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We are the Ducommuns! There are 4 of us now-Craig, Laura, Zamara, and now Mahashavah, our 1 year old son. We adopted Zamara from Ethiopia in 2008. Our son is also from Ethiopia and we are hoping to bring him home soon. We live Flagstaff Arizona. We are so glad you found us. Take a look around and don't forget to leave us a message.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Story Behind the Name Mahashavah

We have had a lot of questions about why we chose the name "Mahashavah Andualem" for our son.  It is clearly not a common name and he probably won't be able to spell it until he is well into 5th or 6th grade!  

I am a firm believer in giving people names that mean something.  It started with the story of how my mom gave me the name Laura.  I was born VERY premature and my parents were not sure that I would live.  They had also thought I was going to be a boy so when I popped out early and a different gender, they did not have a name chosen.  While my mother was in the hospital she was looking through baby name books.  She came across the name "Laura".  It was defined as "one who appears weak but is actually strong".  Looking at me, weighing only a few pounds and laying in my incubator, she thought that was a perfect description of who I was.   Although I did get some teasing growing up--I got called Laura Ingalls all the time--I have clung to  the meaning of my name. I love the story and how it has shaped who I am today.

I have also loved how God named (and sometimes re-named) people in the Bible and how their names both described who they were, but also defined who they became.  Names like Abraham (father of many nations), Adam (man), Peter (Rock), etc...I wanted this same kind of history for my children.

When we adopted Zamara we wanted to give her a name that also had meaning behind it.  As most of you probably already know,  Zamara was an abandonment case.  She was found at approximately 1 month old in a cardboard box outside of a church in Addis Ababa.  She was found by a mechanic and his wife early in the morning when they heard a baby crying.  They called the police who then took her to Kids Care Orphanage.  At the orphanage she was given the name Liyana. Or as the nanny's called her "Baby Leelee".   

Zamara is based on the Hebrew word "Samara" which means both "God's Power" and "Guarded by God".  I loved that meaning and how it related to her birth story.  This little girl that was found in a box was truly "guarded by God".  There are so many details to Zamara's birth and adoption story that it can only be described as by "God's Power" that she is alive and thriving.  We kept Liyana as Zamara's middle name.  The root of the word, "Liy" is Amharic (the main language of Ethiopia) for "sharer of the Gospel".  We have no idea if this was what the orphanage was going for in giving her the name "Liyana",  but we know that in some way our daughter will indeed be a "sharer of the Gospel" in her lifetime.  

I share all of this back story with you in order to give you an idea of why we named our son the very unique name of "Mahashavah".  Mahashavah is a Hebrew word that means "God's Perfect/Divine Plan".  It is the word used in the verse, "I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord.  "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah  29:11.  In Hebrew, the meaning is much more rich than our simple definition of "plans".  It has to do with God's redemptive power to restore and heal his people, the Israelites.  It is a promise for that day, but also a foreshadowing of the coming Messiah, Jesus.  God, speaking through the prophet Jeremiah, was calling His people back to himself.  To pick them up out of despair and to give them new life.  

Our son's story is one that is very personal.  We do not feel free to share all of it here on our blog, but we can share a few things.  Like most babies given up for adoption, he was not planned by his birth mother and she was not in a place where she was able to care for him.  We had a chance to meet her while we were in Ethiopia.  It was a very hard but wonderful meeting.  She truly loves him and only wants to see the best for him.  She is young and very poor (making only $2.30 a month) and has no family to help take care of her. She knew that she could not care for him herself.  We feel honored that God has placed this amazing little boy into our hands. 

When Craig and I think of her story, we are constantly reminded of God's promise in Jeremiah that He has not forgotten His people.  He has a future for all of us--a future beyond anything that we an even imagine.  We can have hope that God is our God and our redeemer.  It is a promise for today, but also the prayer for who our son will become in the future.  God chose for Mahashavah to be born in the circumstances that he did for a reason.  It was not an accident.  God has also chosen Mahashavah to become a part of our family for a reason as well.   We knew there was no more fitting name for him.   His story is the image of God's "perfect, divine plan".  

Andualem is his Ethiopian name.  When he was born, the hospital helped his birth mother in giving him this name.  It means "one world".  It is also a beautiful name with a beautiful meaning.  When we look at our children of course we see the gorgeous color of their skin.  We are not oblivious to the fact that they are Ethiopian.  We know we do not look like a family in the traditional sense.  But as human beings we know we are all a part of the same family.  In Genesis, God created male and female in His image.  All people are a reflection of God's character and from the same family.  As we have traveled the world we have been in awe of God's creation of humanity-the colors, the cultures, the music, the art, the languages...The world is big place but we are all connected by our Creator.  It is fitting that we kept his Amharic name as his middle name.  Although we do not look alike, our family is indeed an embodiment of the fact that we are all from this "one world" that God created and that we are God's greatest creation that He deemed "very good."

We know Mahashavah Andualem is not your typical American name.  We also wanted to have a chance to share with all of you why we made the choices we did when it came to naming our children and a little history behind who we are.  


The Bell Family said...

I love the story and how important name meanings are to you.

Auntie Angie

Unknown said...

Hello, my husband and I named our daughter Zamara as well. We loved the meaning and it rang true when my little gem was 5 weeks premature. She was a strong baby and didn't need to be in an incubator. She is 14 months now and has always been way ahead in her milestones. She is the joy of our lives. I'm glad there is another Zamara with a great story behind her name. She is guarded by God because she was a gift from God. After a year of trying to conceive, surprise :)