He doesn’t know it yet, but our son’s new country is celebrating Independence Day today. In our family the 4th of July will also be a time to celebrate the new life our adopted children entered into this week. We had court today and received a wonderful ruling from the judge. There is now one less orphan and one more Heath, praise God.
I am happy to introduce you to our son
Roman Leonard Heath
We were torn on how to name him, we went through the same thoughts as when we considered Angelina’s name. You might think that it would be the same decision, if we decided to name one child one way, we’d use that same approach with a second child. Nope, every child is unique, every child’s background is different.
For example, Roman was not listed with his name, we knew him as Travis John on Reece’s Rainbow, though he never really seemed like a Travis. Timm and I were pretty settled on naming him Timm the III to follow that family tradition. If we didn’t use Timm III now, then we’d need to be okay with putting that name aside forever; there is no way we’d have an adopted son first and NOT give him his father’s name but then give a biological son the father’s name later on, nope that scenario didn’t set well with us. It was either now or never with Timm’s name.
So we were all set to change his name. We hadn’t known him by his legal name; in our minds we’d always thought of him as Timm III, and he is so young and doesn’t respond to his name being called so it wouldn’t be such an upheaval as compared to changing an older child’s name. It seemed pretty settled. Then I got an unexpected request. Through the strange network that connects adoptive families and advocates all over the world I received a facebook message, Roman’s godparents hoped to have a chance to say goodbye to him and, if it was alright with us, to meet us as well. Gulp. Suddenly this little boy who lives in his own world had a lot more background. He may not respond when you call his name, but people who love him know him by his name. Because he has godparents, we figured he was most likely baptized and that makes a difference for us as well.
Our first day here, that whirlwind crazy day, we were asked first thing what we wanted his name to be because the paperwork would start right away. Woah, we thought we’d have some time to think on that, maybe a few days to know him a little more, or at least get out of jet lag and think straight. During the car ride from the orphanage to the legal office where we would submit the paperwork for his name my husband and I held a hurried hushed conversation. By then we had been told directly that he was baptized as Roman. Now that we were keeping Roman as his fist name, what would be a good middle name. Timm suggested Leonard. Roman Leonard. Yes, that was right.
Only two days before flying out to adopt our children I’d learned something new about my husband, his paternal grandfather’s name was Leonard. It just so happens that my dad’s name is also Leonard and it was my grandpa’ middle name and my older brother’s middle name. So the name didn’t just come from nowhere, it had been floating around as a possible name. Roman Leonard. It seems like a bit of a weighty name, a name to grow into, which is the mark of a good name in my most humble opinion.
Oh, one more thing if all that was not enough, we also learned that his birth mom gave him the name Roman. As far as we know, she is still alive and gave him up due to his medical needs. If the day comes when Roman feels the need to return to his motherland and meet his biological mother, I want his name to be familiar to her. If she prays for him by name every day, I want him to have the name she knows. The name she gave to her first son is the name we give to our first son in respect for the decision she made to bear her child through pregnancy. She chose life and hope, she chose his name. It is a good name.