Flashback: The Naming of My Son


Last Day of Revocation

I spent most of the day sending memes back and forth with my family and friends that knew. We counted down the hours until revocation was officially over.

About halfway through the day I found myself in a familiar position: on my living room floor crying and singing. This time I was not crying for my broken heart. I was crying for Joanna’s broken heart. I prayed for her peace, I prayed for her strength, my prayers were different for her than all the other birth moms. I had this knowledge that Lavon was my son and I was claiming it, and allowing my heart to break knowing that his birth mom’s heart was breaking. I prayed that she had the strength to let him go. I prayed that I would have the strength to place her precious child into the arms of our savior.

At 5:30pm we heard that there was “no news!” which meant that Joanna did not submit any revocation paperwork to the agency. We still had to check with the court the following day to make sure nothing was submitted to them, but at this point Lavon was almost positively released into the custody of the Agency!!!!

Dean and I spent the next four hours calling as many people as we could get a hold of. We cried, we laughed…it didn’t even feel real. We started thinking of names for Lavon and stumbled upon the name Samuel. We loved Lavon’s given name*(changed in this blog post for protection) which meant “worthy of praise” so we wanted to keep it somewhere in the name, but whether it was his first or middle name we weren’t sure. But Samuel was the first name aside from Lavon that we agreed on. We looked Samuel up and it means “God hears me”. 


1 Day Past Revocation, 3 Days until Placement

Mom came to help set up the nursery. I spent over $500 on baby essentials preparing for Lavon’s arrival in…wait for it… 3 Days!!!!!!!! Thank God for mom! We heard from the agency that there was nothing filed with the court for revocation! Lavon was going to be coming home with us for sure!

Dean was on a super important business trip until Thursday. The agency wanted to know what our son’s name was going to be so they could start working on the paperwork, but a drawn out conversation about Lavon’s name wasn’t really possible. But we did decide that it was either Samuel Lavon or Lavon Samuel. So, I spent some time looking at the pictures we received from Lavon’s cradle Care mommy (foster care through the agency) and saying his names; trying to see which one fit. I couldn’t decide…and I fell asleep.

I woke up in the middle of the night, and felt God speak.

“Ask Me what his name is.”

“But God, I wanted to name him, he is my son. I haven’t had this experience before, and you get it all the time.”

“Elizabeth, I told you from the very beginning that Lavon is MINE. I’m giving you a choice now, you can either claim him for yourself or dedicate him to ME.”

“God, of course I want to dedicate him to YOU, but what does that have to do with his name? Can’t I name him and still dedicate him to YOU?”

“Well, sure you could, but you aren’t.”

“What do you mean?”

“What do you think of when you think of Lavon’s name as Lavon?”

“Well, I think about the kick ass NFL players with that same name. I think, ‘Wow, maybe my son will be super athletic or famous.’

Oh, I think I understand now. When I think of Lavon as the name I push You out. When I call him Lavon I think of what I want him to be instead of what You want him to be. And then I think that it’s his accomplishments and potential that make him praiseworthy. When I think of Samuel as his name I think of You hearing my prayers and answering them. I think of Your glory and your goodness, your blessing and provision, and that is what is praiseworthy. So instead of my son being worthy of praise and God hears those praises; My son is “God Hears me, which is worthy of praise.”

I knew you would see it clearly my dear. I have named him Samuel Lavon, and now I’m letting you decide what you will name him.”

“I will name him Samuel Lavon too.”


2 Days Until Placement

I woke up and knew I had to read the story of Samuel. I remembered some bits about his story, but I wanted to know more. So, I sat on my deck and read 1 Samuel.

I was astonished…I had read 1 Samuel so many times, in fact, I found a verse from 1 Samuel in my wallet, later that very day. I had placed it in there to look at when I felt discouraged about my appearance at my yoga retreat.

But normally when I read the beginning of 1 Samuel I identified so strongly with the barren mother, Hannah, that I kind of forgot she was associated with Samuel. I know that sounds weird, but the story of Hannah goes like this:

                Hannah was barren for years and years. She cried out to God many times and so full of anguish that a priest actually thought she was drunk (yup…I’ve felt that anguish before). Finally, she had a son, and she named him Samuel: “because I asked the Lord for Him”. She then dedicated Samuel to the Lord, and brought him to live with the priest, Eli.

That is where I thought the story of Hannah ends. In my adult years I would stop reading there. I never made the connection with this Samuel to the Samuel I read about in my childhood; to the Samuel I thought about when I sang, “Here I am, Lord, is it I, Lord, I have heard you calling in the night.”

If I kept reading I would have seen that, first of all God blessed Hannah with many more children, but also that Samuel heard God calling him in the night, and I would have read that Samuel, after being encouraged by Eli, answered God and said, “Speak, I am you servant.”

It hadn’t occurred to me that I had been singing the song of my son since I was a child. It also hadn’t occurred to me that Hannah could relate to me as an infertile woman and to Joanna in the sense that both had placed their sons in the hands of another to be raised in the Lord’s name. Sammy’s birth mom picked us for three reasons: 1. Our strong support system of family and friends 2. Our faith in Jesus and 3. Our youthfulness. I don’t think Joanna really knew she dedicated him to the Lord. But she placed her son into our care, and as a result she placed her son into God’s care, because we have dedicated him to the Lord.


2 thoughts on “Flashback: The Naming of My Son

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