We're celebrating my oldest daughter's birthday this week. She was born eight years ago in a small town in rural China, and spent the first year and a week of her life in the loving care of a foster family, before we were able to adopt her.
And so, like so many adoptive parents, we opted to honor both her old and her new lives in her name.
Our daughter had the Chinese name Ai Lun, a name which translates to "being lovely and beautiful," and it was an apt name for our gorgeous baby. We decided to include that as one of her middle names, to honor her Chinese heritage. She has chosen to use her Chinese name in certain circles, such as at her Chinese language school.
We wanted traditional names for our daughter, and wanted to give her family names. We felt like it was a wonderful way to connect her to some of our most beloved family members. I already wrote a bit about the drama over the spelling of Katharine. But there was no argument that we would give her the same first name as my husband's grandmother, a sweet woman who lived with my husband's family throughout his childhood. Katharine is a Greek name that means pure and innocent, and the spelling comes from Katharine Hepburn, one of our favorite actresses. One thing we loved about the name is its flexibility. She had a ton of nickname options. We chose to call her Katie, but at various times in her life, she's decided to go by her full name, Katharine.
For her other middle name, we chose Caroline, a tweak on my mother's name, Carol. Caroline is in the top 100 baby names for girls, and means "beautiful woman," making it a wonderful match for her other middle name. Plus, this name has German roots, which suits my family's heritage.
Admittedly, it's a very long name. But since the name is so full of love and meaning for my beautiful girl, I think it works.