My boys were named using the naming conventions of their daddy’s culture. That’s why their last names are different from his. It is also why they each go by two different first names – they’ve got names that people in this country can pronounce and they also know the Somali version of their names. This could be confusing. But my sons understand it well enough to explain it to others. Here’s a conversation I overheard this week when my boys were playing with a neighbor girl.
Gloria: Call him Adam!
Caleb: He has two names.
Adam: Yeah, Adam and Aden.
Me: Caleb has two names too.
Adam: Qalib is his other name.
Gloria: Oh, so that’s what your dad calls you, Aden and Qalib… And your last name is Farah.
Adam: Yeah, Farah means “happy.” So in English, my name is “Adam Happy.”
Actually this last bit was news to my younger son. I looked over at him and heard him repeating to himself, “Farah means ‘happy.’” I nodded and smiled.