You may have noticed that we left to get Filemon and Merkeb and came home with Joshua and Jameson. I want to reassure you that this was completely their decision. We told them the names we had chosen for them as their middle names while we were in Ethiopia.
Joshua because it means God rescues, and Jameson because it means born of James, and our adoption journey was born of James 1:27. Shimellis had told us prior to our trip to give them the choice of keeping their Ethiopian names versus taking on an American name. I was very surprised at his opinion that taking on an American name would help the children in the long run, as kids can be cruel and relationships can be strained if you can't pronounce names. It wasn't the open, culturally aware idea I had in mind.
Anyway, while in Ethiopia, they both said they wanted their new American names. They even practiced writing them. We kind of let that one slide as everything was so new and awkward. When we got home, we were playing at the gym one day, and Filemon (Joshua) told all of us in no uncertain terms, "I want to be called Joshua."
When we asked Merkeb (Jameson), she said she wanted to be called Jameson. And that's the story of that. We didn't make them do it, didn't even expect them to do it. I will admit, it's weird and a little difficult. I can't imagine changing my name...I actually feel kind of bad about it, like I've taken away their identity. If they change their minds later, they can be called anything they want. I know it seems strange, but I've heard from friends whose kids did the same thing, it gets easier and you get used to it!