Chinese Middle Name for Erik’s Baby

Erik is a very good friend of mine in eBay. He is a typical American young man in my eyes – handsome, passionate, smart, professional, interested in many things, and open-minded. Most importantly, his heart is full of love. I enjoy working with him very much, and really love to have hosted him in Shanghai at the end of 2005. Erik was also curious enough to visit Victor’s home in rural areas in Jiading, and was happily surprised when he was greeted by tens of pigs in the pigsty.

Erik and his wife adopted two children from China and another two from Vietnam. They love children. I am happy to have a dinner with the happy new parents, and the two little kids, who are still too young to communicate in either Chinese or English, or Vietnamese. Anyway, I believe the kids are lucky enough to have so good parents like Erik and his wife. (At that time, the little girl really love to eat rice!)

The good news is, Erik’s wife got pregnant and in December this year, they are expecting their 5th children in the family ! I am very happy for them, and think it is a wonderful thing to have the 5th children join the other 4 and then form a really big family.

Chinese Middle Name Wanted

Erik wants the 5th children to have an Asian middle name as the other four as well. This is a good idea. So Erik dropped me an email and asked me whether I can suggest a Chinese name. This is the general requirements:

Do you have any suggestions for a Chinese middle name? My wife would love the name to have a meaning like Gift from God/Heaven or Miracle from God/Heaven.

I have some Chinese candidate characters in mind now, but I’d like to ask my readers to suggest a beautiful name for the upcoming boy.

Any idea? We should really help Erik since he had taken enough trouble (many times of trip in Asia per children) to help the four little children.

36 Comments

  1. 天送/天賜

  2. @solopolo, 天賜 was my initial thought as well.

  3. 天恩 for girl

  4. How about Ahn (Safety) for the girl?

  5. if(boy) Midname=宇泽 ;the same meaning as ‘天赐’

    else Midname=暖瞳 ;means that her eye’s will be full of love, full of sping’s warmth

    for the coming life.but it’s a little complex to write on.

  6. 惠灵 for girl

    恩哲 fo boy

  7. Hi, all the names are very nice – my personal favorite is 天賜 暖瞳 恩哲…

    Let’s have the brainstorm going, and maybe after one day, when I collect all your suggestions, I will talk with Erik and explain the Chinese names – obviously he doesn’t know the beauty of the suggested Chinese names yet.

    Thanks a lot for your involvement.

  8. I like 天賜 and 天恩. In fact, I’ve written down these names some time back as potential names for my children in future. Heehee.

  9. what about 天心?天霖?

  10. what about 天心?天霖?天宝?

  11. Never very excited about chinese babies being adopted by non-chinese.

    Nagging feeling they were picked simply because of their novelty. And we all know just how long thats going to last.

    I am sure there are enough options for childless couples in their home country or Romania.

    Try getting a chinese couple to adopt a white child and watch all hell breaks loose.

    The kids may have a good life in the material sense. Psychologically they will probabily be a little messed up.

    Unlike what Michael Jackson says, in most places it does matter if you’re black or white or yellow.

    Hopefully the kids will not grow up with a totally confused state of identity with a chop suey name like Elizabeth 天恩 Smith.

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions. I have seen enough celebrities travelling long distances to pick up novelty babies so as to boost their humanitarian image. Some even go all out to create a mini united nations family. It’s all a little too disturbing for me.

    Sorry for being such a sour puss but real world is often quite ugly and appearances deceiving. Right now I’m bracing myself to be slammed.

  12. I have not get a better idea! but please accept my best wishes!

  13. How about 天颂 ?First it sound like 天送,gift from god;and second it also means a laud to the god.

  14. I picked up on wonton’s comments. I’m sorry to this causes the thread to move off in another direction. Perhaps Wang Jian Shuo, you could start a separate thread just on the ethics of adoption?

    I have noticed here in our Canadian Chinese community that there are some Chinese who are not to impressed with the adoption of Chinese babies by…let’s face it …white people. It seems that they are embarrassed by the practice.

    Adoptions are not just done by celebrities. Ordinary people also adopt, although I think because of the costs involved that most of the adopting is done by middle-class folks. But I’ve seen some working class people who desperately want a baby and will sacrifice a lot to get one. Adoption is a life-long thing – its not like getting a pet in the house.

    Wonton wonders if these kids become “messed up” psychologically later on. I think that it a legitimate question and maybe others can answer it. My instinct says the answer is “no”.

    In my own opinion having a so-called “chop suey” name would be kind of cool. My Chinese wife has adopted a western name and combines it with her Chinese name, likewise with her signature. I think it is really neat.

    As to why do people adopt Chinese babies in particular? Its because they are so darn cute!

    I don’t think anybody needs to slam “wonton”. The question was asked in a civil way and deserves civil answers.

  15. @wonton,

    I think it helps to understand the motivation of those who adopt children. Many people have been trying for years without the ability to have children, and only go to adoption as a last step in a frustrating process. In the US (where I live) it is very difficult to find children to adopt from the US. I found these stats on about.com for 2005, gather from State Department visa records, for the top 10 countries:

    7,906 – China (Mainland)

    4,639 – Russia

    3,783 – Guatemala

    1,630 – S. Korea

    821 – Ukraine

    755 – Kazakhstan

    441 – Ethiopia

    323 – India

    291 – Colombia

    271 – Philippines

    I know that the adoption process is lengthy and difficult from all countries and to all countries. I think good and loving parents can shoulder the heavy task of raising an adoption child, and I believe many of these parents are likely to be better parents than many parents that have children naturally.

    According this article in the China Daily there are 45,000 orphans in orphanages in China, 10% of the total. So it seems to me that for 8,000 babies to be adopted from China to the US, of about 450,000 orphans, is a good thing for both orphaned babies in China and for childless couples in the US. What do you think?

  16. @wonton – mate, you’ve done it again… I don’t crtiticise your right to your opinion, but I do feel disappointed that it’s one based on an ignorant and very small view of the world. The subject of adoption is one thing, and it’s not really up to anyone to second guess why a couple would want to adopt locally or internationally (especially if you and your wife personally have no problems conceiving – you cannot even begin to imagine what it’s like psychologically for couples who don’t have this luxury)… I believe it is a reflection of the global ‘sensationlized’ media that people pick up on the (very rare) incidences of celebrities adopting overseas children – maybe their intentions are not appropriate (or even understood), but regardless these high-profile cases are a very small percentage of the adoption discussion at hand.

    However, much, much more disturbing to me are the inferences and statement that you have made around identity issues… as you are well aware, our son is mixed chinese and australian. Out of respect of both cultures, and to make it easier for him in both countries, we have given him a ‘hybrid’ name (chop-suey is a little insulting)… Jaime 郑家洋 (and our surname)…

    I have no doubt that my son will grow with a much broader understanding of his heritage/s, with a greater degree of tolerance, and more knowledgable than most people in relation to global issues – multiculturalism, trade, etc… I have no doubt that he will be well-spoken, with fluency in a minimum of four languages, most learned before he even attends school.

    My son will have the material requirements to succeed in the global world of tomorrow, as well as the psychological balance to rival anyone from a single-heritage background. Identity will not be a problem, as we as parents, will ensure that his environment is robust and well-balanced… I might add that I know many other ‘mixed’ children who are much more balanced and aware of their identities than most others…

    Anyway, this is not to ‘slam’ you, but to ask you to please show tolerance and recognize other’s differences for what they are. We do not live in the “world according to wonton”… everyone has a right to air the opinions, but it should be done with a degree of integrity and respect for those who may disagree :p

  17. Hello AussiePB,

    Perhaps you are a little too sensitive here. I am NOT refering to children of parents of mixed races. I am quite sure your children will do fine. Because they will be able to identify with their parents’ origins, and culture.

    I don’t think the world around an overtly looking chinese kid will be able to reconcile with the fact that BOTH his/her parents are white. In time, he will hunger for his roots which NEITHER of the white parents can fill. This incongruency will be exaggerated by their token chop socky name which their well intentioned parents picked up on the net. The unforgiving environment around the kids may make the situation worse when they return to the parents’ country. Racism is not as prevalent in cosmopolitan cities but I will be concerned if they were to live in communities unexperienced with diversity. Pauline Hansonville (don’t mean Australia)

    While it’s not representative of all adoptions, I have seen a very good documentary about a young lady who happened to be of vietnamese origins adopted by white parents during the vietnam war. Man, was she messed up. She grew up in the midwest in a white neighbourhood and she described her growing up years as “hell”. She was lucky enough to trace her family back home again but when she met them, the cultural divide has become too wide. In the end, she could not find the resolution she so desperately sorted. It’s quite sad. There are many other cases too where the child and parents became so estranged that the kid took to drinking. Rationally I thought they seemed rather ungrateful children given the fact that had they not been adopted, they would have a tougher life if any at all. But I guess sometimes the need to belong is much more important that material things.

    Again I need to emphasise I am not refering to children of mixed marriages. Your wife is a chinese, having a part chinese name for your kid is in fact an excellent idea and I WOULD be surprised if you did not do so. If one day you feel like adopting a chinese kid, I would be happy fo you and the kid because it has a chinese mother with the additional wisdom of a non-chinese.

    Oh no! of course I don’t expect a world according to wonton ! Gud Gawd ! THAT would dilute my uniqueness ! ;)

    My point is that, If I had all appearance of a certain race, I would adopt a child of the same race so that he will not have to grow up needing to perpetually explain and question his origins. This is to protect the child. The child I love.

    If both parents are white, then get a child elsewhere. There are more than enough kids that needs saving outside China. Why not try Romania ? there are children falling into the hands of pedophiles there all the time.

    We all wish for a more perfect world. But in action, we have to make decisions grounded in reality. Of course you might ask, if we don’t make the first step, who would ? Well, I won’t… not for the love of the child. I am not going to pave the road to hell with my good intention.

    Hope you understand.

  18. @AussiePB

    Just a note regarding “especially if you and your wife personally have no problems conceiving – you cannot even begin to imagine what it’s like psychologically for couples who don’t have this luxury)…”

    Actually I don’t need to imagine. I know how it feels. I desperately want to have a child but my wife have other ideas. I have been wanting a kid for the past eleven years. I still greive for my unborn child.

  19. @wonton – I am very impressed with your explanation… I clearly understand your position now – I hope that you are blessed with your first child very soon.

    Kindest regards,

  20. Well, I think wonton (and everyone else) has missed a key point. I think (although I am no expert in this) most (white) western couples who adopt Chinese babies don’t do so because of the “novelty” factor, but because that’s the easiest and/or most secure path to adoption. In the US there is a very long wait for adoption, which causes couples to look abroad. And it’s not just China; I have friends who have adopted from Guatemala, and friends who are adopted from Korea. They all seem perfectly well adjusted. Celebrities aside, I don’t think most people take on a financial and personal responsibility like raising a child on a whim or for a novelty. They just want the most predictable way to become parents.

    One final note: Chinese babies adopted by westerners are always, always, always girls. Chinese people who disapprove have to account for that in some way. Why are children in Chinese orphanages so overwhelmingly girls?

  21. @ddjiii

    Ok, your “key points”

    ie: adopting children in China is easy, long wait in the US,

    you know of one well balanced Korean kid with two white parents, and a two happy white parents of a Guatemala kid.

    wow ! certainly “meat and potatoes” endorsement for China to give up it’s children. And by the way, China “should be grateful because afterall, hey, they are only little girls.

    I apologise for my single lousy point about doing what is in the best interest of the child.

  22. @wonton

    Whoa, easy there.

    My examples are only examples.

    You have framed the argument as “China giving up its children,” which seems purposefully designed to upset people. But you also say that you want to do what’s best for the children. So the question is, is it better for a little kid (probably a girl) to grow up in an orphanage in their home country, or to grow up in a family outside their home country? That’s not an easy question, but I’d lean towards the family. My point was only that I doubt that most people adopting kids are doing it for superficial reasons.

    I certainly didn’t mean that China should be grateful because they are only girls. What I meant was that you could argue that China has already “given up” these children because they are in orphanages, many of them unwanted because they are girls. If you’re uncomfortable with westerners adopting Chinese children, fine – find Chinese families to take them in.

  23. Correction. SOMEONE in China gave up on them. China did’nt.

    If you have a one child policy back home, the end result will probabily be similar.

    Do something useful and go tune a ukelele.

    A cheap shot always, always, always deserves a backhand.

    I’ve already made my summations…two days ago…and it’s NOT about people adopting kids for superficial reasons.

    hmm…where did I leave the Holy Hand Grenade…

  24. @Jianshuo

    I an sorry for leading your topic astray… again.

    I am really quite a pain in the ass.

    Someone please beat the devil out of me.

    heh heh…

  25. Hehe – @wonton – “the king of controversy”… :p

  26. @AussiePB: I don’t know if you have seen this article but it reflects my concerns completely. My sympathies lie with the child. She is going to be one big screw-up. I am sure if Jianshuo knew the parents when they first adopted the baby, he would be just as ” impressed with their capacity to LOVE” and can’t wait to help name the kid.. My advice is: Put away those rose tinted glasses ! The world is not just about beautiful things. Chicago may look beautiful but it has an ugly underside too. Read on…

    HONG KONG – Hong Kong authorities are searching for a new home for a 7-year-old South Korean girl after the Dutch couple who adopted her just months after she was born changed their minds, officials said Tuesday.

    The Dutch diplomat and his wife adopted the girl seven years ago when they were living in Seoul, South Korea, but struggled to integrate her into their lives, a South Korean consulate official in Hong Kong told The Associated Press.

    The diplomat, who has not been identified, handed the girl over to welfare authorities in Hong Kong last May, saying she was having trouble adapting to their culture, including their food, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to comment on the matter.

    “That’s the reason they disclosed as to why they are meeting authorities. It is the reason they gave for why they want to discontinue the relationship,” he said.

    “It’s bizarre. I don’t think it has anything to do with cultural shock,” said Law Chi-kwong, an associate professor at the University of Hong Kong’s Social Work department.

    “The child grew up with them. They adopted her when she was a baby; they are responsible for shaping the child’s mind and culture. How can you say the child cannot adapt to the culture in which she was raised? This is just ridiculous.”

    Media reports at the weekend suggested that the couple adopted the girl because they thought they could not have their own natural children, but then decided to give her up when the wife got pregnant.

    The official at the South Korean consulate, however, said the family had two other children, a 14-year-old-boy, and a second son, born after the girl was adopted.

    The girl is in foster care, but the Dutch couple will remain her legal parents until she is found a new home, the official at the South Korean consulate said.

    “Our concern is that she can find a new home, whether it is in Hong Kong, Korea or another country. She’s been in Hong Kong for almost three years … so it’s better for her to stay in Hong Kong.”

    The girl speaks Chinese and English but not Korean, he added.

    Mark Choi, a spokesman for the Korean Residents Association in Hong Kong, said there was a lot of anger in the Korean community as they could not understand how the family could give up the girl after seven years.

    “Several families have come forward to offer to adopt or foster the girl,” he said, adding that he did not know who the girl was living with right now.

    Hong Kong’s Social Welfare Department said it was working with the adoptive parents and relevant parties on the future care of the girl. It refused to disclose any other details.

    Peter Mollema, spokesman for the Dutch foreign ministry in The Hague, said there was no official statement.

    “These are personal, private matters not shared with everybody at the ministry,” Mollema said. “Right now, we’re trying to get the facts straight.”

    The South China Morning Post, in a report Sunday, quoted the unnamed Dutch diplomat as saying that the adoption had gone wrong.

    “It’s just a very terrible trauma that everyone’s experiencing,” he said. “I don’t have anything to say to the public. It is something we have to live with.”

    ______

    Associated Press writer Toby Sterling in Amsterdam, Netherlands contributed to this report.

  27. Wow – thanks wonton – these particular parents need to be ‘drawn and quartered’… the poor kid!! No child should be treated in such a way. There should be some sort of severe punishment for this!! I really hope that the ‘successful’ international adoptions far outway these sort of cases – I’ve not seen any statistics to make a judgement call on that though.

  28. AussiePB: I think it’s not easy adopting a child with a different ethnicity and culture from the parents. The child will ask a lot of questions tougher than “how are babies made ?” The alienation the child feels about having two “different” parents is real. The parents should have seriously considered the ramifications BEFORE they simply went ahead. Right now I think the little girl probabily feels a lot like the mecha-boy from the movie A.I.

    I do not have any stats on such cases, I would like to think that most adoptions of such nature ends happily but even if 5% of them ends up noxious, can we put them aside as acceptable losses ?

    There are no easy answers on this topic. I accept that we can’t put aside the interest of the unwanted children in orphanages. Most of them are sadly not orphans at all but rejected for stupid and selfish reasons. (gender being number one) I only hope those administrating the adoption process show some care in their selection of “suitable” parents.

  29. @wonton – well written, I fully support your sentiments.

  30. @wonton and @AussiePB,

    I found this article about some controversy over some sarcastic humor about adopting babies from China in an upcoming movie called “Juno”. I thought of this post and your discussion here!

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/02/13/MNQFUSKQQ.DTL

  31. @elliottng – there is no controversy.

    As far as I am concerned, the writers of Juno simply needed something offensive to be uttered by their character and they obviously felt that picking on the Chinese for a cheap laugh was acceptable. Any other race like the jews or Italians would have been suicidal. So what else is new ? you get more laughs picking on those who are different. Don’t tell me you actually think Hollywood cares when actors wear red ribbons ?!

    Do you think Spielberg cares for Sudan ??? where was his bleeding heart when his people was screwing the Palestinians ??

    So don’t blame me for buying pirated DVDs. I really don’t care Hollywood is losing money just as they don’t give a rat’s ass over offending the moviegoers over here.

  32. Just arrived at the Wang blog..

    Me: Father of two daughters adopted from China. Let me add some facts, and clear up some misinformation.

    All (legal) adoptions of Chinese orphans are controled in Beijing. Until just recently, (last few years) there were far more girls abandoned than at this time. Abandonment of girls in China is not mostly the product of the one-child policy, in fact, it has been going on for millenia, in the form of girl infantcide, and is driven by long standing traditions in the social structure—patriarical extended family—strong throught out China, stronger in the rural agrarian communiies (2/3rds. of China).

    In the last ten years or so, girls that would have been abandoned (many if not most, abandoned girl babies were left to die), now have monetary value in a black market that sells babies, internally in China into families that are looking for a “back up” female for their sons in communities that are heavily out-numbered with boys to girls—typically about 120 boys to 100 girls. These girls, adopted unofficially, will never gain a hukou under current PRC law, so they are often relegated to a life of servitude, without education, although they might later marry into the family as well—–and for all you Chinese cultural history buffs, this process might sound strangely familiar with the way it was done before the Communist takeover, and Mao declared that girls and women: “Hold up the sky”.

    Wonton expresses a politically correct ‘story-line’ familiar to all who adopt internationally. Its absurd on its face—when did these people, critical of international adoption become stakeholders in the make-up of my nuclear family?

    In order, here are the stakeholders to the orphans in China: The person that finds the abandoned child and takes it to the police, who then take it to the orphanage, then the local officials who try to dertermine the child’s parents, then the provincial officials who log the child’s information with Beijing, then the official in Beijing who reviews adoptive parent qualifications (foreign AND domectic) to determine the best placement for the child, and then the US State Department who insures the child was actually abandoned, not sold or traded, and finally the ultimate stakeholders—the adoptive parents who are going to commit to a lifetime of love, expense and inclusion for the child as an equal in the family.

    To give you an example of how much of a politically correct affectation it is for those who oppose international adoption on cultural grounds, consider this: They would far rather see the children continue to languish in the orphanage than have a true childhood. And they arn’t about to step up to the plate to do anything for these children as an alternative.

    Here in Portland, we have a liberal weekly called “Willamette Week” in this week’s issue is an ad for a non-profit fund raiser called: “Dining for Darfur” —posh restaurants doing their part, and well heeled liberals getting a nice, feel good, feed—socially, spirtually, and with full stomachs— (I about lost my lunch when I read it)

    Since China opened to Americans for adoption, many hundreds of Chinese girls have been adopted here in Portland Oregon, and because there is a strong social connection between families, I know personally hundreds of the family stories. Cultural adjustment is not a problem. My daughters are learning both cultures (my wife is Chinese, and they are in Chinese immersion, as are many of the adopted), but even those that arn’t, they are overwhelingly— living very well adjusted childhoods in American culture, and because their parents were older (China’s adoption policy) — their home situations are overwhelmingly more stable as a group than the representitive home situation of others their age.

    People obsessed with “cultural correctness” issues among the internationally adopted can take heart—its not a problem. May I humbly suggest that you turn instead, to a social issue which moves you so much that you roll up your sleeves and actually do something about it?

    –Kim

  33. Hello Kim,

    You are right to say that the abandonment of girls in China is not a new phenomenon. But it’s also true that the one child policy made it a lot worse. It is not something we could be proud of.

    You are also right to question what was my stake in the make up of the adoptee(?)’s family. The simple truth is – practically nothing.

    But you brought up a rather interesting “Dining for Darfur” thingy that turned your stomach. I think in a similar way, I could ask you, “what was your stake ?” because as repulsive as it was to you, something was done by those strange people, – money was in fact raised.

    I am not equating adoptive parents with the diners. Just because we are unable to solve the world’s problems don’t mean we are not entitled to an opinion.

    In the end, thats all there is. I may not do something about it right now not because I don’t care. I might have other priorities at present. You will not see me protesting the adoption of Chinese children by foreigners. To begin with, in my perfect world, nothing like this need to happen.

    Yes, there are “cultural correctness” issues simply because as a chinese, I hope the children do not become the “lost generation” of tomorrow. If naming the child “JianShuo Zimmermeister” is acceptable to some, fine. I just think it is weird that all.

    I have expressed my hopes that “those administrating the adoption process show some care in their selection of “suitable” parents.” If you consider yourself suitable, fine. Just remember so did the parents of the example I brought up.

    I know, I know, shit happens…

  34. No, I do not “rather see the children continue to languish in the orphanage than have a true childhood.”

    But I rather see the children have a true childhood with as little adaptation problems as possible.

    The fact that I disagree with a point does not automatically means I take the extreme opposite position. The problems of the world are not solved in this manner.

  35. Kim, thank you very much for your post!

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