Sunday, July 13, 2008

what's in a name?

By now you've probably noticed the discrepancy with our d2b's name. At first I was referring to her as Anastasia but now as Sofia. Let me explain . . .

We were told her name right away when we got the referral, and that's what we called her before we met her. Of course, we were pronouncing it the way Swedish-speaking people would say it, which is not the same way as North Americans would say it. About 5 days before we went to St. Pete, I met with a Russian-speaking friend (from Estonia) of mine so that she could help me with a photo album I had put together for our d2b. Tanja went through the album and wrote descriptions for each picture in Russian so the caregivers in the orphanage would be able to read it to Anastasia after we had left it there. I noticed that Tanja did not pronounce "Anastasia" like I did, but she didn't say anything to me about the way I was saying it. However, she said that all girls named Anastasia are actually called "Nastia" (imagine the first "a" is a "u" and it will sound more like it's supposed to . . .). Hmmm.

Fast forward to the orphanage - our meeting with a bunch of staff before we meet Anastasia for the first time. At one point during the meeting, our translator corrected me on the name . . . I was saying Ah-nah-STAH-seeya, but it's supposed to be Ah-na-stah-SEE-ya. Hmmm. Well, once we finally meet her, we realize that, in fact, everyone calls her Nastia. So, that's what we started calling her, too.

The day after we got home, our coordinator phoned Stefan and asked about the trip. She also informed us that if we planned to change our d2b's name, we needed to let her know soon, because the paperwork needed to be done before we went to court. We had actually thought about it before, but were hesitant because of her age. The phone call reassured us that it was normal to change her name, and we had the right to do so. Besides wanting her to start her new life with a new name, we were also concerned about all the different pronunciations of "Anastasia" and the fact that her nickname didn't sound too good in English. Well, then the thinking and long discussions started.

I had always thought it would be easier to name a girl than a boy. I always had a long list of girl names I liked when our sons were born . . . But this turned out to be more difficult than either of us thought. First, we had to find a name that both of us liked. I lean towards the modern, North American names and Stefan tends to like more traditional names better. We also had to consider how it would sound together with our last name - Heidi Holm didn't cut it . . . Then we had to think about the different ways the name would be pronounced depending on whether we were here with family or in Canada with family - in other words we didn't want to have the same scenario as when we named Mattias and had to teach everyone how to say his name. The biggest consideration, though, was personality. I think when you name a newborn, they get the chance to grow into their name. But, when naming a 5 year old, you have to think about her personality and if the name really fits (we really hope it does!) Finally, we agreed on Sofia, which sounds the same in both languages (and only a little different emphasis in Russian). In the end, she will be named Sofia Anastasia Violet.

We don't know if she has heard that we plan to change her name. A few weeks ago, we sent a package to her at the orphanage and we wrote both names on the outside of it, but we don't know if the ladies who brought it to her said anything about the name. I have noticed, though, that our coordinator refers to her as Sofia in all our correspondance with her.

So, apparently, there's a lot in a name.


Ondrea said...

Thanks for leaving the comment on my blog.

So you are in St. Pete too? That's convenient from Finland! What baby home is Sofia in? We were in number 12, which is for three and under, but I just wondered if it was somewhere close.

Thanks for contacting me.

Moore PTO said...

I came back to see if there was any news on the adoption front. Just checking in. Hope all is well with your family!


The Holms

Denmark Road Trip

The outskirts of St. Pete

St. Petersburg

Saint Petersburg: Sankt-Peterburg, Russian pronunciation: is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea. The city's other names were Petrograd (1914–1924) and Leningrad (1924–1991). Founded by Tsar Peter I of Russia on 27 May, 1703, it was the capital of the Russian Empire for more than two hundred years (1713–1728, 1732–1918). Saint Petersburg is home to more than two hundred museums, many of them hosted in historic buildings. The largest of the museums is the Hermitage Museum, featuring interiors of the former imperial residence and a vast collection of art. Celebrating the 300th anniversary of its foundation, Saint Petersburg was selected as the main motif in a recent Finnish commemorative coin, the €10 Mannerheim and Saint Petersburg commemorative coin, minted in 2003. The reverse of the coin features a view of Saint Petersburg, with the Peter and Paul Fortress and its three turrets. In the coin the words "St. Petersburg 1703-2003" can be seen.