While pregnant with baby number two, I looked long and hard for her name. I found many beautiful possibilities, but when I presented them to Steve he pooped all over them. We have very different tastes in names and argh, it was frustrating! Towards the end of the pregnancy I thought we had found one we agreed on, but after she was born, Steve decided against it. So, we were stuck. There was a cute little dark-haired baby with squinty eyes, waiting to be named. People started coming to visit, asking what her name was. We were starting to feel the pressure, so we chose a name. It was a compromise for both of us, and neither of us really loved it, but we felt it was the only one we could agree on. Thus, Jolie Grace Brown was named and made herself at home in our hearts.
At first the name felt strange to say, since I had my heart set on something else, but I thought I would get used to it. Months passed, and it still never felt quite right. I remember confiding in a friend, when Jolie was about eight weeks old, that I didn’t really love her name, and I felt so guilty about it. I adored her big sister’s name and felt as though I had cheated our new baby.Â
I assumed that the feeling would pass, but it never did. Add to that the fact that 90% of people mispronounced it, and I was growing less happy with it by the day. I spoke with Steve about it a few months ago and told him that I really didn’t like the name, to which he replied, “Well, I’m not all that crazy about it either.”
“THEN WHY DID WE CHOOSE THIS?” I wailed.
At that time we didn’t have a different name in mind that could replace her current one, so we just left it at that. Then a few weeks ago I stumbled upon a name. Not just a name, but A Name. As soon as I saw it, it leapt into my heart and hasn’t let go. I loved it, and told Steve about it. He liked it too (although not as fiercely as I) and advised we just sit on it for a while and let time be the judge, not wanting to rush into anything.
Since then, I have grown more frustrated and disappointed with “Jolie” and more pleased and excited about the new name. I shared these feelings with Steve (pretty much every day, much to his annoyance) and he finally agreed that yes, we can change her name.
So, I’d like you to meet Karenna Jolie Brown.
I know you might think we’re crazy for doing this, but hear me out. She’s still young enough to only be mildy scarred by a late name change, and I figure that if kids from foreign countries who are adopted at 18 months can go from being called a name in their mother tongue to something totally different, then our girl will be just fine.
To transition, we’ll probably call her by both names (Karenna Jolie) for a while, and if later we (or she) decide to go back to her original name, she’ll be able to legally use her middle name without any further paperwork required.
For many of you this is probably coming out of left field, but those who know me in real life know how bothered I had become by her old name. I know this is drastic and a little nutso, but I figure there’s no point being dissatisfied with her name for the rest of our lives if we don’t have to.
*Updated to add: Karenna is pronounced Ka-RENN-a, with a soft “e” sound, not Ka-REEN-a, for those who were wondering.