Angelina Lark Heath
Typically in this country children are not listed with their legal names on Reece’s Rainbow. All along we’ve wondered what Angelina’s name actually was. Angelina is the name we’ve known her by for so long now. It is the name her sisters pray for every day.
We thought long and hard about names for our children.
Some families change the name of their adopted children right away. If the kids are older, some parents give the child a list of names they can choose from. Some parents keep the child’s name but move it to their middle name. Some parents keep the first name and give a new middle name.
Sometimes the name is too hard to pronounce in English. Sometimes the parents want the child to have a new start complete with new name. Sometimes a child is abandoned and a staff at the hospital or social worker assign a name to them.
We considered every single one of those options. We thought about giving her a family name from our family tree as another way to root her in the family. We thought about variations of Angelina such as Evangeline or Evangelina. If her name had not been Angelina, we had thought about changing it to Angelina because that is how we have always known her.
In the end, when we learned that her mother had given her the name Angelina and that she was most likely baptized with this name, we knew we would what to do. As Lutherans, baptism is a sacrament, your name is written on the book of life. Could we baptize her with a new name, especially considering we do not yet have the actual baptismal records, perhaps. Would God recognize his baptized child if we changed her name, yes, because the blood of Jesus is not so easily wiped away. But after so much loss and upheaval, we wanted Angelina to have one constant; your name is a fairly fundamental part of who you are.
As she grows up and wonders about her past and imagines her other possible life that involves a different family with a different mom and a different dad, she might doubt if her mom really loved her. We don’t know much about her biological mother, but we know she gave Angelina a beautiful name. Angelina was her mother’s angel whom she could not keep. Angelina was given a lovely name by a loving mother.
Her middle name, Lark, came to me while I was doodling my way through a mandatory adoption parenting class. Lark lark lark LARK lark- I scrawled it all over the page. I shared the idea with Timm and he immediately liked the ring. She is happy as a lark, free as a bird. This was why Timm suggested the bird theme for her room.
Court is over, the judge ruled in favor. I am happy to introduce you to our daughter. She is our bright, joyful child. She is our happy bird. She is our Angelina Lark.