Knowing our child

July 11th, 2011

Question:  How did you choose Katerina?

Answer:  We used the Rainbowkids site to narrow our search down to Bulgaria, then to Stephanie Carpenter of the Lifeline Children’s Services adoption agency in a God-led story that was told back in November.  Despite Stephanie’s urging, we didn’t look at Lifeline’s waiting Bulgarian children until God gave us a spectacular go-ahead near the end of the year.

When we finally got to look through Lifeline’s password-protected Bulgaria Waiting Children listing, well, the best way I can describe it?  It was like looking through a list of other people’s children…and then suddenly coming to one of our own children.  

I am ashamed to admit that I had so little faith in God’s ability to work in my husband’s heart that I avoided mentioning Veronika.  I feared that he might resist the idea of adopting a child with such extreme needs.  <blush>

We all agreed that “Lee,” as he is called on Reece’s Rainbow, seemed to us like our little boy.  We could picture this precious child in our family, tramping about our woods with his brothers and sisters, and sitting at our big table with the rest of us.  We could hardly believe such a treasure had been overlooked for more than eight years!

Then, after Joe and I talked it through, we showed Veronika’s pictures and video to the whole family, and explained her condition, and asked them whether they thought we could love this child who needed what we had to give.  Their response to her was an immediate, wholehearted and unanimous YES.  We were smitten.  We wanted her.

Our big question was whether we should pursue the adoptions of two children, or just one.  Through family discussions that were both extensive and intensive, we eventually came to the conclusion that we should be open to both “Lee” and Veronika, and trust God to be the one who chose between them, if choice there must be.

A few weeks later, just before we were finally able to commit, God sent another family to “Lee,” and thereby gave us the answer to many questions, with impeccable timing as always.

[Not long before this, while we were still thinking “two,” Joe made the bold and heroic commitment that if there would be delay at any point in this adoption, it would not be caused by us.  This is the man I worried would balk at adopting a very needy child?  One more trophy for my personal Hall of Shame.]


Question:  Does she know her own name?

Answer:  In her official video, she does seem to respond to her name, but we cannot tell for sure.  In every case, what looks like a response could be random, or attributed to other factors, such as the caregiver snapping fingers in her face.  But we think she does know her name.


Question:  Won’t it be confusing to her to be called Katerina after nine years of being Veronika?

Answer:  We haven’t made our final decision about how we will handle this.  Everything will be confusing to her for a while.  We can see benefits to different approaches, and we are open to suggestions if you understand we may not take yours.  <grin>  We are confident that God will shine light on this for us by the time we need to decide.

We may just switch cold turkey when we actually go to bring her home.

Another idea is to call her by her birth name during our first trip.  Then on our second trip, call her Veronika-Katerina.  After some time, we would switch the two names, then eventually drop her birth name.

Or we could call her VeroniKatie for a while…no, really…and with a Bulgarian accent…


Question:  Why are you changing her name?

Answer:  Three reasons.

~Because we want her to have a new name to show her new life, as God has sometimes done for His people.

~And because God used another little nine-year-old girl with Down syndrome to break our hearts wide open.  Did you see her on the Serbia video?  [I keep posting this five-minute clip, because I am surprised by how many readers of this blog have told me that they never watched it.]  Ann Curry’s words about that other little nine-year-old girl have never left my mind:  “Katerina is nine.  She has Down syndrome.  ‘You don’t want to let go of my finger, do you?'”

~And because the meanings of our children’s names are significant to us and, we believe, to God.

Katerina means “pure”

Katerina Hope:  Pure Hope


One more question:  Have you heard anything from Bulgaria?

Answer:  No.

This tells us one thing–

We still have a long way to go to learn how to wait patiently for the Lord, because He is still giving us plenty of opportunities to practice! Especially as I watch Katie’s videos with my eyes and heart running over, trying not to think of the moment we can actually hold her in our arms and look into her face.  And asking God to bring her to us quickly in His mercy.

When I asked Stephanie Carpenter if she could shed any light on the silence from Toni, she replied, and I quote her here so that you can understand why I am endlessly grateful to the Lord for sending this woman to us,

“Hi dear sister,

Hope you are doing great today!  Thanks for the email!

I just heard from S—— about Toni and the reason she has not responded to anything is because the internet access where she has been has been horrible.  I don’t think she expected that because she always tells me when she is leaving if she expects the access to be bad.  She is due back in Sofia today so she is probably now back and is working furiously to catch up!  So maybe you have good news and all is being taken care of but she had no way to tell us!

I know that she has others doing work in Sofia for her if things need to be filed or picked up but she may just not have been able to get word to you/us!

So just hang in there!  It is coming soon!!!  I just know it!

Praying for you all the time!  Dear Sweet Veronika needs her Mommy and Daddy!!!

Love you,


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7 Responses to “Knowing our child”

  1. Ginger says:

    I love your explanation about her name. We changed our children’s names for the same reason: when God changes a person’s destiny, He changes their name. We are also big believers in a name’s meaning. 
    When we adopted, the orphanage director told our kids their names would be changing and why we chose each name. When we brought them home from the airport, we called them by their birth names that whole day, but the first morning at home, we said: Are you ready to be Maya, Isaac, and Daniel?
    They were excited to have new names because they new it meant a fresh start on life.
    Katerina’s understanding and the language barrier will be an issue, but I wouldn’t go to the trouble of mixed names if I were you. But I’m not. ;) 

  2. Tami Swaim says:

    Chances are very good that no American is going to get that “r” in Veronica or Katerina in the slavik form any how.  So her name would not sound the same to her no matter what.  Slovik “r” is different from spanish “r” which a lot of Amercian’s are familar with but it took me at least 4 years to get the Polish “r”…it’s not a tongue rolll~hard to explain.  Well, that’s just my 2 cents or 2 zloty (Polish currency tee hee) worth.

  3. Susanna says:

    Tami, what about an American who pronounced German so well that a German woman was amazed, and told her that she sounded born and bred to it? Is there any hope for her? She is willing to take lessons and will pay in cookies. ;)

  4. Tami Swaim says:

    Are you referring to yourself by any chance?  I’ve tasted your cookies before and they are good!  I had picked one word that I was just going to get no matter what.  It’s the WORST word in Polish for an American *Rower* Ach at the beginning and the end.  You know the “r” is sort of like a cats purr on the back of your tongue! 

  5. Tami Swaim says:

    I should have wrote “Ach, it’s got an r at the beginning and the end”  Rower means bike (the w is pronounced as a v)

  6. Tami Swaim says:

    Have [someone from Katie’s country] say her name on a recorder when you are over there!  You can play it over and over when you get back.  Just so you can have her original name down in the [local] accent just to keep in your back pocket if you get her home and want to experiment to see if she responds to it (sort of thing)

  7. Tammi says:

    Love the name Katerina HOPE, it is PERFECT!
    I can hardly wait until you post that first photo touching/holding precious Katerina!   I think I am in early labor with you!
          IMHO I would start fresh from the very beginning with her new name, signifying the new new LIFE, HOPE, LOVE, and FAMILY she will be ‘born’ into that day. Veronika’s name will be fulfilled, with the Victory belonging to the Lord for his work in so many,many, hearts through Katie and your obedience and faith in Him! Thank you for that, a million times, thank you for that!!!

    Just IMHO  ;)

    Hugs and Love from ALL of us at TEAMLINK! 

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