Our Adoption Story, Part Four: A Baby By Any Other Name

We faced one ginormous problem after meeting our son, and that was the fact he did not have a name. We had nothing picked out. I mean, obviously we had been desperately trying to adopt so you might think we would have something as basic as A NAME ready to go. Somehow, and for reasons I can still not explain, we did not. 

Well, we had our girl name ready I guess, but that was pretty useless to us in this situation. See, we had picked out a boy name for the adoption that fell through back in May 2015. And we didn’t want to recycle that name like a pop can because everyone deserves a name picked out just for them. Honestly, the story of how someone gets their name should not be because it was originally picked out for someone else and it didn’t work out, am I right? A name should be special. A lot of thought should go into the perfect name. So, the hubs and I got down to business and started brainstorming as soon as we got to the hospital room. We looked at our perfect Sasquatch baby and asked him what he thought sounded best. We made lengthy lists that included veto power from both of us. We looked up meaningful names on our phones, standing on the window ledge (inside, duh) and angling the phone north, the only way one could receive cell service. We categorized our findings into the following: strong possibility, worth revisiting, and vetoed. 

What we wished we were doing was gazing adoringly at our new baby without distraction, calling him by the name we already had chosen just for him. (Yeah well, if wishes were fishes we would all live in the sea.) We had given this baby our hearts, but we couldn’t give him a stinking name. The name card on his bassinet read “Baby Boy Doe” and mocked me whenever I caught a glimpse of that impersonal and generic moniker. 

The next day around noon, we had narrowed our list down to 4 names: Asher, Elliot, Campbell, and Evan. Owen was also a favorite but I decided it was just too popular. I didn’t want my kid growing up with an initial after his name like I did. We were under the gun on time because my parents were bringing Ezra (may as well just use his full name!) to the hospital to visit his baby brother that afternoon. Baby brother needed a name we felt, by the time Ezra arrived. We wanted their first meeting to be special and heartwarming.  This baby needed a name that Ezra could start to get used to…he already had to get used to the idea that he was no longer an only! 

Scant moments before their arrival, one of the nurses who helped deliver our boy stopped by. Seeing how he was still nameless, she asked if we would like to hear what name popped into her head when he was born. Of course we said yes, we were so curious. Imagine our surprise when she said, “Elliot.” That settled it! She hadn’t even known the names on our list! It was destiny! I loved the name Elliot…the Hubs waffled a bit on it because of the many ways it could be spelled and because he thought a nickname could be “Ellie.” However, after the nurse’s input, he said we should do it. 

So we did! We wrote “Elliot Jackson” on the hospital whiteboard and patted ourselves on the back for the momentous victory that was eventually naming our baby. Then fate entered in the form of a three year old. 

The night before: During a quick phone call to tell Ezra good night and to tell him some details about the new baby, he asked what baby’s name was. I told him we were considering a few and told him what they were. When I got to “Campbell” he perked up and said “Ooh, good one!” What I should have heard was, “Okay, that will be the baby’s name because it’s my favorite.”

The arrival: Ezra entered the room and the Hubs picked him up to show him his new baby brother. “Meet your little brother, Elliot!” I said enthusiastically, expecting Ezra to respond in kind. 

Ezra turned to me and gazed into my eyes in a way that seemed very familiar. “His name is Campbell, mama,” he declared definitively, sticking his little jaw out. He continued to stare, daring me to contradict him. I stared helplessly at John. John gaped back at me. 

“Well,” I thought aloud, “Campbell is a great name!” How had this tiny child retained that from our conversation? Did I even say Campbell on the phone? Was this real life? 

So maybe it sounds like we were bullied by our toddler, but I couldn’t think of a more beautiful way for these two boys to begin life together than to have our oldest name our youngest. I nodded at John, and he headed for the white board to erase Elliot and replace it with Campbell. Beautiful. 

If you Google the meaning of the name Campbell, you will find that it is Scottish in origin and means crooked mouth. Lame. If you were to ask me personally, I would tell you the meaning of the name Campbell is…named by my big brother. 


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