A Magnolia By Any Other Name Would Be As Sweet

When it comes to a child’s name, it’s a lot different adopting a three-year-old as opposed to a baby. When we began this journey, we settled on a name because I wanted to think of our daughter as a person even before I knew who she was, because I wanted a name to signify the daughter we would have. But for three years she’s had her Ethiopian name, and so to just change it to one that we prefer doesn’t seem fair or right. Magnolia wasn’t special to us for any particular reason–I just liked it because it’s a little different without being totally weird, and there are a lot of nickname possibilities so that she can choose what fits best as she grows up. Our plan was to call her Nola, and it still is, sort of. Turns out that her Ethiopian name, which was given to her by her family, which is meaningful and beautiful all on its own, sounds pretty great with the name Nola. So we will begin by calling her by her Ethiopian name (which we are not allowed to disclose here until she is legally ours), then work into calling her Nola [Ethiopian Name], with the Nola part coming in as a term of endearment, much like some people preface their baby’s name with the word baby when speaking of or to them sweetly. If, at some point, it seems natural to just call her Nola, we just might. If not, we won’t. If she prefers to be called her Ethiopian name only, we will do that. If she chooses another nickname based on Magnolia or her Ethiopian name, then that’s fine, too. Both her names will belong to her, and she may decide what to do with them. I will make little flag banners for her wall that spell out both Magnolia and her Ethiopian name, and I’ve got chipboard letters that spell out Nola, plus the first letter of her Ethiopian name. I call this particular combination her rapper name, and if she wants to go by that, well, hey, AWESOME. If not, we can name a pet something we can spell with those letters, and they won’t go to waste. I have been wanting a hamster, so this will totally work out, no matter what our daughter decides about her name.


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