What’s in a name?

Several people have asked me about Roo’s name.

If you can forgive me, I’ll share where his name came from without actually sharing his name.

Yes, Roo is a nickname. My dad used to tuck me into bed at night and read Winnie the Pooh stories. He did all the voices except Roo – that was my job as soon as I was old enough to read. It seemed to fit that I would call my own kid Roo.

As for his real name:

Jewish tradition calls for naming the first child born after the death of a loved one with the first letter of the person’s name. We definitely pick and choose our rituals, but this one made a lot of sense to us. We chose a first name with an E, for my grandmother, and a middle name with an I, for Non-Sequitor Girl’s grandmother. We also wanted to incorporate a name from his birth family – a first name if they chose one, or their last name if they didn’t.

As it turned out, the birth family asked us to name him. We asked if they had a name picked out as well, and they did – they had been referring to him by another name beginning with an I. We dropped the I name we had chosen and instead used their name as his first name, feeling like it honored both them and NSG’s grandmother.

After all was said and done, my father mentioned to me that the I name also happens to be his – my father’s – Hebrew name (with a slightly different spelling). So it feels like a family name three times over.

Finally, Roo’s Hebrew name comes from NSG’s friend who died in the fall of 2003.

The process was harder than I had thought it would be. It was very hard to find a balance: on the one hand, of genuinely honoring the birth family, on the other hand, of providing a name that’s deeply connected to both of our families for our adopted child. I think we’ve struck the balance we wanted.


7 Responses to What’s in a name?

  1. Lisa V says:

    Scruffy’s first name was chosen by his birth parents- who parented him for a year. In a weird twist, it’s a name Bert and I had chosen for a boy years before and never told anyone. His middle name is saint’s name – a Catholic thing that we gave him, and also his birth father’s last name than our last name. It’s long but it honors everyone.

    So happy you are settling into motherhood. Hope all is well.

  2. Carry says:

    Beautiful! Even without knowing the name, that is so great how you were able to incorporate everyone. But I ADORE the nickname Roo. Winnie-the-pooh is still a huge favorite for me, even if my boys have outgrown him.

  3. Ms. Tooth Fairy says:

    Delurking at last to say I love how you incorporated your family’s traditions so positively. I think naming is so important;I wonder about some of the names I see and where they came from. It’s an icebreaker I use in facilitating small groups — people connect so beautifully when they hear naming stories. Thank you for sharing yours. Janet

  4. Estelle says:

    Very nice way to come to a name!
    Charlie was not Charlie before he was born… but once he came out, there was nothing else he could be. He was Charlie (Charles). It just happens to be my dad’s name too, but really… he couldn’t have been anything else

  5. Shannon says:

    It’s hard, but I also found this process to be really fun in a creative-project kind of way. Turns out our birth mother’s contribution to the name is a strong traditional name in my family too. I think that often happens. Years ago, I knew a straight couple who adopted in a semi-open way in which they met the birth mother but no last names were exchanged. She asked them if it was possible to give the baby a certain first name which, it happened was their surname (which they gave in turn to the baby). They got chill bumps about that one!

  6. dawnfriedman says:

    When I hear stories like yours (and LisaV’s and Shannon’s) it always makes me think that maybe the universe is offering a special blessing. 🙂

  7. […] This is a part of E’s naming ceremony, which we held in October. I’m posting it because it was too beautiful of a day not to share. (I wrote a little more about his name here). […]

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