Names are such an important part of who we are as individuals. I always find it interesting how most people really seem to “fit” their name. How many times have we heard people say that is a perfect name for so and so? Sometimes we know that our parents had more than one name picked out for us before we were born. Some parents may even have two or three names selected but decide to wait and see which name fits their baby – like my friends who selected both Neva and Claire as possible names. In the end they went with Neva. They also tried out several names on their son before settling on Henry after about 2 months. I guess some people take a really long time to decide! Or some parents have one boy name and one girl name ready to go. My husband was going to be either Michael or Jennifer. We know which one he turned out to be!
But some people, like adoptees, may have numerous names before or after they are born. I have three different names. Actually I have a fourth name that I use to write this blog, Stephanie. The name Stephanie is one that I picked out for myself when I was about 9 or 10 years old. That summer I found a long, blond wig at a yard sale. I thought it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen (although in retrospect I realize it was probably a cheap wig from a Halloween costume). I begged my mom to let me buy it – it cost 50 cents. I wanted so much to have long, flowing blond hair (clearly a topic of a future blog post) and with this wig I had it! For an entire summer I required my family to call me Stephanie any time I was wearing the wig. When I didn’t have it on I’d answer to my real name. I’m not sure what happened to that wig. One day toward the end of summer it just vanished. My guess is that one night while I was sleeping my mom took it out of my room and threw it in the trash. At least that is what I hope she did.
My first name was Roberta Frances. That is the name my birth mom gave me when she was pregnant. I only learned of this name after she and I reconnected when I was in my early 20s. She said in her mind she’d always thought of me as Robi. She chose that name because she admired and supported of Robert F. Kennedy and he was killed that summer she was waiting for me to be born. I appreciate the significance of that name but I could never imagine being called Robi. Cute, but just not me.
My next name was given to me while I was in foster care before my parents adopted me. The foster parents were given the first and last initial of the birth mother’s name and then picked a name using those two letters. The letters they were given were N and E. Thus, they named me Norma Ellis. Ok, I’m not going to lie. I really don’t like that name. I’m very glad my name is not Norma. When my parents got me they had a name picked out. It was actually my dad who named me. It is a fairly uncommon name and is frequently misspelled and/or mispronounced – but I still like it. That name I will keep private.
Today with open adoption there can be even more names in the mix. Many birth parents choose a name for their babies. Some adoptive parents even keep that name or incorporate it into a new name. Although I have just one legal name I actually enjoy having a few others too. I like knowing the stories behind each name. It makes me realize just how much my real name fits me. It is perfect.
Anyone else want to share their other names? Please post below.
Photo Credit: Stephanie J. 2007