Naming Names

Brace yourself. Here come the names. Let me apologize in advance if I come across as a little defensive, but we’ve already had some negative feedback from Michigan and these are our kids were talking about, here.

So here are the names . . .

Actually, before I reveal the names, I should point out that I spend much of my professional life with my nose in student databases, so believe me I know about current names. I also know there’s no way we could pick names as bad as some of the poor children in the state of Michigan right now. So that takes some of the pressure off.

So the names are . . . well, quickly, one more thing. I should tell you about our approach to names.

Sarah and I tend to agree that we want our children’s names to be unique but not strange, dignified but not pretentious. A girl’s name should be feminine and strong. We would also like everyone we know to like the name immediately, but after our experience with “Harrison” (which we loved and still love, but got some strange looks from family at first) we know that we’re never going to please everyone.

So here they are — oh wait . . . did I mention that much of the feedback we’ve had in southern Ohio is quite positive? That’s right, these names are a HIT here in Hillsboro.

OK, here goes:

Our girl:
Kennedy Lynn Ann Orwig

When we found out our second child was a girl, we knew we had to call her Grace. Sarah had always wanted a Grace. To the name-naysayers, let me point out that we got a lot of negative feedback about “Grace,” mostly along the lines that it was an old lady’s name. As it turned out we weren’t the only ones with the idea and elementary schools are practically crawling with Graces right now. Grace is now most definately a little girl’s name, and within a few years will be young woman’s name.

Sarah’s other favorite girl name was Kennedy. I think the idea started with an MTV host and it grew on us. Serendipitously, our first surrogate’s last name was Kennedy. So that made the decision easy. We figured she would be our last child and therefore our last chance to use the name, so Grace is Grace Kennedy Orwig.

Fast forward to now, and we have another girl. Sarah really wanted a girl named Kennedy. Yes, we’re aware we already used it, but not as a first name. Grace seems to like the idea. So our youngest girl’s first name is Kennedy. I’m sure it will be the subject of dramatic girl fights in later years, but really, what won’t?

As for the other parts of the name:

  • We like the sound of “Kennedy Lynn” (you don’t have to) and Lynn is also Geri’s middle name. Perfect.
  • We also like the name Ann and wanted to get it in there somewhere. Not only do we like the sound of it, but it is also the first name of Ann Nelson, who has been instrumental and very generous in helping us navigate the waters of surrogacy, and is also the middle name (“Mary Ann”) of Grandma Labuta. We considered “Kennedy Ann,” which had a certain ring, but also sounded a lot like “Raggedy Ann.”
  • Orwig seemed like a good choice. It would be confusing otherwise.

Yes, we have noticed that’s four names. Some people have four names. George Herbert Walker Bush became President (for a while) and spawned a President (arguably) with four names. Many women who hyphenate their last names end up with effectively four names. We’ve just set her up ahead of the game.

I happen to know there are over 1000 “Kennedy”s of school age in Michigan but I’ve never met one.

Our boy:
Shepard Alan Orwig

First of all, as with all these names, we just liked it. It seemed to fit.

Also, Shepard was my maternal Grandfather’s last name. Donald Shepard was known as “Shep” to his friends from the time he was in school (I’ve seen the yearbooks) until he died in the late 90’s.

Shepard was also the (first) last name of Grandma Labuta, and is the current last name of Great Grandma Wealthie Shepard. So it seemed like a nice way to include that part of the family tree, which did not produce any boys to carry on the name.

By the way, when we first told Harrison of our choice of Shepard, he cried. He said people would call him “Shep,” which he hated. We have assured him that won’t happen, so please don’t. You don’t want to make Harrison cry, do you?

On the other hand, we were adament that Harrison would not become “Harry,” but now that he’s into Harry Potter, Harrison kind of likes the name “Harry.” He is actually jealous of Grace’s glasses because he says glasses would make him look more like The Boy Who Lived (I assume — we haven’t finished the series yet — maybe Harry doesn’t live or he has Lasik or something). So who knows, we may someday end up with Harry and Shep Orwig. That’s ultimately up to them. Their mother and I, however, will always call the Harrison and Shepard, particuarly when they are in trouble.

I’m told that there is a news anchor named “Shepard Smith” (which I didn’t know) who is on Fox News (which is why I didn’t). Our Shepard isn’t named after this person, but he does offer a little cover, doesn’t he? The same way people who questioned our choice of “Harrison” could at least console themselves that there was a Harrison Ford.

You may remember that Harrison was gestating during the 2000 elections, so, threatening to name him Scott W. Orwig, we referred to him as Dubya until he was born. Given the currently impending Presidential election, I considered announcing this boy as Shepard Hussein Orwig, but decided that would be too cruel. His Grandfather would probably have expired and/or disowned us before I had a chance to convince him it was a joke.

“Alan” is my middle name and I’ve always liked it. I’ve always thought that if I needed to disguise my identity for some reason I could go by S. Alan Orwig and that would sound good. Now Shepard can do the same.

So, if you would like to complain about the names or otherwise attempt to change our minds, please feel free to do so in the comments section. We’ll read them, and the birth certificates won’t be done until probably Tuesday (topic of another post). But you’ll probably have a better chance waiting until Kennedy and Shepard turn 18 (conveniently, on the same day, April 18, 2026) and talking them into having their names legally changed.

Good luck!

3 thoughts on “Naming Names

  1. Anonymous

    Okay, okay. Yes, a bit different those baby names are. However, you ARE their parents and you have the right to name your children as you please. I, for one, have ALWAYS liked Harrison AND Grace. My neice is named Dylan (yep, after Bob Dylan) and she’s cool. So, cool names…cool people, right? Who knows…they might even be famous some day! More important is their health and their family life–which we KNOW will be great!

    Congrats again on your lovely family!

    Love always,
    Kathy and Jerry

  2. Anonymous


    The names are absolutely beautiful. I think it will be a great way to keep the family history and tree full. I think it is particularly important when you pick a name to try and include a piece of the family. It seems that you have rolled an entire life cycle from surogacy through family and bundled it into little bundles of joy. You are blessed!!

    Annette Travis

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