What’s In A Name

In March of 2019, more than a year before I cracked open most of my adoption story, I drafted a Slice of Life I never published- about my name. Today I’m returning to that draft. Revising. Ready to publish.

The nuns who cared for me in the convent orphanage called me Mary Ellen. When they nestled me in my mother’s arms four weeks after I was born, they did not share an explanation for my name. Perhaps there wasn’t one. I was born to an unwed Irish Catholic couple my parents were told. Mary Ellen was a good Irish Catholic name. She was a nurse they were told. She wanted me to be raised in a Catholic home. They were not told that her name was Mary Ann. Perhaps the nuns did not know. My parents changed my name to Lisa. They gave me a middle name, Siobhan, to honor my Irish heritage. It’s a name I have always cherished, sometimes wishing it was my first name. Turns out the unwed couple married and I am the eldest of their three children. My two siblings have Irish names that begin with the letter S. This is what we share. 


Thank you, Two Writing Teachers for hosting the annual Slice of Life Challenge. My life would be smaller without writing. I am proud to be participating in my 10th annual SOL writing challenge with you.

6 thoughts on “What’s In A Name

  1. I loved reading your adoption story, and seeing the accompanying photos, back in 2019. From Mary Ellen to Lisa Siobhan… what a fascinating story. I love that your parents gave you Siobhan as your middle name to honor your Irish heritage.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The simple sentences and the shortness of this post hide the complexity of all that is going on within it. I don’t think it’s only because I know more about the situation that makes this post so emotional.

    Also, I LOVE the name Siobhan. It was my choice for one of the girls, but a tough sell because of the spelling.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for sharing not just this slice, but also the information about how it came to be here. Revisiting writing can yield such gold.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My mom was adopted in the late forties and connected with her birth mother decades later. She connected with half-sisters on her birth father’s side within the last five years. I am always fascinated and in awe of adoption stories. For me, it is intriguing learning more about family I am linked to yet never knew.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh wow, that is an amazing story. Names are fascinating and how they are chosen. I have a cousin called Mary Ellen, I had no idea it was Irish Catholic (as she was neither). I was a bridesmaid at her wedding. Thanks for sharing something so deep.

    Liked by 1 person

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