Thursday, October 4, 2012

What's in a name?

This is the second Eli post, originally published on August 22nd. 

I don't know what his mother called him when he was growing in her belly, but undoubtedly she called him something. Whether he was her "peanut" or her "little guy" or she called him what she planned to name him, he was called something.

And then he was born with a special need that was beyond his family's ability to provide for. That first name is lost to us forever, just like that first mama.

In the orphanage they named him Han Leman. All of the kids who found their way to Xuzhou SWI in 2011 are Hans, including Rose. All of the boys have "Le" as the first part of their first name. But the kids there, if they're called anything at all, go by nicknames.

Then his paperwork got sent to our agency. At most adoption agencies, they assign kids a name, because apparently the kids who have names, even if they're just dummy names, get adopted more quickly. In the week we were waiting to decide if he would be ours, our agency named him "Louis" for advocacy purposes.

And then there was Hugo, the nickname we gave him. I guess we could have named him Hugo. Actually, I probably would have been fine naming him Hugo, but Ed said we needed to find something else.

The day we sent in our LOI, I sat down at the computer with the Social Security list of baby names from 2011. I wrote down every name I liked, and packed it in the bag I was carrying on our trip.  As we zipped through the farm towns of Eastern Idaho on our way to Yellowstone, I pulled it out.

Five minutes later, we had a name.

Maybe I should say that thirteen years later, we had a name.

When I was pregnant with Bryce, we narrowed down our list to three names. We used the first one with our first son, another with our second, and now we're using the third.

So the baby whose first name was lost, who then became Han Leman, Louis, and Hugo, will soon be known as Elias Leman Miner. We'll call him Eli.

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