What I Need

A friend here at the foster home snapped this shot when I was getting to play videographer for a family meeting their daughter for the very first time. Unfortunately for them, video is not my forte. Hopefully it isn’t too terrible. I had a hard time tearing my eyes away from those first few moments of interaction long enough to make sure that the camera was still focused on them. I’m hopeful the end result of my time behind the camera isn’t a bunch of shots of the cement. Andrea, I’m sorry if it is.

I’m still in awe that I get to be a part of moments like this.  To see a family forming is a beautiful thing.  I know the road ahead will have highs/lows, but these first few moments are almost always breathtaking.  I am always awed by how God provides just what these children and families need… there’s something truly holy about the moment they come together.

And yet in my own life, I don’t often remain in a place of trust that God will provide just what I need.  Sometimes I do – and I write touching words about how he is “closer than my skin” – but give me 24 hrs, and you’ll find me frantically trying to construct safety nets and back-up plans.  On Sunday, our teacher said something that is really convicting me right now.  We often like to say things like “seek and you will find” or “Draw near to Him and He’ll draw near to you.”  But then the places where we seek and draw near are often places that we’ve already surrendered.  Those “last frontiers” of our hearts — where we are truly broken and need His healing most of all — those places stay firmly under lock and key.  Firmly under the protection of our safety nets and backup plans.

Over the last year or so, I’ve come to know what many of those places in my heart are.  But I don’t know how to surrender them.  I want to trust Him, for I know that there is healing as I draw near.  There is shelter in His wing.  There is protection and provision if I stay in His shadow.  I know all the right things, but I find that I am my biggest hurdle in truly accepting them.  How do you reconcile the “head knowledge” of who He is with the heart’s fears about who He’s not?


We’re 26 weeks into this journey toward parenthood, and though I know we only have about 3 months left, I’m having a hard time wrapping my mind around it.  We still don’t have a name for this baby; we have some pretty firm ideas on girl names, but still no boy names – and since this little babe is going to be a surprise, we need a better plan than “boy” for the male gender. I feel like we’ve hit a bit of a wall, as I keep suggesting the same names to Jacob and he keeps vetoing them.

Clearly he doesn’t know what a “good name” is.

So for the most part, we’ve just stopped thinking about names.

I thought I’d ask you guys to chip in some ideas… I’m warning you, we’re pretty picky so don’t be surprised if we go with something entirely different than anything suggested. Here are a few general things we like: short names (1-2 syllables) that go well with our last name (McKean; pronounced McCain). Names that aren’t easily shortened or turned into nicknames. Creative/uncommon names (not in the top 50 or anything), but not weird names. A name with a good meaning is a plus.  Names that aren’t confusing to pronounce. 

41 thoughts on “What I Need

  1. God's got you on some incredible journeys right now…and I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if He uses motherhood to teach you “how”. For me, once I could understand a parent's love for their child(ren) my whole relationship with God changed! I'm praying for you, girlie. 🙂

    And, on a different note Cade is my favorite boy name but Andrew wasn't such a fan. Fortunately he can live with Caden, so I guess I got pretty close. I'm also a big fan of Jack and Luke. Hope you find a name that will fit your little one just right! Love you!


  2. Carrie,
    You always seem to say just the things I need to hear. I've said this before, and it's worth repeating– you really should write a book. 🙂

    OK, on to baby names. We have 4 boys and their names are Justin, Evan, Logan, and Jason. Not incredibly popular, just solid, “strong” boy names. . I'm a kindergarten teacher, and here are some other boy names I'm seeing lately–
    Bridger, Cole, Jeffrey, Trevor, Ian, Corbin, Zack, Brayden, Parker, Dylan, Isaac, Caleb.

    You'll have to share some of your favorite girl names with us sometime. 🙂


  3. Cooper, Carter (my best pal in high school), Declan, Sutter, Sidney, Samuel (for this child I have prayed…) & call him Sam, Tucker, and Chase. People always told me to say it sternly or like you were yelling it out into the back yard when your child is being naughty. If you still like it & it feels right, go with it ; )


  4. Yep! You gotta yell the name out as if he/she is running towards the street or warning them of danger.

    Also…the make fun of factor. My kids know a Donald, and they are convinced that his last name is “Duck.” Not cool, and I know it's not totally in all seriousness….Yes…we're working on that with them.

    We are having a boy…and I'm having a hard time with names. I LOVE the name Dash (Daschel) and of course, Mason, Jack, Evan. I also like Roman, and Jude. (especially Jude….I think that will be incorporated into our little guy's name…we'll see) Josiah is also another one. King Josiah was amazing in all that was stacked against him, and all that he overcame.

    You look so beautiful pregnant!


  5. Molly, I LOVE the name Jude! If I could get Jacob to agree to it, that would be the first name for a little guy, for sure. But Jacob isn't a fan. I keep mentioning the name to him randomly, but it turns out familiarity breeds contempt – so it isn't helping my case any. I also like Henry, Sharie! That's one of the few that I thought of that hasn't yet been eliminated by The Eliminator. (Jacob is ridiculously picky, in my humble opinion.)


  6. I know I have told you this before … but I love everything you write. You have a real gift. Thank you for sharing from the heart because your words always minister to mine.
    You look fabulous with child.
    And with four boys named John, Matthew, Jackson and Sam … I don't think creative names are my forte!
    Cannot wait to see what you pick!
    Love & Blessings from Hong Kong,


  7. My favorites right now (it's a long list, but hey, options are good!):

    Bennett, Cade, Cael, Caleb, Carson, Carter, Chase, Cole, Cullen, Dalton, Eli, Gideon, Grant, Graham, Kian, Kieran, Lucas, Mark, Oliver, Owen, Ross, Scott, Taylor, Tyler, Vince, Walker.

    p.s. you're beautiful.


  8. Carrie-I haven't commented for ages, but congratulations on your beautiful bubs on the way!
    My 4 boys names aren't very adventurous-Adam, David, Matthew, Caleb. But I love Caleb, Lucas, Joel, Levi, Eli, Jack, Isaac and Toby. Have fun choosing! The older I get the more names I would love to use-but I don't think I could ever have enough children to use them all!

    blessings from Hong Kong,


  9. Jude is an excellent name! And not very common OR weird. 🙂
    I, too, had trouble with my husband not knowing a “good” name when he heard it. 🙂

    You look beautiful, by the way. Pregnancy suits you!


  10. Ah, yes familiarity DOES breed contempt…that's why Daschel is NO in our home.

    I forgot to mention one other…Levi. We've been kicking that one around too. It's simple, though two syllables.

    That's cool you like Jude…it's a strong name.

    Jack is also another good one. I love calling my oldest son by his middle name of Jack. LOVE IT!!

    If it makes you feel better…This is our 4th child…I and have yet to name a kid. Sure…I got to pretty much 'rule' on the middle names (Joy, Jack, John)….BUT I feel your frustration being married to a picky namer.


  11. You look beautiful pregnant…& I love all that you share here on this site.

    I have no boys, but here are my fave boy names:
    Drew, Noah, Levi, Wesley, Clay

    Good Luck……


  12. Writing about your faith journey is a wonderfully brave thing to do. Thank you for being honest about the rough patches – I find it very encouraging.

    As for a name, our son is Tyler. That name was never really on my dream list but it just fit when we received a referral for a young man from Taizhou. I kind of thought we would naturally call him Ty but as it turns out we use the full Tyler all the time. Picking names is such a fun thing to do. Enjoy and don't stress out over it.


  13. Writing about your faith journey is a wonderfully brave thing to do. Thank you for being honest about the rough patches – I find it very encouraging.

    As for a name, our son is Tyler. That name was never really on my dream list but it just fit when we received a referral for a young man from Taizhou. I kind of thought we would naturally call him Ty but as it turns out we use the full Tyler all the time. Picking names is such a fun thing to do. Enjoy and don't stress out over it.


  14. Asher, Judah, Keagan, Hudson (after Hudson Taylor), Graham (after Billy!), Lincoln, Zane, Quinn, Abbott, Elijah (but that can be shortened to Eli and you don't like shortened names)
    Okay…have fun..maybe it's a girl 🙂


  15. Carrie, I don't have any suggestions for you, but I do want to affirm that living overseas, you want a name that's easy to pronounce–and by non-native English speakers! Turns out that where we are, Sawyer isn't one of those names.:) It's cute to hear him pronounce his own name with a heavy Arabic accent (which he does when he's introducing himself to locals), but if you want people there to be able to say it, be sure to check it out beforehand.


  16. I met a boy yesterday named Harvest. Quite unusual, but wonder if he'll be called “Harvey” someday?

    Don't worry…the name will come! We didn't name our daughter until hours before we met her while we were on the flight to Hunan, China!!


  17. Aw I love the part about connecting the head to the heart…the knowledge to the trust. It reminds me of an older song by Casting Crowns “Caught in the middle” I love that song.
    Sometimes when you write, I'm like, “Is this me writing this?” 😉

    As far as names go…Lane is a great boy OR girl name! 😉 Shameless. Completely shameless.

    AND….you ARE an ADORABLE itty bitty pregnant darling!



  18. Cord was a name I always wanted to use and never got the chance. My great grandmother's name was Cordelia and she was always called Cord (she didn't like Cordelia). She was a wonderful Christian woman and left a lasting impression on me. Cord means rope and my great grandmother was the rope that held our extended family together. She loved her family. The name goes great with McKean as well as McCabe. I would love for you to use the name but will understand if it doesn't hold the same appeal for you and Jacob as it does for my family.


  19. I want to know Caroline's vote, too!! 😉 Names?…hmmmm… I like SO many. I'm kinda on that 'vintage' kick lately… like old names being made new again. Thus, I really do like Henry and Jack. Levi, Jude, Bennett, Quinton (Quinn for short), Isaiah, Landon, Graham… so many good ones, I know you'll pick the perfect name for your little one… girl or boy!! 🙂 You are just cuter than ever with your growing tummy!

    And can I agree with Gwen and Kim!… you really should write a book one day, Carrie… you already KNOW I'm buy'in!! 🙂

    Seriously, your words always speak to my heart so clearly. I think much like you in many ways, so I follow your words so clearly. It is always easier to speak the Word to others and apply it to 'their' lives than to live it out in our own. We know the truth; we know that the more we grasp of it, the more free we will be. Yet the 'faith' to apply to ourselves is sometimes a struggle. But God knows this, too… and He knows your heart and is refining it with each passing day as you seek Him. And 'seek' I KNOW you do!

    These words could have been my own:

    “I know all the right things, but I find that I am my biggest hurdle in truly accepting them. How do you reconcile the “head knowledge” of who He is with the heart's fears about who He's not?”

    It all boils down to real solid FAITH, doesn't it?! “…the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of what is unseen.”

    Keep seeking, Carrie… and I look forward to watching His plan unfold in your life as you do!

    Love ya! <><


  20. OK, boys names- I'm going to transcribe this from our actual (as in WRITTEN DOWN) list that we used to pick both our son's names. I'll start with their two names first since they are clearly our favorites:

    Jude (this would have been either Sawyer or Cooper's names if I could get Scot to agree either time)
    Carson (I really like this one….)
    Hudson (we seriously considered this one for Cooper because of the China link)
    Caleb (GREAT Biblical name)
    Hayden (if we have a third boy ever, this is what we'll use)
    Dallas (another name we had in mind for Sawyer, and if you read any of Dallas Willard's writing, this may have added meaning for you)
    Zane (oops….that one will NOT work with your last name, now will it? Unless you like Dr. Seuss style names! 🙂 )

    If Chloe had been a boy, we were going to name her Nolan. Sawyer narrowly missed being named Noah.

    I like Tonggu mama's suggestion of Joel too. I like that name a lot.

    In my opinion, Carson and Hayden sound best with your last name.

    The more I write the name Carson, the more I like it……it might be my new favorite!!!


  21. I think that Ezra McKean sounds good. Ezra means helper which you could remind him of often when he gets bigger.=) We also have an Abram, and when I think about that name I think about God keeping his promises, even when it seems unlikely.


  22. I'm a name freak! With your last name, I love Isaac, Eli, Henry, Connor, Jordan, Jack, Max. I have an “Adam” which I adore under any circumstances. Molly, Eliza and Hope are my favorite girl names…besides my daughter's name, Grace, which is ridiculously popular in our neck of the woods!


  23. Carrie, just because you are overseas I will share our next boy name with you! 😉 We never tell!

    If we get to have another boy his name will be Asher. It means 'Fortunate; blessed; happy' and of course is one of the 12 tribes of Israel. It is becoming more popular, but I hope that it stays unique for awhile! We don’t have a good middle name for it yet, but that is the easy part!


  24. Hi Carrie, I love the honesty of your posts….thanks for sharing your heart. I agree with Tara about Him using motherhood to teach some incredible lessons, a dependency that might not be there now….

    I had a little giggle when I read about the 'name' game with you and Jacob! When we were awaiting the arrival of Jonathan, Larne was teaching at a boys school and we were looking after a school boarding house of 120 boys. We had the girls' names sorted but when it came to boys….everytime I suggested something Larne would give me some reason why it couldn't be that one, all because of someone he had taught!!!! We didn't decide until just before the big day with Jonathan; and with Sam, we changed what we had planned to call him when we saw him…….plenty of time and lots of suggestions!!!


  25. I like Finn and Max. And our boys are called Harry and Joseph – so obviously I like those too. But if we had another boy, I think he would be Finn.


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