Friday, October 10, 2014

High-Pressure Baby Naming

Three years ago, we shared the naming of our first child with her birth parents.  We chose "Katherine."  The name means virginal or pure.  Something to aspire to!  Also, it's a derivative  of Kathleen, which is my mom's name and Kelley's mother's, mother's name (Kelley never met her grandmother).  Kate's birth parents named her Ava.  We don't know their reason for choosing that name, but for Kate, Ava's meaning comes from the fact that her birth parents chose it for her.

We found out about Kate in late June and she was born August 10, so we had plenty of time to choose her name.

We found out about Karsten on Tuesday afternoon around 2:30.  She was born on Monday at 10:37 am.  She was to be discharged from the hospital on Wednesday morning.  We had to say yes or no to the adoption quickly so that if we declined, another adoptive family could be identified.

It just so happened that when I got an unknown call on Tuesday afternoon, I let it go to voice mail.  I was in Pinehurst, NC playing golf on a planned 3-day trip with my friend and former pastor/boss, Charles.  We were on hole 14 at Deercroft Golf Club.  We had paid for a rarely offered all-day rate and were on our second round.  Before the call, I was wondering how many holes we could play before dark.  A few minutes after ignoring the call, I listened to the voice mail.  I told Charles, "That was Bethany.  That was THE CALL.  I have to call Kelley."  I stayed calm, but true to his nature, Charles did not.

I called Kelley and asked, "Did you get an unknown call?"  She replied calmly, "Yes.  I'm in the doctor's office right now and I can't answer it.  There are two doctors in here checking Kate out and giving her a breathing treatment."  (Turns out that Kate has pneumonia from a respiratory illness she's had recently - another story in itself.)  I told Kelley, "That was Bethany.  That was THE CALL.  You need to call them back, see what they say, and then call me back."  Immediately, Kelley's voice got all high, chirpy, excited, stressed - sort of like mine when I think Georgia has a chance to win a big game.

If you're thinking that I was just playing golf so I should've called, you should know that Kelley has handled ALL of our adoption correspondence - calls, emails, rejections, confirmations, etc.  So I wanted her to get all the info first - just like with Kate.

Meanwhile, I kept playing my final 4 holes.  I'll just say that I wasn't quite concentrating, and the 41 I shot on the front was a lot better than whatever I shot on the back.

Kelley called back when I was on hole 17.  She gave me the details and said, "We have to decide NOW because the baby is being discharged in the morning.  AND YOU NEED TO COME HOME RIGHT NOW!"  I actually hit 3 shots while we were talking - a poor chip and two poor putts with one hand - double bogey.  And since 18 was on our ride back to the clubhouse and I knew nothing could be done tonight, and since I had a 3.5 hour drive home through Charlotte traffic, we went ahead and played 18.

Charles and I got back to the hotel about 4:30, showered, ate the free supper included in the cost of the room that we forfeited for the night, and I left at 5:45.  Made it home about 9:15.  And that's when Kelley said, "We need to give them a name tonight so they have it to discharge the baby in the morning.  If we don't decide till later, it'll be an ordeal."  I already suspected this, so on the way home, I was asking Siri for the meanings of various, possible names Kelley and I had discussed.  We'd been on the waiting list since February and we started a list of possible names back then - but hadn't really added much to it.  So while we did have something to work with, it was limited.  All we were FAIRLY certain of was that we wanted a name that starts with K.  We didn't want to be, "Kevin, Kelley, Kate, and Sophia."  But we're getting pretty limited with K names.  Kevin, Kelley, and Kate.  My brothers' names are Keith, Ken, and Kris.  My step-sister's name is Kim(berly).  Kelley's sister's name is Kristi.  Kelley's cousin has children named Christopher, Collins, and Campbell.  See what I'm saying?

Being a golfer, I was familiar with a word/name, Karsten.  I knew that word was stamped into some PING golf clubs, but didn't know the history.  When we started making our baby name list, I looked up the name.  Karsten Solheim founded the PING golf company - actually, Karsten Manufacturing.  He was born in Norway but grew up in America, and his name was from German.

Karsten is Greek and means "anointed one," just like "Christ" means "anointed one".  In Low German, Karsten means "Christian."

I was pretty set on Karsten when I learned its meaning - although I've never owned a PING golf club!  (That's likely to change, now.)  The name Karsten identifies me with Jesus Christ.  Karsten is what I am - a Christian.  Jesus is my Savior, my Lord, and my priority.  I will raise our children to know and love Jesus and give them the very best environment to do so.

I shared the name with Kelley and she liked it, but she also kept coming up with other options.  Even this past week, before we got THE CALL from Bethany, she sent me a text asking what I thought of the name "Dylan" for a girl.  I told her I liked it.

After I'd bee home long enough to unpack my truck, and without us even discussing options, Kelley said, "So we're naming her Karsten, right?"  I was happy, but I just said, "If that's what you want."  Inside I was talking to myself in that voice I described like when I think Georgia has a chance to win a big game.  But there was still the middle name.  The complete naming of this child was all up to us.  I threw out a couple of names from Kelley's family, but she took just a few seconds to say, "Karsten Rose.  Rose is my Mom's middle name."

So quickly coming up with a name was much easier than I thought.  Kelley emailed Bethany our name about 10pm.  On Wednesday, we went to the hospital, which just happened to be in our own city, at 10:30am.  We got our first glimpse of our new daughter.  The experience this second time was so much different.  It wasn't as painful.  Our first adoption was painful and joyful all mixed together.  That whole hospital experience was the hardest thing I've ever done.  This time was just joyful.

Karsten was released to Bethany because we hadn't signed any papers, yet.  We went to Bethany's office, signed all the papers, and left with our new daughter by 2pm.  Kelley's family was calling and texting, asking for pictures and a name, but Kelley told them they'd have to wait.  Gena (Kelley's mom) was at our house, waiting.  Kelley planned it to happen like this: we walked in with our new baby girl, put her down in front of Gena, and said, "This is Karsten Rose."  Gena put her hands to her chest, and in her own high, chirpy voice said, "MY name???" and started crying.  It was just like Kelley wanted it to be - perfect.

So Karsten means Christian, and Rose is after Kelley's mom.  We think that's quite an inspiring name for this little girl.