What’s in a Name?


Many of you have been asking about the names of our boys, and I have a story to tell you.

During the time Joel and I were staying on the orphanage property, Marat had free reign to come and go as he pleased with us, as long as he went back to his dormitory at night. We were working on some English on the iPad one evening and realized he could not yet say “Longshore.” The “ng” sound does exist but isn’t terribly common in the Russian/Ukrainian language and I don’t think he realized that there was an ‘ng” in the middle of the name, so we began to work on it. When he was able to say it, I asked him to say Joel’s full name, “Joel Longshore,” and then mine “Kristen Longshore,” and then what will soon be his “Marat Longshore.” It was the first time he really identified himself as a member of our family and we were SO excited – Then we asked him to say “Marat Christopher Longshore” which he did once, but then he started shaking his head

“No, no, no” He said.

No? Was there a problem?

“No,” he said “No Marat. Michael Longshore, – I MICHAEL Longshore.”


WHAT in the WORLD?

If you have been reading this blog since the beginning, you may know that when I first realized that Marat was our son, one of the first things I did was look up his name. It was a name I had never heard and quite unusual and I just felt this need to find out what it means. Marat. It means “desired.” I also found out just a few weeks later that it can also mean “ answer to prayer.” I love his name. I love the sound of it, the uniqueness (but not weirdness), and the meaning. We have been praying for “Marat” for over a year as have many of you. I personally had no intention of changing his name. None.

But he had other ideas. Our child had been thinking about the day he would be adopted for a VERY long time and had even chosen a new name for himself. We asked him if he would keep Marat as one of his middle names. Nyet. He wants it gone. He wants a fresh start with a new name, and we say yes to this.(We realize that for all of you who have been thinking about praying for him for so long, this will be difficult, it will for us too !!!).

Scripture is full of people who God renames to reflect new positions, fresh starts, and identify in him. Abram became Abraham. Jacob became Israel. Saul became Paul.

So when our court hearing is complete, in about 10 days, Marat Chernenko, our desired answer to prayer, will become Michael Christopher, one who is like God, bearer of Christ’s image.

Our second son’s given Ukrainian name is Jenya (lots of Cyrillic letters involved here, so I am just giving you the English phonetics so that you can pronounce it correctly). After Marat informed us of his desire to change his name, we decided that we would like to change Jenya’s name as well, it if was what he wanted (these boys have had so little that is their own that if he wanted to keep his name, we would absolutely support that). Yes, he also said that he was ready for a name change.

A couple of months before we left, I had a dream in which we adopted a sandy haired little boy named Benjamin. Benjamin was not a name that Joel and I had EVER discussed or that I had ever even thought about. Joel was out of town when I had the dream and I texted him when I awakened and told him. “I love it!” he texted back.

Again, we didn’t really think we would use it, or any other name, as we had no plan to change our boys names, but we did discuss it, along with other names, as a “just in case” scenario. But when Marat made his announcement and we met our second son, we knew that he was our Benjamin. And so soon, Jenya Kovalenko, nobleman, will become Benjamin Joel, son of my right hand, the Lord is God. 

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11 thoughts on “What’s in a Name?

  1. Heather Youngquist

    Hi Kristen, I just had to leave a message when I read your story. I just got married this summer, and my husband’s name was Michael Benjamin Christopher. (Christopher was his last name.) His father divorced his mother when he was very young, and he has no connection to any Christopher in his family. He opted to take my name when we got married instead of continuing with his family name. He wanted to be a Youngquist, because, by the time we got married, my dad had been a father figure in his life longer than any man.

    So, he has started over, too, now as Michael Benjamin Youngquist. It’s very non-traditional for him to have taken my name, and we get lots of “jaw drops”, but he loves it, and it represents who we are.

    What’s in a name? So much! Congratulations to your Michael Christopher and your Benjamin! I’ll certainly never forget their names. :)

    -Heather Youngquist

    P.S. I’m loving keeping up with your news. Thanks for all of your updates, and God bless you all!

  2. dana

    Thank you for sharing this new and unexpected and very beautiful part of your journey. God is in the details, the wonderful, beautiful, special, amazing little details!

  3. Michele Kudalis

    God has a plan for us! Can you believe that I am creating a painting about answered prayers? That verse that I wrote for you….allow Me to fight for you…watch Me working on your behalf…..it’s pasted on the front of the painting.

  4. Hansina

    Love the boys names! Andrew was the same way! He wanted to change his name. I hear that a lot from kids who are adopted, want to leave the old behind and have a new name!

  5. Katie

    WONDERFUL! BEAUTIFUL! My heart is overflowing with JOY for these two DARLING GORGEOUS SWEET boys of yours! SOOOO excited to follow your journey with them!

  6. Ruth

    I’m so excited to get your updates, and know it will always move me to tears. As it should, happy tears for the “New thing, God is doing”. Beautiful names for your beautiful men of valor.

  7. Katie

    Hi Kristen! I’ve been hoping and praying SO LONG for an update on your boys! I keep checking back on your blog here for news … I hope and pray everything went through well and they are home with you and adjusting and life is wonderful! “Marat’s” smile captured me the first time I saw it and I truly hope he is doing well. Will continue to pray for all of you. God bless! ~ Katie

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