Christmas ’09 John and I decided that our Christmas present to each other would be to choose the name of our soon to be son. We were in the beginning stages of our adoption process and wanted to have a name to pray for, talk about, and refer to the little one who we were working toward. We didn’t have a referral yet, we weren’t on the wait list, and come to find out… he wasn’t even BORN yet.It took a lot of back and forth to pick the name Tucker. I had a list of boy names that John didn’t like and I didn’t care for any on his list. Finally one morning I mentioned Tucker. I had read the name in a book and I liked it. John said he liked it too and so we decided since that was truly the only name we could agree on that we should stick with it! haha Over the next 10 months we prayed for Tucker daily. It was fun being able to talk about him with others and they knew who we were talking about because of the name we had assigned him.
Then came Oct 25th – our referral day.
We found out that the little guy we had been praying for was called Mareto. We weren’t sure how to pronounce it and we didn’t know what it meant. We tried to find out, but searches in Ahmaric translation brought nothing. Still, we had decided long before that we would keep his Ethiopian name as his middle name. So he would be Tucker Mareto.
Then came January 15th – the day we met our son for the first time.
Out of respect for the Ethiopian culture we were advised to call him his Ethiopian name while we were there. It was slightly intimidating at first because we didn’t know if we were saying it right… we weren’t. Wass, our driver to Hannah’s Hope and a very special man, taught us to say it on the way there. It’s pronounced Muh-rah-toe. They roll the r, but we aren’t good at that so we don’t. ; ) It’s beautiful. All week we heard the special mother’s talk to him and call out “Mareto! Mareto!” We called him Mareto all week as well and it just became who he is to us.
We also had the chance to learn the meaning of his name while we were there. We had a beautiful meeting with his birth mother and asked her why she chose that name and what it meant. I won’t share her reasons (or anything else about that meeting at any time to anyone) out of respect for her and for my son, but I will share that the meaning of his name is PEACE… and the reasons she chose it are simply beautiful. I tear up just thinking about it. Mareto became that much more precious of a name to us.
Fast forward to February and our final trip to Ethiopia to bring him home.
We were in the hotel restaurant ordering cokes.The bartender asked us what his name was and we said “Mareto” and he smiled. Then he said, “yes, but what will you call him in America?” We said, “Tucker,” and he asked, “what does it mean?” We looked at each other and explained that it didn’t really mean anything – we just liked the name. He nodded and said, “in Ethiopia we only give names that mean something. Every one’s name has deep meaning.” I thought that was so neat. He wasn’t saying it in a way that indicated we were wrong… just sharing their culture.
Ethiopia is such a huge part of who our son is. When we look at him we just see our son, our Mareto. We weren’t expecting to fall in love with his birth name the way we did… it just happened. It has such special meaning and significance. So… the original plan way back in 2009 was to call him Tucker… but things have changed. His legal name will still be Tucker Mareto. But we are going to (and have been since day 1) call him Mareto. *UPDATE: we have changed our minds yet again and have decided to keep his name as the Ethiopian government made it on the day we legally became his parents: Mareto John Casper.
So what should YOU call him? We would love for you to call him Mareto as well. I’ll remind you again how to pronounce it: Muh-rah-toe.Please don’t hesitate to ask us how to say it if you are unsure or forget — it won’t offend us.
So there you have it — the incredibly long story of the naming of our son!