Frink and I have always been in sync when it comes to naming our children. From our earliest days of marriage we would discuss how many children we would have and what there names would be. We didn't argue about it, we just liked the same names.
When our imagined children didn't come and we turned to adoption, the conversation changed. We talked about giving the children family names as another way to link them to our family and its past. I knew that our first daughter would be named after my paternal grandmother. I loved the name, it was old fashioned and unique. I decided on the French rather than the English spelling to make it even better. Once we decided on her name, a nickname flowed from it. It was another beautiful name with meaning, it meant God's Gift in Hebrew. We knew that was it. That was the name our daughter would have.
When we were adopting Bunny, we didn't question our decision to rename her. We knew she had a Chinese name, given to her by the orphanage. We knew we would keep some form of it as her middle name. But she was going to be Bunny, no questions asked. When we found out her Chinese name, which meant Bird's Nest, it went so perfectly with the name we had chosen. We were happy. And when we met her it all made sense. Her name fit her, she was God's Gift to us. She was the reason we were a family.
With Lion, we were even more certain of his name. From the beginning of the process we knew he was going to be named after Frink's paternal grandfather. We loved the name. We loved the idea that there would be another person who had shared his name. The name meant God Heard in Hebrew. It was perfect, the referral of our son would mean that God had heard our prayers.
We told everyone we met that we were adopting a son and what his name would be. Everyone said, "I love that name". We were convinced that this was they way it was going to be. Even after we received our referral, we did not question our decision. He was S. There was no question.
But then we got to Ethiopia and everything changed. We met our son. We met the people who had cared for our son. We met the people who loved our son. We met the man who gave our son life and helped name him.
Our son had had his name for 16 months. It meant something to so many people. Staff members would ask the group who R's parents were. They would tell us what a special boy he was. They repeated his name over and over again. R. R. R. The name floated from their tongues as if it was poetry. R. R. R.
I knew immediately that we could not change his name. It was a part of him. He was R. But I was afraid of broaching the subject with Frink. What would he think? We were naming him after his grandfather, would he be upset? So I said nothing. Then after meeting with Lion's birth father, Frink turned to me and said "We can't change his name. He is R."
I was so happy to hear that, Lion was not S, he was R. He was always meant to be R. His name means He Helped in Amharic. Our Lion, our R, helped us expand our family and our love. It was perfect.