How to Use This Blog

A Wayfarer is a person who is traveling, a particular place, a circumstance, a stage of life, etc. Let's walk the road of adoption together. The journey is so much better with company!
Much of this information is useful for any adoption, but this blog is designed to be a
I hope this blog will be helpful to you in your adoption whether you are considering, waiting or home. I started this blog when we were adopting and found there was next to nothing on the web in any orderly manner. I set about to collect information for myself and then for others. Now, there are more sites for resources, but still not much that brings it all together. I hope this blog will serve as a sort of clearing house for Ethiopian Adoption Information. Please feel free to contribute your knowledge through commenting.
You can search by topic in three ways. 1. Go to the "key word" tabs on top and open pages of links in those topics. 2. Use the "labels list" in the side bar or 3. use the "search bar" above the labels list. You can also browse the blog by month and year in the Posts section or in any of the above as well. The sidebar links are to sites outside of this blog. While I feel they provide good information, I can not vouch for each site with an approval rating. Use your own discernment for each. If you have more to add to the topic, please add it in the comment section of that page or post.
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The solid tabs are links to my other blogs for books and family. Check them out if you are interested.
Welcome to the journey!

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Names. What is in a name and what to do about it. Common questions for adoptive parents.

What does your child's Ethiopian name mean?
Here are some sites to help you determine the meaning of your child's name. Try Ethiopian, Amharic, Eritrean names when you have the option to search.
Some are under construction, but should be back up soon, so check it again if it does not work now.
Best sites:

Other sites:
Here you can purchase your name meaning and translation and written for you:

How did my child get his or her name?
  1. First name is the name given by a parent or significant caregiver.This name usually has significance. A child is named for a blessing, hope or promise, a character trait they hope the child will have or a saint or holy name. Example: Muluken means good day. A translation from an Ethiopian man I met says that this name has a deeper meaning. It means, "the day I got all I ever wanted or dreamed of". This is a name for a boy, a father counting his blessings on the day his son is born. What a great name! 
  2. Second name is the name of the child's father. This keeps track of who they belong to, their line of heritage. 
  3. Most kids will also have a third name which will be their grandfather on their father's side name. In some places they will add more in order to trace the family line. In adoption papers rarely is the third or fourth or beyond name mentioned or recorded. An older child may or may not be aware of those names. 
  4. Your child's name gives him or her roots. This is very important. 
Site and blog that do a good job explaining names and naming:

What about nick names?
 A child may or may not know his or her full name. Nick names are common.
  1. You will often find a shortened version of the name. For example: Nateneal or Natan is usually Nati. Muluken is Mulu. Freiwhat is Frei. Abigel is Abi.
  2. A child may also be called the name for little sister, youngest brother, sweet tiny one, my son, or another such enearing name. The child may actually believe that is their name. 
  3. In English we often add an y on the end of a name for a term of endearment. This is also the case in Ethiopia. It is a bit different but is similar in concept. Yay or y/e/i  is often added to the end of a name. Example: Kedus would be Keduse. Nateneal is Nati. So the name can be shortened and add the fondness syllable or just have it added to the end of the full name.
Changing a name? Good or Bad?
  • This is a very personal decision. One that deserves a great deal of thought and sensitivity. 
  • If your child is an infant he or she could likely more easily adapt to a new name. 
  • An infant found may have a name given to them by police instead of relatives. 
  • If your child is older they are likely attached to their name, but may express a desire to have a name from you, an American name or a name that represents their new life. Some kids don't. 
  • Your child has lost everything except their name. I will strongly suggest that you keep it as part of their name, first or middle.  A name is usually very important. 
  • A name may have an unacceptable connotation or nick name when heard in English. This is sensitive as we do not want to take the name and also do not want to see the child have issues because of it.  Example: Nati is heard like naughty. This is not really a great connotation. The nick name is easily adjusted to Nate. Name kept. Others are not so easy. 
  • There are many factors, your own personal comfort level being one of them. Are you proud of your child's heritage?  
  • Fitting in is very superficial when it comes to names. Kids learn each others name by hearing. Teachers are quick learners. A name that goes with the family is something, but not everything.  Feeling like part of the family may start with the name but it certainly does not stem from the name. Feeling like part of the family is really deeper than a first name. The name could help. Maybe.
  • Despite the articles and fears of having a different sounding name, some of the most successful people in our day and age have unique names. Think of the current president, sports stars, actors and actresses, musicians, tech wizards, etc. No longer are Jane or John the standard. Even names that are common are spelled or altered in ways that keep you guessing. Khrystyne, Britni, Sofi, Davin, Zakari. Even some of the old standards are so unique they seem new. Linleigh (boy), Hattie, Dagney, Bracken, Theoran, Hildy. We have a number of immigrants who give their kids great names of their heritage. Krish, Anu, Zorah, Mishka, (Y)Jana, Marisha, Niklas, Zari. Not to mention all the names parents make up to be unique. There is no such thing as a truly American name. It is the melting pot after all. So, throw in a Mulu and a Frei. So, I guess I am not buying the "a funny name will put them back in their career" idea. Sure, maybe in the past, maybe to some degree now (certainly waning a great deal), but in the future, no, I don't think so. I mean really, our president is Barack Obama. How different is that from Kedus Khaliqi?

So, go with what you feel you need to do, with what your child needs regarding his or her name. Think carefully, weigh all the options. Make your choice and be sure of it.

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The content on The Wayfarer:Ethiopian Adoption Resource Blog is for informational purposes only. We are adoptive parents, but we are not professionals. The opinions and suggestions expressed here are not intended to replace professional evaluation or therapy, or to supersede your agency. We assume no responsibility in the decisions that families make for their children and families. There are many links on this blog. We believe these other sites have valuable information, but we do not necessarily share all of the opinions or positions represented by each site, nor have we fully researched every aspect of each link. Please keep this in mind when visiting the links from this page.
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A Links Disclaimer

I post a lot of links. I do so because I feel that the particular page has good information and much to offer. I do not necessarily support all that each site has to say or promote. I trust you to sift the links for information you feel is worthwhile to you. Each person's story and situation are unique and different things will be useful or not useful to each one in different ways. Please use your own discretion when accessing links and information.