Naming our son has been an adventure in language.  Our son’s given name is Xi Rui Zhu.


Rui Zhu means “Auspicious Pillar”.

Xi Rui Zhu2016-6-23
Zhu is wearing a red bracelet in this picture.  Red is a symbol of luck, happiness and joy in Chinese culture.  I am very curious and hope I find out who gave it to him!

I found his name to be such an incredible message (which is what Chinese names often are – descriptions/hopes/messages) for our son’s future.  In Chinese, the two unique words put together build into an identity, they deliver a message.  How great is their naming tradition!

The namers (parents, officials, doctors) can whisper their hopes and dreams for a child through one of the most important and most personal ways – assigning their name.

Our son was found as a newborn without his parents, yet the doctor who named him called him an “Auspicious Pillar.”  What I wouldn’t give to meet this doctor.  What did the doctor see to assign him such a name? 

Pillar can mean a “large post that holds something up,” but it can also mean “someone who is an important member of a group.”  Rui Zhu is certainly an important member of a group, several groups as it is (the family of God, our little family, his orphange family, the Chinese people group, etc.).  He is integral in so many lives and ways already.

And auspicous?  Auspicious means lucky or “that future success is likely”.  That the doctor would forsee or wish for him a life with “likely future success” considering his early beginnings makes my heart just swell straight up with love for the doctor and their compassionate, hope-giving heart.

(update: Apparently all children brought into his particular orphanage in a given year are given the same name part with one unique part as well.  In 2014, all children brought into his orphanage were called Rui _____.  It doesn’t matter that the name Rui was not unique to our son.  I still love that the orphanage bequeathed the title of Auspicious to each child they took in that year.  They acknowledged that these children have value and can still absolutely have a chance for future success. ) 

Keeping Rui Zhu’s name was no brainer.  It was staying.

We decided to put an American name as his first name, keeping both of his Chinese names as his middle name. It was very important to us that we maintain his Chinese name in order to give him a continuous bridge to his home culture and to honor his heritage.  We thought also in the future, this would allow him to use whichever name he feels fits him best.  This is by no means the best, only, or right way to do it; it’s just what seems right for us. 

Well, when we first found him, we called him by the only name on his profile, Zhu.  I looked up how to pronounce it, told our family and we began calling him “z – oo.”

A couple of months later, I was informed by sweet friends who know Chinese that my source was wrong and that Zhu is actually pronounced as “jew”.

I then called the adoption agency because I wanted to make sure I had it right, and they said his name was fully pronounced as “Roo-ay (all in one syllable) Jew “.   They also said that he likely is not called that at his orphanage but typically by a nickname, often Xiao (meaning little) then (insert first name), or they double the given first name (ex. Zhu Zhu).

Zhu Zhu was quite easy to say and since it was likely his nickname, we went with it.

Well about a month ago we got an update from the orphange that said that his nickname was actually Zhu Zi. Ah!  We tried to switch to this one, but Zhu Zhu was what stuck.  That was his name to us already and it proved way too challenging for our minds to switch yet again.

For our previous children, we were drawn to rather classic names.  This time around, I was very drawn to nature names.  My list was so “out-there” according to Mike, that he could not keep from laughing as he read my choices and wondered if we were somehow celebrities now naming our kids uber unique names.  Some of them were admittedly crazy weird but many were not, including my favorite, Leo. *happy heart*

Leo was my favorite, hands down.  I asked the kids which ones they liked and Leo was the clear favorite for them too.

It was cemented when my mom took the children and I to friend’s pool party to celebrate and honor her 13 year old daughter who had just recently slipped into remission after battling brain cancer.  This family has adopted 9 children from China, all with varying degrees of special needs.  The mother and I were introduced and we quickly fell into chatting about our upcoming adoption.

She asked me what province we were going to, and when I told her Henan, she said that she had also adopted from there.  Then she asked which city, and which orphanage.  I told her both answers and she said that she also had adopted from that very same orphanage.  Then she calls out to her son who was near the pool.  “Leo!,” she calls.  *gah!*

This beautiful boy with glasses (I am slightly obsessed with the insane cuteness of children with glasses) of about 7 years came right over.  He smiled so sweetly at me as I introduced myself to him.  He had been adopted from the same orphanage, at the same age as our son.  I told him we were adopting a little boy from his very same orphanage.  Smiles, more sweet smiles. *perfection*

God could not have spoken louder on this … our boy’s name was chosen. Mike agreed and it was official.

Introducing Leo RuiZhu Dressel!

Xi Rui Zhu1 2016-6-23

We cannot wait to scoop up our sweet little Leo in just a couple of weeks!  Eeekkkk!!


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