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.