Tuesday, March 01, 2011

My Kids' Names

Someone recently asked me to post about how we came up with our kids' names. I actually posted about this last year, so I'm reposting what I wrote from August 2010. No reason to invent the wheel. =-) I do love my kids' names. Funny when I think about it because I always thought I would have a son named Caleb (the name my dad wanted to name me if I were a boy) and a daughter named Lainy (after my mom's middle name, Elaine).

I'm surprised more people don't ask us this! I guess most assume that we made them up. Taevy is a Cambodian/Khmer name (sometimes spelled Devi or Tevi) that means "angel." We had planned to name Taevy "Anna Mareya" but when we saw her we knew she wasn't an Anna. We searched for Cambodian names and knew that her name was Taevy (our spelling) as soon as we saw the name. Mareya (ma-ray-a) is her middle name. I had a student named Mareya and thought it was so beautiful. When I looked up the meaning I found that it meant "long awaited child." Perfect. KunThea is Taevy's second middle name. This was her name at birth, and means "fragrance of a flower."

Samren is a name (spelled Samrin) that we found when looking for Cambodian names. We knew our future son's name would be Samren (expecting that he would come from Cambodia like his sister). When Samren was actually born in Vietnam we couldn't let go of the name. It means "sun." At least it's SE Asian! James is a family name. Tuan (twan) was part of Samren's original name, and means "bright and intelligent." We find that of all their names, people assume we made up Samren's name the most-- as a combination of Samuel and Camron.

Bright was the name Bright was given at birth. It's actually a fairly common name in Ghana. Lots of kids are given names like Gifty, Promise, Comfort, etc. in Ghana. We thought Bright would be just a little far out in America so we planned to name him Brighton. It didn't stick. When we met him, he was Bright. =-) Isaiah is his middle name, meaning "The Lord Helps Me." Bright really needed the Lord's help to survive when he came into care, thus the name. Anagbo is Bright's second middle name--his surname at birth.

Kendi is a name that we chose for our second daughter years ago. We were waiting to find out who our Kendi was, rather than finding a child and then coming up with the name. Kendi means "beautiful one" in Swahili. Mae is short for Mabel (Kendi's original name) and means "lovable." Anadene (ah-na-den-ay) was Kendi's surname in Ghana.

Once you have a kid named Taevy, you can't really follow that up with Bill or Sue! After Taevy was named, I suppose the rest of our kids were destined to have fairly unique names. =-)


Faith and Mark 10:50 AM  

I love your kids names. The combination of family names, birth names and cultural names is awesome. Our children also all have three names. The first name of our choosing, Middle name from one of our family names, and second middle name from their birth parents.

the H family 4:55 PM  

My Ghanaian daughter's name is a cool story. When we were waiting for her, but before we knew her given name, we chose a Ghanaian name that started with "E" because all of the girls on DH's side of the family ended up with E names. Not on purpose at first, but once the first two got it, the others follwed suit. Anyway, we picked a name that we loved and decided that it would be her name when she came home. We made sure that it was a name from her own region as well. So later in the process we learned that her given name WAS the name we had chosen. Her family called her by that name, and her "school" name was the name we knew her by. So her name is now the E name with her school name as the middle name. And she wants to change her name to Crystal Tiana now! LOL!

mary grace 4:57 PM  

Beautiful names, GORGEOUS kids!!!

Nik 7:37 AM  

I adore your children's names!

Is there a general "rule of thumb" when it comes to changing names at adoption? Or is this all a personal preference?

A. Gillispie 10:22 PM  

Nik, people usually have strong opinions about the naming thing with adopted children, but in the end it is all a personal choice. We felt like it was important that we keep a part of a child's original name, without exception. That way, if they grow up and want to reject the name we gave them, they already have it built into their legal name! For our family, we also felt like it was "right" to give our kids a new name. In the Bible God gives lots of people a new name when they enter into a new phase in their life. Our giving our kids a new name was our way of "claiming" them into our family. I think some people believe that once a child is past a certain age it is "wrong" to change their name, but I've met a lot of older kids (8 and older) who very much wanted a new name when they entered their new family. I've also met kids who would NOT want to change their name. In the end, there is no right or wrong.