Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Anjali is legally Lauren Anjali

Not to discourage any of you PAPs out there, but guess what….even when you get your child home there is STILL more paperwork! If you are a JOH family, never fear, they send you a packet of information once you get home and they guide you through those steps, I’m sure other agencies do the same.

Today, we went to court in our county to file for a Petition of Name Change. This is just one of many processes you have to go through in our state, probably yours too. (Next once we get her citizenship certificate, we have to get her US birth certificate, social secuirty card, and file with insurance her new name, etc).... But for today, this court appearance was easy….. very easy! We didn’t even use an attorney. We just waited our turn and then when the judge called us up, she read our petition (the form we filled out when we asked for the court date) and then asked a few questions and then Brad was sworn in to answer a few further questions under oath….and that was it…. Anjali officially and legally became “Lauren” – Anjali Blunt. She now has a first and middle name!

On the name change, so many people ask…. Are you changing her name, what does your agency think about this??? Why are you changing her name from such a beautiful name like Anjali?

So I thought I’d share the story for anyone new to this blog. You can also check out a post from the past (April 2011 - What's in a Name post) that talks about this topic….although doesn’t give all these details. :)

So when we received our referral and we were told her name was Anjali, we instantly liked the name. Names in India always have a meaning, unlike here in the U.S. In the U.S. a name may have a meaning, but we don’t put as much “stock” in a person’s name and any meaning behind it, if there is any. We looked up the meaning of Anjali….. it means, “an offering or a gift”. While this may be a beautiful idea, we truly believe she is a gift to us that has blessed our lives; however, as an orphan child, she may not want to be thought of as “a gift given away”. This is also a strong Hindi / Sanskrit name and some definitions consider the name meaning as an “offering to the gods”, emphasis on godS. In India, the people worship MANY gods. So as a result of this research, we struggled with the idea of keeping her name the same for two reasons: 1.) All the research says don’t change a child’s name if they are older than 2 years old, I believe. 2.) We have always in our mind thought our daughter would be named Lauren. Actually, Joshua was going to be named Lauren if he was a girl :) Our hearts and our minds have prayed for a child named Lauren well before we even knew about Anjali. So as we’ve had “the adoption world” highly encouraging us to keep her birth name…. Perhaps the only thing her birth mother would have given her…. We also have our own faith and beliefs tugging at our heart. So what did we do??? We prayed….and prayed. Brad and I talked at length….and we prayed. He was convinced we change her name…. I needed more time.

So during this time (which looking back was Divine timing), I was in a Bible study called BSF (Bible Study Fellowship)… it is a fabulous bible study. We were studying Isaiah. I was deep in the study, all in the context of the questions and the historical references and meanings of what was happening at the time in the Bible and when studying passage Isaiah 62, specifically verse 62:2-4 and in the middle of lecture on that Wednesday morning out of the blue (I wasn’t even THINKING about Anjali at the time), the Holy Spirit said to me, “give her a new name, she is no longer desolate, nor abandoned”… I couldn’t believe it – these words, although not audible…. Were so very clear in my mind, that I KNEW it was the Holy Spirit. So what does any good Christian girl do when something like this happens???? Contact a trusted Christian mentor and talk it through. So I emailed a friend and we set a lunch date.

THEN a few nights later, I woke up in the middle of the night and it’s as if the Lord was speaking to me again and said, “we are all adopted, I value adoption, but these adoption books and academics are missing one thing….. ME, the Lord, the I AM”…. “you have longed to write a book… how about start with a children’s book on adoption and the name change??” And I literally went down stairs and wrote the ENTIRE narrative of the children’s book! This was April 28, 2011, and I just checked the file time saved on my computer and it was 2:15 a.m. So what do I do with that??

I had lunch with my trusted friend and she was so encouraging and excited and she reminded me of all the times in the Bible that God gave his followers a new name and she challenged me to study those times and pray on the significance of changing a name. She read my first draft of the book, listened to the story and then in the only way she knows how….she spoke some truth to me. She said, “Renae, are you ready to give this to the Lord, in His timing, all for His glory….Renae are you ready to obey?”…. and then she added, “I think you also need to add a John 3:16 moment in the book….but that’s just what I’m thinking listening to your story on this unfold”. So on May 4, 2011, I felt particularly inspired and I edited the book to add her suggestions. And then I saved the file and I told God – it’s yours, so when YOU are ready, I am ready. You must open the doors when you want me to pursue this further.

In the meantime, I’ve met a few artists, and I’ve checked on self-publishing, but all the while I haven’t felt that God has opened the door that I’m waiting for…. It is all for Him. Self-publishing isn’t that expensive (maybe a few thousand dollars), but selling books and being a no-name author isn’t that financially rewarding either….so I wait on Him! One offer to illustrate is Joshua’s art teacher…so I may consider talking to her again and have her do one page to see if it fits the style we have in mind. We also wanted Anjali to be home, safe and sound in her environment – and settled…. Certainly don’t want to exploit her in ANY way….or take on a huge project that may take away time from her. So meanwhile, we wait for God to take the next step on this call and open that next door. We do feel compelled to offer something to the adoption world that may not be fully present on this topic…..something of God….something of another perspective.

I don’t mean in any way to diminish anyone who has kept their child’s birth name – I do see this as a family decision, but for those that do want to change their child’s name… I also think there are ways this can be done in connection with building a strong identity in Christ. Certainly only time will tell if Anjali is sad or hurt by this name change, and that is why we left her birth name as her middle name to allow her the option in the future to use her middle name, merely out of respect for her (right now she seems to like “Lauren” and smiles and responds when we call her by this name). For now, we are really praying she finds all her identify in our ONE true God and that one day she too will be adopted into the body of Christ by her own longing and desire…her own free will.


  1. We're thinking about this too -- there is an Indian name we're considering, but we also want to keep K's original name, since it's pretty easy for Westerners to pronounce. We aren't completely decided yet (and we still have lots of time during the court wait to think about it!). I did want to embroider her name on her Christmas stocking, though . . . but it looks like I'll be waiting on that!

  2. I cannot wait to read your book, Renae!!!! What a beautiful post. ;) So glad your are officially FINISHED all your paperwork!!!!