Tuesday, September 27, 2011
What's In a Name?
I started the paperwork for the re-adopt, the process that will grant Jie Jie and English birth certificate. It's also my chance to come up with her final name.
I'm not good at naming anything, whether it's a cat or person or even a business. Jie Jie's name is her given Chinese name. It's unusual, but short. She doesn't want a different name, and I don't blame her. I like it; it suits her. How she pronounces her name is completely impossible to spell and it's what I call her myself. The formal pronounciation of her name is quite easy to say and this is what I taught her to introduce herself as.
So far, she isn't good at naming anything either, from dolls to kittens. She still doesn't understand what I mean by English or Chinese, but I think today she just started getting a glimmer of understanding.
I looked at the Social Security name list, which ranks the top 1000 names for 2010 and there's not one on there that suits her. Next, I looked at Chinese names and found something we both like, something to add for a middle name. It's not hard to pronounce, but it's not easy either. It decribes her to a T and it's pretty. There is also a famous Chinese swimmer with that name and Jie Jie loves to swim, so I thought that was coincidental. We both like it. Jie Jie also likes the Chinese surname she came with, which is the name all the children at her SWI have. Since she lived there for so long, I do consider it part of her identity and the way the orphanage director pronounced her whole name was nice, so I don't mind keeping it in her name somewhere. However, I'd hate for a Chinese person to come up to me someday and say I really named her something nonsensical.
The Chinese people I know have encouraged me to give her a simple English name. All the guides in China for the agencies had English names. My dad told me that all the kids in school in Taiwan introduce themselves by English names.
We live in a diverse world, now, though. Is an English name truly necessary?
I would love to hear your comments on this.