At last, we have given Tessa her full and beautiful name. It was no small task for Andy and I. Naming seems like it should be such fun and easy process, but for some reason it never has been very fun or easy for us. I suppose it is because we both tend to be strong willed and one of us is right brained while the other is left. Whatever it is, it is a wonder that our children have names at all! My style of naming is very open to new and different names, but especially names with a special meaning or relation to someone. Andy too likes to have a special connection, but also thinks much more conservatively. Anyway, it was not an easy process, but alas we have named our daughter!
Giving our sweet girl her first name was fairly clear because it is derived from her Ethiopian name Tesfanesh, which literally means "you are hope". I love that, but also love that we made it our own name as well in calling her Tessa, which also means fourth child (pure coincidence!). The middle name is where we have been hung up. At first I thought "Hope" would be a beautiful middle name, also from her Ethiopian name, but Andy wasn't feeling that one. Then we went through a slew of family names (people we love) and really none seemed to sound quite right. Then I became certain of another middle name for Tessa, one that would connect her to Ethiopia and honor a very special person in her life. It just took a while for Andy to agree with this instead of a more traditional middle name (Ann).
For me it became crystal clear that Tessa's middle name should be in honor of a very special woman from her home country, Amarech. The woman in Ethiopia that discovered her, took her in to care for her for a week, named her Tesfanesh and ultimately made the decision to give Tessa a different life. Last night, Andy and I named our daughter Tessa Amarech Rikkers.
Perhaps we will meet Amarech when we travel to Ethiopia and will be able to express our gratitude. Perhaps not. If we are not able to meet Amarech then we send her name with our daughter as a important part of her history and her connection to her home land and the person that choose a different life for her.
I hope that Tessa Amarech Rikkers will carry her name proudly and know it was given to her from a place of honor and love.