December 22, 2013

Eden: Officially Part of the Family

I got a call on Friday with big news: my niece Eden is officially part of the family! Her adoption was finalized at the courthouse that afternoon, after coming home to Washington state with my sister and brother-in-law this time last year from Thailand. She's been called by a nickname rather than her given name for most of her life, and opted to choose a new name for herself. Friday was the day that new name became official: Eden, followed by her Thai surname as a middle name, and my sister and brother-in-law's surname as her new surname. We still call her by her Thai nickname some within the family, but I'm doing my best to remember to refer to her as Eden when talking about her outside the home, since that's the name she chose for herself.

I guess maybe it's unusual for adopted children to choose their own name at any point in the adoption process. Of course, Eden isn't so much an adopted child as she is an adopted teenager, so it makes perfect sense. I think she chose a beautiful name. Can you imagine what you would have chosen if given the chance to choose a new name for yourself as a teenager? She did well.

The adoption being finalized marks another big milestone: we can finally publicly share photos that include her face. Of course I still got her parents' permission, but I can finally share these photos I took of Eden back in May during my trip up to Washington to meet her for the first time! While my nephew Connor was at physical therapy with my sister, Eden and I adventured off on our own for a mini portrait session. Like many a teenage girl, Eden really likes having her photo taken, so it was the perfect opportunity for us to spend time together. I felt especially honored to be the very first person that Eden spent time alone with other than her parents since arriving in the United States. No pressure...

Welcome to the family, Eden! I loved meeting you in May, and I look forward to seeing you again and again for, well, forever! Uncle Opie and I are so proud and happy to call you our niece.


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