My lovely wife asked me to write a bit about how we chose a name for our new son.
I decided several weeks ago that I should take the lead in choosing a name. At times I have felt uninvolved and powerless in this adoption process, much like a man who has missed his train feels uninvolved and powerless as he watches the train pick up speed and fade into the distance. But that's a topic for another post, in which this DH hopes to discuss what it's like to be the DH (and maybe at times the RH) in the hope that it may help other DHs and the DWs who love them. Also, I plan to make fun of the ridiculous number of adoption-related acronyms. But I digress.
I began asking God what we should name our son. Friday, February 18, was the payday on which we'd have enough money to send the big check to the adoption agency, along with our son's visa application, so I set this as my deadline.
I didn't hear much, but there were a couple of themes that kept running through my mind. One was redemption. Our other kids have Hebrew names, but the Hebrew name meaning redemption was about as appealing to us as the name Smeagol, and sounds a bit like Smeagol, if I remember correctly. And, of course, this child is Chinese, so while we might get by with Benjamin, a Jewish-sounding name like Shmuel wasn't going to fly.
So, I looked at some Chinese words related to redemption. I found one that I liked--Jiushu--and asked one of my graduate students from China about it. She wasn't sure about it--I don't think she'd ever seen it used as a name--but said she'd think about it.
I continued to pray and decided that maybe a Chinese name wasn't such a good idea after all. My wife liked the idea of a name that begins with J (I can't imagine why) and suggested a couple of options, but I couldn't get excited about either one.
When the deadline came I had nothing. But we weren't quite ready to send in the paperwork, as we had to wait for some money to be transferred to our checking account. This was to happen Thursday, February 24, so we had a few more days to come up with a name.
On this very Thursday, our day of decision, my Chinese student approached me and brought up the name Jiushu again. The first character means "to save," and the second means "to redeem," as when a person who has sold something precious goes to buy it back. As we talked, I was puzzled by some of the English words she was using as she discussed Chinese names--the word "grace," for example. I asked about this, and it turns out that she's a believer and was part of a house church in China. And she had come to love this name, Jiushu.
This was good enough for me. Sometimes God speaks directly, but other times he communicates more subtly, orchestrating circumstances in such a way that we can hear, if we listen closely, the unmistakable sound of his music in the background.
My Chinese student wrote the following later that day:
I did not know that you had been praying for X's new name for a while. But, again, God is amazing. He changed my mind at the last minute. I began to love the name Jiushu the day before yesterday. At first, I was trying to find a synonym for Jiushu but did not get a good one. Then I was trying to find some Chinese friends to help me but also failed to find a right person (because he/she has to be a Christian, sensitive to words and able to understand what I mean and want ^_^). I did not have any clue until Tuesday. And suddenly, after comparing Jiushu to other words I found, I felt that no other names can be a replacement for Jiushu. It is not only unique but makes perfect sense to me. I am so glad that you and your wife both love it. I am actually excited because God answered your prayer before you sent your paperwork!! God is an expert of perfect timing -- I know this because He often makes the right thing happen at the right time and "saves my life"!We like this name because it captures, as much as any word can, what God does for us. And we pray that Jiushu will demonstrate through his own life, in whatever God calls him to do, that our God saves and redeems.