Monday, March 15, 2010

What's in a Name???

There is so much debate within the adoptive community on keeping or changing a childs name. It is a hugely personal decision and both camps staunchly defend their opinion. For me, I really hoped to be able to keep his given name as a part of his adoptive name... now I have to admit there was some huge trepidation that his name would be Egor or Ivana-slava-gabba-chev or Borat or something heinous so imagine my relief when I opened his referral information to be greeted with "his name is Gregory". I learned that it was given by his Birth Mom and I learned that he knows his name as "Grisha". Even though I will never understand the circumstances that came to this beautiful little boys removal from his home, I am thankful that his Birth Parents gave him the gift of life and allowed in their own way for him to have the start in life that makes him the happy, resiliant, loving, outgoing, amazing little boy I will get to be Mama to. Many people wondered why I wouldn't just keep Gregory as his first name... it is after all NOT heinous??? Well, the fact remains that he doesn't know his name is Gregory... he knows himself as Grisha and changing it to Gregory would be a change none the less so I would like to give him the name he knows himself as from now on. There was a name that I really liked but it didn't go with Gregory very well. For anyone who knows me, the meaning of the name is highly important to me, and the name I liked (Brody) means "Ditch" so that simply wouldn't do. So, it was back to the drawing board.

I have kept his name hush hush sort of because it felt like letting the whole cat out of the bag at once... or so I thought... but it is probably more so that I was hanging onto a little piece of fear that "what if things fall apart... what if something happens?" Somehow I had myself convinced that if I didn't tell people his name, somehow it might hurt less if something bad happened. Garbage. Sharing or not sharing, that little boy already has my heart... and he has a name that I decided to share with my friends and family at my shower, and now I will share with my bloggie friends too.
He is my son... He is my baby boy... He is my Corbin Gregory. He'll always be Mama's Grisha but I wanted give him a gift that Mama's everywhere dream of - I wanted to give him his name. This name - Corbin has so much meaning that I hope one day he will appreciate how much choosing it means to me. Many people have asked me over the years if I would give him my late husbands name Scott, and my answer was no. I wanted my child to have something uniquely his own - chosen especially for him. I wanted him to have a name that came from happiness and joy and hope for tomorrow but I also wanted to work in a nod to the past that we have come from and in my own way a nod to Scott and the person he helped me to become.

My husband Scott was my very best friend. He loved me more in a minute than most people get in a lifetime. We shared so much time in the mountains together, exploring, biking, laughing and just enjoying the wonderful landscape that we call home. After he passed away, I was confronted so often no matter where I was by Ravens. They were everywhere... on my path, on my car, in my yard, on my fence, on the neighbors house CAAAAAAA'ing their moring greeting (OK not all of them were Ravens - some of them were their smaller sibling the black bird but close enough). I looked up what the meaning of "Raven" is or what significance they have in Native American cultures and was reassured when I learned that Ravens are said to be the "seer between two worlds" a messenger of sorts that shares points of wisdom, insight, laughter and hope. I soon became comforted by the sight of the big black bird and found myself looking for them wherever I would go. When I'd spy one, I'd often stop to say hi to my Scott and thank him for keeping tabs on how I was doing. My family knew about this as well and would often do the same... Hi Scott...
Fast forward to the name selection marathon. I have the books... all marked up, pages falling out, underlined, dog eared... probably 15 years old. Scott and I would sometimes talk about what our children would be named and sadly I have no recollection... but I still have the books. One name that made it to the short list on the back pages is Corbin. It is a name I like the sound of - different but not weird - simple and easy to spell, it doesn't rhyme with anything that cries out to be mocked in grade school, and finally, it passed the front porch test. The front porch test is the one where you stand on your front porch and yell it out about 10x to see how it feels... add in "Dinner time!"... or "where's the dog?"... or whatever... see if it still feels OK... and it does. But more than all of that, I fell in love with the meaning of the name... Corbin means Raven or Black Bird. I did a lot more research on the name and on the meaning of Raven (Corvus - latin for Raven, Crow or Black Bird)... if you ever want to hear it all, just ask. I also learned that there is a mountain in BC close to where Scott grew up called Corbin Peak which is a nod to the time we loved together in the Mountains too.

So, just as the Raven who made me wonder what he meant by showing up in my world brought me comfort and hope that perhaps he is the seer between two worlds, my little Corbin Gregory will continue to be the seer between his two worlds... this time it's not the Heaven and Earth worlds that my Raven Scott helped to bridge... it's Russia and Canada and my son will be my future of comfort and hope and of laughter and wisdom for me. He is the gift that will forever remind me that it feels good to smile even when life hurts and that as I said so long ago on one of my very first blog posts, that there are in fact occasions where two wrongs can indeed make a right.
He is my son... He is my Corbin Gregory... He is what the journey and every battle is for... he is so worth every second. I can't wait to take him home so he can see his new world. I will never forget Russia and the gift that She has entrusted me with... the gift of Hope, the gift of Faith and the greatest gift of all, Russia, you give me the gift of Love.


amy and kevin said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE his beautiful name! And your new name: MOM!!!

Silvana said...

I am crying right now. You could not have chosen a more beautiful name!!! I am so excited for you, and your son!! All the best to you Stacey!!

Anonymous said...

I have shivers and tears! What a great tribute and a great name.

I am a fellow Canadian (my Dad lives in Calgary) plus a fellow adoptive Mom.

Love your blog

Nancy said...

Stacey love his name!

Amen! I love your story! Each time I hear it, I love it more and more!

I cannot wait to finally meet Corbin and Mama!

Barb said...

I love it, and I love what it means for you! Very sweet. As for me 2 cents . . . we changed our daughter's name (because the pronunciation in English, Swedish and Russian were all completely different, AND, she also was used to the Russian nickname form - which is horrible in Canadian English) with trepidation because she was so strong willed we thought she'd be very angry about it. Turns out that she loves her new name - she started calling herself it right away. If we look at old pictures together and refer to her Russian name, she corrects us and tells us what her name is.

Amy said...

We also spent hours debating over our Russian (Vladivostok area) son's name. We finally went with a name we could convert his Russian nickname we planned to call him Alyoshka and then segue into Yoshka and then Joshka and finally Josh. Turns out it was all a waste of time...he didn't know his name! Hadn't heard it enough...
But we were happy with the name we chose and that was the important part.
I love the name you have chosen for your son! I love that you put so much of yourself into the choosing!

Anonymous said...

What an amazing blog, I was directed here by one of your high school friends and was blown away. How much sorrow.....only for SO much joy. This little boy Corbin Gregory is very blessed to have such an amazing, thoughtful mama. I wish you all the best! Thank you for sharing your story. Tears fill my eyes each time I re-read your journey, I am so happy for you.

Calico Sky said...

Stacy I'm so happy for you! Corbin Gregory is an absolutely lovely name!! Can't wait until he's home with you :)

Michelle said...

WOW!!! His name is totally awesome and couldn't be more perfect! It's amazing how fate just seems to play into things!!!