Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What's in a name?

Lara Jane — that is what Jenny Clark named her baby girl, born on August 12, 1971 — after the lead female character in the movie Dr. Zhivago.

Elaine Laing, a mother of four boys, longed for a little girl that she had already named Sandra Joy. Actually her first three boys were destined for that name also, then baby number four was going to be Robyn Elizabeth, thinking Sandra Joy was a guarantee it would be another boy. Now Elaine eagerly anticipated the long-awaited arrival of her fifth child, a daughter.

I was adopted at 5 weeks old and named Sandra Joy Laing. My mother was Elaine Margaret (E.M.) Laing – nee Clarke. My birth-mother was Jenny Clark, and her mother was Elizabeth (E.M.) Clark. Both EM's are now affectionately known as "Nana."

So, what's the story behind your name? In Biblical times, names had very significant meanings and were a testimony of the parents' experience of God or it reflected/determined the person's character. Great if your name means “Laughter” (Isaac) ...

The name Sandra is derived from Alexander and means “helper of mankind.” I didn't discover this meaning until my early 20's, and it coincided with the discovery that my strongest God-given spiritual gift, at that time, was helping. I love to help people and I feel pretty special to be 'living out' my name.

My husband's name is Matthew, which means “Gift from God.” He was God's gift to me, that's for sure.

Here's the story of how we named our children, a story I believe was written long before it came to be.

I started a list of children's names that I liked back in high school! I kept and periodically updated the list, figuring I would one day share it with my husband and have him choose from it. My plan worked! Our family started through adoption, so we chose to adopt a boy and a girl together. Being that they were adopted from Guatemala, we decided to keep the four-part-name tradition, with our own family 'twist.' Their first names were picked from my list — a name we both liked. Their second name would be a name from our family heritage. Their third name was chosen from their birth name, and of course Peiffer for the surname or family name.

Our son was named Kaeden Maice Alexander Peiffer. Kaeden: (pron. Kay-din) I found it searching for unique boy's names. I couldn't find a meaning at the time but I really liked how it sounded. This name was unheard of until we brought him home. Since then I have discovered it was one of the most popular names in 2004 and 2005, and we have come across almost every spelling of the name among his peers in sports, church & school! There is even a Kaden Peifer, born in 2004, in the Harrisburg area! But there is only one Kaeden Peiffer. Maice: is the middle name of Matt's grandfather Russell Maice Smith, and great-grandfather, George Maice Smith. Alexander: from his birth name Walter Alexander Jiminez Muñoz.

Our daughter we named Tyya Jennelaine Susana Peiffer. Tyya: (pron. Tee-ya) I found this name in a children's book, Something Good written by Robert Munch. It is a favorite story of hers now, and what is amusing is that Tyya resembled the little girl illustrated in the story when she was little! Jennelaine: is a combination of my two mothers' names Jenny & Elaine, a celebration of my adoption and the legacy we are continuing. Susana: from her birth name Susana Morales Ramos. (Only three birth names (no middle name), as she was relinquished at birth and named by a lawyer, after the head of our adoption agency Sue Hedberg.)

I was surfing the internet today and was inspired to look for the meanings of the kid's names. It seems spelling is not too big of an issue (after all Kaeden is spelled at least 9 different ways!) I am pretty excited by my discovery ...

Kadin in Arabic means “Companion” or “Friend.” This is so fitting for Kaeden, as Tyya has called him 'buddy' for a couple years now! And we did choose him as a companion, a big brother, for his sister.

Tia in Greek & Egyptian means “Goddess, Godly, Princess.” One of our favorite nicknames for Tyya is “Princesita” (Little Princess in Spanish) We have reinforced the meaning of her name from day one.

What's behind your name?