We shared, upon receiving our referral (actually, upon passing court) that our desire was to keep Makeda's birth name as her middle name and to give her a new first name. That had always been our wish and plan and momentarily - just prior to opening our referral and seeing her photo - we brushed over the fact that if she did not at all look like a "Makeda" we would change our decision. We'd never given any thought to whether our boys would "look" like a "Noah" or a "Tait", prior to (or just after) their births but for this time was different.
And, I always thought that after we transitioned from "Mihret" to "Makeda Mihret" to simply "Makeda", that would be it. She would simply be "Makeda"...plain and simple.
But it's not.
And she responds to all three of the above names.
And I love that.
And what I love more is when I hear one four year old boy call her by either of the two former (above) names or combination thereof, and she turns and smiles at him. It rolls off his tongue...it's second nature. "It's her name, Mama. It [Mihret] is her real name too." It's as if on some level he knows the deep, sacred importance of maintaining her birth name. It's as though he wants her never to forget. Neither does he want us to forget. As with their bond, it is of utmost importance to him. Because he knows it is of utmost importance to her. Somehow - purely, simply, intricately, he knows. And, it is soft and sweet and gentle when he says it.
It carries innocence.
And while we may fail at times, to maintain and honour as much of her culture and heritage and identity as we should (not for lack of effort), this is perhaps one of the simple yet deeply pervading ways in which we can.
We can honour her birth mother through maintaining use of her birth name. Not in replacement of her given first name but rather in conjunction. Just as her two worlds meet and she will always hold a part of both, so too will her names reflect this phenomena.
I love that Mihret turns when she's called. Either way. With the use of either name she responds.
I hope, I truly yearn, to honour her birth mother's greatest sacrifice if only in this small way...every. single. day.