Thursday, February 9, 2012


People very often ask about our Ghanaian kid's names. So- here is the complete story of their names. (Or at least all I know of it.)

When the children were very young and living with their grandmother, their only names were Yaa and Yaw. (They may have actually been given other names at the naming ceremony, but nobody remembers them if they were.) Yaa is the day name for a female born on Thursday. Yaw is the name for a male born on Thursday. There were no middle or last names. Just Yaa and Yaw.

Eventually the grandmother and aunt were no longer able to care for the children, so they were brought to the orphanage. At that point they were given the names they currently go by: Serwaa (after the grandmother) and Konto (after the deceased grandfather). From then on, our son went by Konto. Our daughter was called Yaa Serwaa.

When the children started attending school at the orphanage, the school administrator wanted them to also have a more english name. She chose Felicity for Serwaa, and Jackson for Konto. (I believe that Jackson was suggested by his friend, Oleman.)

They have never had last names.

We took forever trying to decide what to actually name them legally. We were originally going to keep Felicity & Jackson. But after I spent a few weeks in Ghana calling them Yaa Serwaa & Konto, I just couldn't picture ever calling them anything else. So, we decided to drop the english names. (The kids may eventually hate us for that!) But, they had never actually gone by those names. In fact, Konto couldn't remember if his name was Jackson or Justice. And he didn't know how to write either one. And Felicity. Ever since that show 'Felicity' with the big-hair girl... I just never liked that name anyways! Plus- I just can't picture her as a Felicity. It just doesn't seem to fit.

So we looked for new middle names.

When I met Serwaa, she reminded me alot of my first born. She was shy, loved looking in the mirror, a drama queen at times, constantly posing & taking pictures of herself.... Like Malorie's long-lost african twin! The main difference was that Serwaa had a much older soul. (Like most of the children in the orphanage.)

In Ghana there are names for everything, including twins. Akwele is the name given to the elder twin. It is believed that in the case of twins, the one who is born first is younger. (The one who is born last is the elder twin, because it is mature enough to stay in the womb and help the younger child out before coming out itself.) So, although Malorie was born first, Serwaa has an older soul. That's why we decided to give her the name Akwele.

We didn't want to lose her day name, so we added it to her new middle name. She became Serwaa Akweleyaa Knight. (Although I still call her Yaa Serwaa occaisionally.)

On my last trip to Ghana, I kept hearing Konto's aunt calling him 'Wofa Yaw'. Wofa actually means 'uncle' in Twi. It's just a nickname that she had started calling him when he was a baby. It had a nice ring, so we decided to keep it!

So he is now Konto Wofayaw Knight.

There you have it. The (very long) story of our children's names!

1 comment:

  1. So glad to have found your blog. I loved reading this post as this has been something we have talked about and wondered about. Love the names and their meanings.