Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Story of Your Name.

This post is rather long. But for those of you who have been following our journey, you know that we have been calling our little girl Genevieve, for the last few months. Dave and I have had a change of heart, and believe we have come up with her true name. I wrote it to her as a story, to include in her lifebook, and I am posting that story here for you to read and understand our decision. Here goes...

My Dear Little Girl-

This is the story of your name.

When you were born in October 2004, we were told that a doctor at your Children’s Welfare Institute (CWI) named you Chen Jie. We have been told that it means White Star or Pure Star. You are certainly a star in our eyes and we fell in love with you the first time that we saw your picture. We think you are about 3 years old in that picture and you were wearing a pretty pink dress.

Even though you had a very nice name in China, it is tradition for parents to give their children their names, and so we thought and thought about what special name we could give you as your loving and forever parents.

We came up with two at first. One was Gabrielle and one was Genevieve. Gabrielle means “God is my strength” and we certainly saw strength in some of the pictures that we received of you from China. The other one was Genevieve, which means “woman of the people” and St. Genevieve is the patron saint of Paris, France, where your Baba proposed marriage to me. We even called you Genevieve for several months as we prepared all of the paperwork for the United States and China, to bring you home to us.

As much as we liked the name Genevieve, for some reason, it wasn’t feeling like a perfect fit. Because you are a member of our forever family, we have naming rituals in our family that we wanted you to be a part of, but we also wanted to acknowledge and respect the elements of your Chinese heritage. Genevieve was not fitting in with all of those aspects.

We decided to name you Jade-Rose Chenjie Konuch. We chose the name Jade because of its importance to China. We found several Chinese references to this beautiful stone. The Chinese love jade not only for its beauty, but also for its culture, meaning and humanity. The great Chinese philosopher, Confuscius, once said that there are 10 virtues (De) in Jade. He said that “the wise have likened jade to virtue.”

Its polish and brilliancy represent the whole of purity.

Its perfect compactness and extreme hardness represent the sureness of intelligence.

Its angles, which do not cut, although they seem sharp, represent justice.

The pure and prolonged sound, which it gives forth when one strikes it, represents music.

Its color represents loyalty.

Its interior flaws, always showing themselves through the transparency, call to mind sincerity.

Its iridescent brightness represents heaven.

Its admirable substance, born of mountain and of water, represents the earth.

Used alone without ornamentation it represents chastity.

The price that the entire world attaches to it represents the truth.

Thus jade is very special in Chinese culture, so much so, that they have an expression that goes: "Gold has a value; jade is invaluable."

You are certainly invaluable and special to us, and we wanted you to have a name that reflected how special you are to us and as a gift from China. Your Baba and I have made a tradition to include a family name within our children’s names. For Nathaniel it is August after Baba and Baba’s grandfather. For Alexander it is George after Mama’s grandfather, and for you it is Rose after your grandmother and Mama’s grandmother.

We also have a tradition that the first names of the children have 9 lucky characters in them. Both Nathaniel and Alexander have 9 letters. Because Jade and Rose equals 8, we have included the hyphen to not only continue the family tradition of the 9 characters, but to literally represent a “bridge” between the two cultures of which you are now a part. The hyphen is the bridge between China and America that represents you and us, your forever family.

And so, my dear little girl, this is the story of your name. We hope you come to realize how much thought we put into this perfect name for you. For you to see how important you are to China and America, how special and invaluable you are to your family, and we wish all the blessings that the world has to offer to you in your new life.

With love,


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