Monday, October 22, 2012

Our Meili Joy{s}

We decided on a name for our daughter and it is Meili Joy. It is pronounced  like "May-Lee" Joy.

Here is the backstory:

{Info on Naming Children from Orphanage File}
Several months ago, around April, I became eager to decide on a name for our daughter. Naming a child who is already born, is sort of an odd thing. Most of the time, the name that a child has in an orphanage, especially in the Asian country we are adopting from, has nothing to do with anything personal. Sometimes, it does; but not often. Usually, it is a street name or a common last name for all children. So, there is possibly an original name given by birth parents, then a name given by the orphanage and possible a name given by an orphanage or agency on a file as an alias. For instance, we follow several sites on Facebook that have children's photos and names like "Louise" or "Oliver" or "Cheryl", etc. These are just their public names. They also have an Asian name on paper. So, we realize that most likely our daughter's name on paper, will have no significance. If we find out that there is some type of significance, we plan to maintain some of that identity! 

{Picking our Name}
With that said, as I was praying over names, I realized that somehow my original ideas of names didn't seem to be fitting. I had always love Bella Grace because it means Beautiful Grace, and well, really, do I need to explain that any further? But, it wasn't settling in my heart this time. As I was praying and pondering her name, I googled "Bella Grace in C*&*se" and one translation came up "Mei Li". Suddenly, I wrote down "Meili Joy". We felt that Mei Li would give her some identity to her birth country, and if she ever wants to pull her name a part into two words, she could also do that. Joy is my sister's name, too and special to us. And it's a cute American sounding name (I had no idea it was becoming popular). I talked to Travis about it and he loved it. That is a huge deal because we have never agreed on names right away. But, then again, I might have pulled the "I think God gave me a little nudge toward this name". Maybe after the entire Isaiah passage for Justus, he didn't want to get a theology lesson on my time in the Word picking names. Either way, we were excited to be on the same page.

{Sharing the News}
I called my sister to ask for her blessing for us to use "Joy"; and explained we thought it'd be very special for her to have a family name. I also called Abby, my BFF, that I plan to write about later this week, and asked her to be Meili Joy's godmother. We don't even do godmothers; but I feel that Meili Joy will 
need one and I know the perfect godmother for her! 

We still didn't want to announce it for some reason. And I was still wanting to be sure that when we saw her, the name would still be perfect for her. But, in a very small circle, and between the two of us, we started to share the name and refer to her as "Meili Joy". Here is where our story gets a bit crazy. 

So, two months later, I was on the Facebook page of an organization that cares for mild special needs children. I used to scroll the pages all the time. And as I was scrolling through and praying for the sweet faces with their ful American names next to them: "Herschel", "Oliver", "Louise", "Cheryl", etc. there was suddenly a six month old little girl, with the name "MeiLi Joy" staring at me. I almost dropped my laptop. 

Travis and I were in shock. Of course, we thought it had to be our daughter. 

{Meili Joy and MeiLi Joy}
Yes, we contacted the organization. Yes, we contacted our agency who has been more than helpful and understanding. Yes, we prayed. We tried to figure out how to request her file, not possible. We realized we had no idea what her diagnosis was and we did not care. We started sponsoring her monthly. We started lighting two candles every Saturday in our commitment prayer time as a reflection of support and love. We did everything we could to try to find her. I google mapped the city where she was supposedly living. I prayed that our agency would begin a partnership with her foster care city, etc. Time after time, it seemed like a dead end. And yet, we still keep asking in case her file shows up in the right place. Our agency has been very kind in understanding. Month after month we get a very small update on her from her foster care family since we sponsor her. But, at this time, we have been told that this "MeiLi Joy" on Facebook is not the "Meili Joy" who will be our daughter. 

And for legal reasons, I'm going to refrain from explaining the details on here about files and requesting them. Everyone has been extremely professional and maintained all types of appropriate and legal process in this case. We do not want to do anything to disrupt the system and are in full respect of the process to protect children from being trafficked and exploited and all the other reasons for strict country rules and the Hague. So, we have been sure to respect our agency and the organization on what we can and can't ask for.

 So, what does it mean? We have no idea. We are trusting God. Can we say we were able to guard our hearts and not fall in love with the little MJ that showed up with "our" daughter's name? Nope. 

We are head over heels for her. Can I tell you that we really have days where we think she is our daughter? We honestly in our gut hope so. But, we really try not to go there because we know that would just kill us; and we understand that everyone has told us "no". And this is not the kind of thing you mess with. (Read: We do not want to tick off the wrong people.)

We have talked crazy, too; and called our agency to tell them that we will be willing to accept two referrals, if one of them is her file, and all that jazz. But, for now, we are praying for our daughter, Meili Joy, and our sponsor child, MeiLi Joy. 

And if by God's grace they are one and the same, we will rejoice. 

And if they are not, then it is our immense privilege to love this "MeiLi Joy" during this season of her life until she is with her forever family.


  1. Amazing! Love how God has an eye for details :) All of our bio kids are named after grandparents - but their names are all happen to be president or first lady names as well. So, imagine our surprise when we saw our son...with the name Georgebush!

  2. Very well put friend! Love that you've shared your story here and can't wait to see how God chooses to bless MeiLi Joy and Meili Joy! Angie

  3. I too love all the MeiLi Joys and can't wait to welcome 'them' to our forever family!