  Also, I’ve also read articles about the ramifications of renaming adopted children.  Done at the beginning, it can give the child a true sense of “new start” and also help them fit in better with their peers and extended family than an unpronounceable name would.

Certainly we have a lot to talk about.  Ideally, we’ll have a list of names that we both approve of and then, once we have a referral, we can see if any of those names come close to the child’s birth names.  But I’m also hoping that we can come to a meeting of the minds on this one and give our child a name as we would have given a birth child a name.  Something that carries meaning for both of us and that we’re both on board with.  And of course, eventually our child will have Hebrew names as well and hopefully they’ll like them more than I like mine.

Does anyone know a Bulgarian-Celtic-Jewish name??????


Just for a quick update it sounds like our home study will FINALLY be done next week and in our hands shortly after which will allow us to file our I-800A.

We now have our dossier instructions and forms in-hand and if I thought that immigration or the home study involved a lot of confusing paperwork, I had no idea.  I’ll write more on the crazy types of things that we’re having to compile, have notarized and then appostiled (verified by our local Secretary of State) before it can be sent off.  I’d initially thought that this could be done by mid-January but now…..well, we’ll just have to see!



  1. How about Bridget Leora?

    I really liked the name “Nora” which means ‘light’ –( so I looked up a hebrew girl’s name for ‘light’ 😉 –Nora was my Irish grandmother’s name — but G didn’t like Nora — and his aunt’s name is Bridget but he feels strange about using itl…and in fact he’s really hesitant to take to any of my family names at all — even for middle names — we’ve chosen a first name that is completely unrelated to family names … and I may concede to his desire for a very traditional, very Austrian (eek — like, very…) middle name…

    But it’s all on the table still…

    I wish I could be more help — I can’t wait to hear the next installment…



  2. I relate to this post… I am from NJ originally and I live in the UK with my English husband. My family also traditionally names its children after a relative who has died. (Mostly we just use the first initial. ) My husband’s family do not. If he ever had a Hebrew name, he didn’t know or remember it, so we had to make one up when we got married.

    Our first child was named Sophie, after my Aunts Sylvia and Sally and my husband’s Aunt Sophie and Jane after my cousin Joey. I had proposed Sylvie, which is European and so much nicer than Sylvia IMO. We gave her a beautiful Hebrew name, not based upon her English name: Shana Chava – Beautiful Life. My daughter loves both of her names, so I guess that we chose correctly. So, Sophie or Sylvie?

    By the way, my son has a Celtic name: Euan, like the Scottish actor Ewan McGregor. It’s not a name you hear all the time, but familiar enough in England, though not in the States. From the day he was born, we have called him a nickname, but when he started school last year, he told everyone to call him Euan. He has a lot of confidence for a little 6 year old. I think if anyone made fun of it, he would probably tell them off.

  3. I forgot to say that the above post was a IComLeavWe blog visit. I wish you the best of luck in your adoption. Lisa (ICLW #100)

  4. Lisa – how funny, you’re the second person I’ve come across in as many days who is married to a Brit and living (or having lived) in the UK. My husband is Scottish and we were married in the UK and lived there for almost 4 years before (much to hubby’s dismay) moving back to the US.

    I love your kids names!!!! I hope we do as well!!!!

  5. First time visitor from ICLW. DH and I had a favorite male name. I am Irish and the name is very irish. When we decided to adopt from S.Korea, we weren’t sure our very Irish name would fit. We decided to wait and see who our son would be and when we got to see his picture, we would decide if the name fit his picture. It did. Congratulations on your adoption journey. It is such a rewarding way to become a parent. Visit my blog if you get a chance. I write about if, adoption and our non profit Parenthood for Our mission is to provide financial and emotional support to those building families through adoption or medical intervention.

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