Friday, May 12, 2006

How Josh became a Josh

I was so excited when the 2nd issue of Wondertime Magazine showed up in my mail box yesterday. There's an article about teaching our children to remember more details about events so the past will be more real and meaningful. Part of the article is about telling family stories repeatedly, and using details. I went to bed wondering how many family stories we've lived during the short three years of marriage that would bear repetition. This morning, I saw the Social Security Administration came out with their latest list of popular baby names. Jacob is still number one. Joshua is number three. And I discovered one more story to tell - how Josh named himself. When we started fixing up our adoption paperwork to resubmit that weeked in mid-February (February 17th and 18th, to be exact), baby names were the last thing on our minds. We had to write a Dear Birthparent letter. We had to make phone calls. We had to get all scrapbook-y and create our family photo collage to go in our profile. We had real things to do. Immediate things. Important things. When the phone call came at 6:30 on a dark Sunday morning (February 19th) I barely heard the words. I heard them, but I didn't internalize them. I knew this baby was supposed to be ours, which is why I almost told the caseworker YES! before I even checked with Nathan. I didn't even hear her say the gender of the baby, so at the last minute before hanging up, I asked "wait - is it a girl?" No. It was a boy. A boy we knew really nothing about besides the fact that he was ours, he was three hours old, and he was an entire time zone away from his family. I woke up Nathan, we called the case worker back, and things started to get frantic. Find flights out! Find substitutes for church jobs! Pack! Organize paperwork we didn't think we'd need for at least several more weeks, if not months! Call family members and tell them we just became parents again! What? There are no flights out today? It was a holiday weekend, and we got the only flight out of town the next morning. Back to the paperwork. Verify finances. Call previous social worker for copy of homestudy. Frantic! Busy! Excited! Wait. Calm. Stop. This baby boy, I realized, needed a name. Jacob's name was "decided" on and finalized minutes after the ultrasound that verified he was a boy. I say 'verified' because I had known he was a boy since I was 5 weeks pregnant, even though Nathan couldn't imagine that I could absolutely know without an ultrasound. I say "decided" because I tried to change the name several times late in the pregnancy. Including minutes before the birth. Anyhow, this story is about Josh, and the fact that he was not yet Josh, but instead "the baby". I pulled up that Social Security list and decided that I would write down 10 names for Nathan to either yay or nay. Then we'd think about the list for a bit and decide on a name. Couldn't be that hard, could it? Our working list was, in no particular order: Ethan, Owen, Jonah, Caleb, and Luke. The doctor who had been in the delivery room to help Jacob immediately after his birth was "Dr. Jonah Something". I never remembered his last name, just that I wanted to change Jacob to Jonah, or at least to have a Jonah in the future. Nathan's top choices were Ethan and Owen. We decided that Baby Boy would be known as Owen Lucas. We went to church for just the first hour, and told people that he would be Owen. We told our families that he would be Owen. We went to bed, thankful for baby Owen. The next morning we got to the hospital in Utah about 10:30 am. It was Nathan, Jacob, our case worker from the agency, and myself. Our little family waited in the maternity waiting room while our case worker gathered the bracelets for Nathan and I to wear. The bracelets that matched the baby's and identified us as his parents. About 20 long minutes after we arrived at the hospital, we were permitted to see our new baby. Jacob wasn't allowed in the nursery, so Nathan had to stay with him in the waiting room while our case worker took me back through two sets of double doors. There he was, swaddled up in the white blanket with pink and blue trim, tons of wild hair. Sleeping. I picked him up and sat in the chair next to his bassinett, holding him, rocking him, talking to him. I went to call him by name and tell him that we loved him and it came out like this: "We love you, baby... Baby... Ummmm. Josh? Nope. That wasn't on the list. Wait. Just a second. We picked a name. I know we did. Let me try again." I looked into his closed, sleepy eyes and gave it another go. "Baby...Josh. No!" Again! It happened again! I could not remember the name we picked for this baby! So I figured I'd try another name on the list. After all, we'd liked five names - I'd remember one of them and it would work, right? But how weird that all I could think of was Josh. Before I became pregnant with Jacob, Nathan wanted twin boys - Jacob and Joshua. I always told him they were too close and it was a little too cute for me. Nope. We couldn't pick Joshua. Come on, Julie - think! There were four other names on that list. Just think of one. Look at that baby and think of those names. Joshua. Joshua. Josh. Joshua Lucas. A few minutes later Nathan came back into the room. "We have to talk about his name." "Owen?" "Oooohhh...OWEN. That's right. Well, it was right. But it's not right anymore. His name should be Josh. Joshua Lucas." Nathan was thrilled. He always wanted that Jake/Josh combo. Now he's got it.


At 5/12/2006 07:45:00 PM, Blogger Bek said...

Awwwwww, that is a GREAT story. I love the advice to keep telling kids their stories (and not just the adoption ones...)

Our Jacob was Isaac Carter for a few days before we changed it. Jacob wasn't even on our list..funny, huh?

Have you guys bought a house yet? Are you looking for a neighborhood? My friend from Utah came out to visit this week and she lives in a new-ish neighborhood with tons of young kids and 4 families that moved there from here. She said it reminded her of her ward in CA......just in case you need a place to start looking...

Love the story. Love that little Josh.

At 5/12/2006 08:44:00 PM, Blogger Awesome Mom said...

That is a wonderful story!! I always knew that my firstborn son would be named Evan after my grandfather. I told my husband that long before we got married so that he could get used to the idea lol

At 5/14/2006 12:16:00 AM, Blogger Steven Oakford said...

You are a freak. This isn't a surprise. It's genetic. Mom still denies the about how she changed my name after her and Dad agreed on David. Then she shoots Dad one of those looks that can kill. The look also says "Why did you have to tell the kids that story, it makes me look like the bad guy?" I could be reading into it a little far but it's one of the same looks that Dad gets when I bring up the fact that I wasn't breast fed because you would get jealous, we wouldn't want that would we? By the way, it was also denied that I wasn't breast fed.

I really hate my name. I think that Steve and Steven looks stupid when I sign it. I sign St and leave it at that. I hate being called Steven but hate people writing it down as Steve. I'm really thinking about starting to call myself Dave maybe even changing it legal-like. To practice I may have Dave weeks and Steve weeks. Hell, I might even find something completely new to call myself. Trout is a cool name. Zorro is a cool name.

Happy Mothers Day. I love you even though your jealousy stole my breast milk.


At 5/15/2006 05:34:00 AM, Blogger smartmama said...

what a great story i love adoption stories (we had our paperwork in when i finally had smart baby) and baby naming astories- i can't pick until they are about 2 days old--

At 5/17/2006 09:42:00 PM, Blogger Thoroughly Mormon Millie said...

Ah, baby names. We had the hardest time with our last two - the first three were picked out well in advance (one before he was even conceived).

You have beautiful children! What a sweet family.


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