Behind the Name

Some of you might be wondering, if it's going to be three years before we're able to bring our child home, why would we name him now? That's a great question, and a question that I really do love answering because it helps our friends and family see a little deeper into our lives and our approach to this whole adoption journey. 

When it comes to adoption, there's little that we can control. We can fill out the paperwork, read the books, schedule the meetings, and gather information, but there's not much we can do outside of those things....other than PRAY. 

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Since the beginning of December when we submitted our application to the Ethiopia adoption program at Lifeline, I've been on my knees in prayer more than I have in a LONG time. I pray for everything I can think of that would ever have anything to do with our son. It became very apparent very quickly that we needed something tangible, something more than the idea of a person, to pray for. So we began picking out a name.

Picking a middle name was easy. We picked a middle name for our future son when we were dating. We knew that we wanted to adopt a son someday, and we decided that whenever we did, the middle name would be after Jason's dad. Jason's dad's name is James. Good strong name, right? We thought so too. 

James all but legally adopted Jason when he was in middle school. Jason's bio-father wasn't really a part of Jason's life. Because of that, Jason didn't really have a man to look up to and to model his life after until his mom met James and they got married. They weren't married very long, but even so, James got a son out of the deal and Jason got a dad. I don't know all of the details about the short-lived marriage, but in my opinion, it was all for Jason to get a dad and James to get a son. God has this thing rigged.

Even though James and Jason's mom weren't married anymore, James remained a huge part of Jason's life. He helped Jason move into college, came to visit him, and did all the things that dads do for their sons...even after James got remarried. To us, James is Jason's dad. DNA doesn't matter, a legal document of adoption doesn't matter (in this case), for all purposes, James is Jason's dad. Because of this act of adoption, we wanted our adopted son to be named after him.

Last summer for Jason's birthday, we met his dad and his wife at their lake house in North Carolina on Saylor Lake. After a few nights spent sitting out on the bank of Saylor Lake, we heard stories from James and Nancy about how this was their happy place. It was the place they've been coming to each year since they were married to escape the hustle and bustle of life. They're semiretired, so they get to do that :) We heard how this is the place where God has worked in the quite and simplicity that is preserved there among a world of chaos and noise. As Jason and I laid in bed one night on Saylor Lake, I told him that I thought our adopted son's middle name should be Saylor. From then on, it seemed like a perfect fit.

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Like many couples, we'd picked out a first name for a boy and a girl a long time ago. When we began the adoption process though, we just couldn't settle on the boy first name we'd picked to be his name. It just didn't fit. It didn't have enough meaning for all that we're doing. 

One Sunday morning in December, I told Jason that we had to pick a name. I was praying for this person who probably didn't even exist yet and I needed something tangible, I needed a name to speak, a name to call this little person we already were growing to love. In my spare time, I'd be looking up names and keeping a list of them. Then I was looking up their meanings, and making note of those too. 

That morning, Jason and I went through the list that I liked and we narrowed it down to about 5. Then we looked at at the top 100 names for boys. So we had about 10 names. Finally, I just looked at Jason and said, "You know, I really like the name Judah. I just have really liked it for a long time and I like the meaning of it." We stopped, and said the full name out loud - Judah Saylor Morales - and we didn't look for another name. 

I even took a "quiz" to find a name that was right for us. It was fairly accurate, except without the weird spellings. Out of the boy names, Aiden, Caden, Ethan, Gavin, and Jayden were on our list at some point.

I even took a "quiz" to find a name that was right for us. It was fairly accurate, except without the weird spellings. Out of the boy names, Aiden, Caden, Ethan, Gavin, and Jayden were on our list at some point.

Judah means "praised". After we decided on the name, I went to Genesis to read the story of when Leah has Judah, her fourth son by Jacob. It's such a beautiful story, I had to include it in this post.

When the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. And Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben, for she said, “Because the Lord has looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me.” She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Because the Lord has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also.” And she called his name Simeon. Again she conceived and bore a son, and said, “Now this time my husband will be attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore his name was called Levi. And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” Therefore she called his name Judah. Then she ceased bearing.
— Genesis 29:31-35

It was perfect. I've always been worried that I'd be one of those moms who'd pick an awesome name, but doesn't think about the initials and they end up being weird, or their name rhymes or something (like Alice Morales). Thankfully, his name doesn't rhyme, AND he'll have the same initials as me, so it's sure bet that we'll be fine in the monogram department.

Another question we've been asked in regards to his name is if we thought we should wait to name him until we see him, so that the name can fit what he looks like or his personality.

Well our answer to that is the same as any expectant parent. Just as some people might wait to see their biological baby and hold them in their arms before they name them, adoptive parents have the same choice. We can choose to name them before we meet him or see a picture of him, or name them after, just depending on what is right for us. As I said, Jason and I wanted someone we could pray for by  name, and we are so excited about that!

In the adoption process, we're trying to find as many parallels as we can to a pregnancy, even though it's over a much longer period of time. In so many ways, adopting is different than having a biological child, but the love for the child that we haven't yet met is very much the same. 

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Thanks for reading our story about how we named our son, Judah Saylor, and I hope you come back to read more of our adoption updates. Please continue to pray for our family as we walk forward in this process.

Posted on February 4, 2014 .