Wednesday, 15 October 2014

A Rose By Any Other Name...

"What would my name be if I was really yours?"

This was the question KC gave me just before he got into bed last night.

I was suddenly stumped - why do kids always ask these things at bedtime? Do they really want an answer? Is it something that has been troubling them all day? Or do they simply not want to go to bed?

My guess was that this was something thay had been on his mind for a while and he was waiting for the right time.

I sat on the end of the bed - preparing for a long discussion.

"Well, the first thing to get out of the way," I began, "Is that you are 'really' ours - you're not going anywhere, this is your family and we love you very much. Okay?"

"Okay" he replied, "I know all that but if you had me as a baby then what would you have called me - what is your favourite name?"

"I think KC suits you," I said, "It's the name your birth mum chose and it suits you - she didn't get everything wrong, she got some things right. Like you and TJ. She got both of you right."

I wasn't sure if I was making sense to him.

"Yes," he said, "I know that but what would you have called me if you first saw me as a baby in a hospital?" (Hospitals are where babies come from, apparently.)

"I really like KC," I said.

"No you don't," he replied, "It's not the sort of name our family has."

That was incredibly astute of him. Our family is full of Joseph's and Freddie's, Marcus's and Rachel's. Good old fashioned traditional names, whereas he and TJ have more 'modern' names - thank goodness they didn't ask about their original middle names which sounded as if they had come straight out of an edition of Heat Magazine. I try not to be a name snob but I do think that a name that suits a celebrity's child who attends a public school in Harrow is not going to sound quite the same when yelled across the playground at the local junior school. But that's probably just me.

Interestingly when the children were baptised and chose their own new middle names, they both picked more traditional ones.

I told KC that he could use his middle name if he liked, after all he chose it.

"I don't want to," he said, "I just want to know what you and Papa would have called me if I had been born to you."

I gave in, "Alright," I said, "When we were thinking about names, before we even knew about you, we had always said that we liked Ben for a boy and Beatrice (after my grandmother not Prince Andrew's eldest) for a girl. Interestingly, I later found out that my Gran hated her name, which is why she always shortened it to Bea - so KC is not alone in his dislike of his given name - but his reasoning is probably different.

"You can change me name to Ben if you like," he said, "I don't mind."

My heart went out to him. Was his sense of self so low that he was willing to change his name just to please us?

I cuddled him, "Look," I said softly, "There's a very famous play called Romeo and Juliet and in that play Juliet asks if she should stop loving Romeo just because of his name and she says, '... a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet' (I'm sure I paraphrased a little) and that means that no matter what we call a rose - we could call it a 'widgy' or a 'smellybum' - it would still smell the same and still be as beautiful. So it doesn't matter what your name is - you are still beautiful and still lovely and still very, very smelly!"

That got a laugh out of him.

I tucked him in.

'So," I said, "You will always be KC and we will always love you. Now go to sleep."

He sat up again. I braced myself.

'Daddy," he said.

"Yes," I held my breath.

"Is there a heaven?"

My guess was this was the sort of bedtime question designed to prevent lights out...

I looked at him. "If you don't go straight to sleep," I said, "You'll soon find out."

I don't think he got it - but he went to sleep anyway - whilst I poured a drink!

Adoption is hard work!!!!


  1. Thanks Brian - but I think we are all just making it up as we go along. I must admit, I was pretty pleased that I could remember the R and J line at that time. I don't know wheree it came from!

  2. Love your explanation about birth mum. Funnily enough, Missy's second name is most probably what I would have chosen if I'd given birth to a girl.

  3. Thanks Sezz... To be honest I never minded our oldest' name... It suits him. Now the youngest... That took some getting used to. 😉

  4. Oh my goodness I love this! Equal parts giggle and enlightenment. Thank you for sharing it with us!

    1. You're very welcome Erin - I hope you enjoy our adoption journey. :>

  5. Very touching. My son Jamie started calling himself James with new teachers etc in his early teens, which I found alarming to start with. (No offence intended, I know you're a James too!). Probably most of us do a bit of reinventing ourselves at some time or other but I did wonder whether really he was trying to iron away his past. I now think (hope) it's him simply wanting a more grown up name, but I'm not sure I'll ever know for sure.

    1. Yes, that's very true - it could be that he wants to try something new - although he did comment last night that his BM couldn't even spell his name properly (he found some old school books before we offically adopted him and correctly spelt his name) At the time we worried that we were doing the wrong thing by changing the spelling of his name - but he seemed okay with it. Now he wants us to call him Tin Tin... I also think that he has now reached an age to start understanding that BM is not as 'blameless' as his life story book would have him beleive. If that makes sense...
      Thats another blog post in itself!

    2. Tin Tin! ha! Your boy's an original by the sounds of it... And yes, that all makes sense, and I'm sure yours is the right interpretation. Their name's one of the only things their birthmum will have given them (cliche but true) so I guess it's inevitable that it holds a tonne of significance for them.... and changing the spelling doesn't change the name I'm sure...

  6. You did a wonderful job of answering that question, especially using the rose to explain. It is hard however to sometimes work out which bedtime questions to answer. We used to get "I miss my birth mum" (using her name not birth mum) as you went to turn the lights out. Soon learnt that was a clever stalling technique.

    Thanks for sharing on #WASO

    1. Thanks Sarah - yes, we are trying to work out which one's are 'stalling techniques'... loving WASO - its great to see other people's blogs and share stories... its almost therapy!