What’s in a Name?

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I don’t know about you, but I love naming kids. I love playing with name combinations, looking at lists, scrolling through ancestors’ records, and surprising family and friends with our final choice (we don’t tell in advance). However, the difference between “real life” kid names and blog names is that real life imposes deadlines. The adoption agency contacted us to ask if we’d adopt the twins, then immediately followed up with a request for names for legal paperwork. We named the twins in the process of a walk around the block. Luckily we already had a short list at that point since their original adoption fell through two months before. The baby got her real name after just a couple of days – we had general favorites, but since we learned of her existence one week, met her a week later, and adopted her the week after that it wasn’t exactly a lengthy process! However, with a blog I have license, in theory, to play with names forever. And I probably would, if I could. There are so many blog options without taking names you’ve “saved” for real life. There are the names you love, but that won’t work with your last name. The ones that saddle a kid with embarrassing nicknames or initials. The ones already claimed by close relatives. The ones where you like the nickname but not the full name. At this point, though, the deadline on calling Kid #3 “the baby” is…the next baby. So, after months of procrastinating and calling her “the baby” here on the blog, the current baby will henceforth be known as Jenny.

Before social workers and the adoption agency got involved our baby had no NICU visits from parents, family, and friends. She didn’t even have a name. The NICU staff, volunteers, and hospital providers went above and beyond to make sure she was nurtured and loved during that time. Various hospital staff who knew about the lone baby in Pod D would stop by during work breaks to hold her. Volunteers snuggled her; one elderly man (a retired doctor) rocked and cuddled her for hours on a regular basis. Doctors and hospital social workers checked in regularly, advocated for her needs, and set the ball rolling when it became clear that going home with her birth family was not an option. And through it all, the huge nursing team provided round-the-clock care and love. As she got bigger they even pooled their own money to buy her clothes, blankets, and hats so she had things of her own instead of having to use the hospital’s supply. Her primary nurses, Jennifer and Lisa, cared for her several shifts each week throughout her hospitalization. Jennifer, especially, was there from the beginning. She helped admit her when the helicopter brought her to the hospital, and continued to shower her with love, nurturing, and prayers for three and a half months until she was released from the hospital. Jennifer took the baby’s clothes home to wash and even gave her a temporary name so that those caring for her wouldn’t have to keep calling her Baby Girl. [The name she picked, by the way, was a lovely name – it just happens to be waaaay overused in our family so we didn’t keep it as her permanent name]. When we met our daugher-to-be for the first time, Jennifer placed her in our arms. So, in honor of her foster mother Jennifer, Baby Jenny it is!

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5 thoughts on “What’s in a Name?

    • We are so grateful for her and the other staff too. They all invested so much in our kid, and put so much work into securing her future. One of the funniest but sweetest memories from the adoption process was they day we drove up to the hospital to meet with her providers and find out about her medical needs to see if we could handle them with two small toddlers at home. (Yes, we realize that if a kid were born to us biologically that wouldn’t even be a decision, but in this case if her needs required really non-stop care like suctioning a trach the agency was pretty sure they could advertize through special needs channels to find a family without other young children demanding a lot of care to give her the safest/most attentive home possible). At that point one family had already said yes, then changed their minds and turned her down after they realized their insurance wouldn’t really be adequate for her needs. One provider after another kept slipping into the room to talk to us about her current issues and future prognosis, until there was a whole ring of doctors, nurses, therapists, staff, etc. surrounding us in the NICU. We ran out of questions, they ran out of information, and they just stood their looking at us with hopeful smiles waiting for our decision. It was obvious they SO wanted a home for this kid, and had all teamed up to walk in and convince us. It worked!

    • They really are lovely and a blessing to so many. I’ve never been so impressed by a group of medical professionals before (individually, of course, I have to give the award to The Man 🙂 ). Usually I come away from medical interactions with a “meh” feeling. However, out of the dozens and dozens of people we met there, from front desk clerks and cleaning crews to surgeons and attendings, we had a poor experience with just one grumpy nurse (she was still competent, just grouchy that day). I was so impressed by the fact that they weren’t all just good at what they did, but also so kind and so dedicated and so quick to help. I accidentally dropped my wallet in the downstairs lobby one day without knowing it, then stopped into the bathroom on the way up to the NICU. By the time I reached the NICU a janitor had already found the wallet, somehow figured out where I was headed (must’ve asked the visitors pass people about my name from my license), and had reached the NICU before me to get it back to me three minutes after I’d dropped it. Everyone was like that!

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