To be born on Thursday, God willing, will be our third daughter. Number one was born in the United States, though conceived in Jordan. Number two was born in Tunisia, and in a few days a third birthplace enters our family. The Arabs call such terminology ‘masqat ras’, or literally, ‘the place your head falls. If all goes well, it will simply be into the hands of the doctor.
In Julie’s family every child – five altogether – was born in the same town; in mine, three of four of us were born in different states. We are taking it a notch up by changing up the countries. While we don’t know the laws in detail, let us anticipate an oft-asked question: No, our children do not have dual citizenship. From what we have learned, our kids are Americans, though we hope of course that they will consider themselves more than that.
We are aware such nonchalance is open to critique: We get the privileges of our nationality, should we not take more pride in this association? We are glad to be Americans, and we look to represent her well overseas. There is a certain perspective, though, that moderates one’s patriotism while living overseas.
While this seems unavoidable to us, we have seen others who do their best to resist. This comes in two forms. Either one becomes a super-patriot, or else winds up near-denouncing every flaw exposed in cultural comparison.
We hope we can avoid either extreme, and the ‘sense of belonging’, we think, is an aspect of appreciation. Belonging need not be singular; since we have the freedom to belong to the place we reside, we can also belong to the place of passport. These are not mutually exclusive, though there is mutual negotiation between these and our other identities.
So when we say above that we hope our daughters ‘will consider themselves more than’ Americans, it is in hope that a particular identity will predominate. This is that they belong to God, even while they can belong to the cultures in which they live and move and have their being. We hope the names we give them contribute to this.
With daughter number one, we chose the name long before birth, and told everyone in advance to the point she became a relationship with all even at four or five months in utero. With daughter number two, we played a game letting family and friends guess between five names we liked, and the whole while we even wavered ourselves, privately, as to which we would choose. Daughter number three is a child of the blog, and thus we will put this out there for all to see and participate in. Poor girl.
In any case, please play along. The names we choose need to be at least somewhat manageable in both English and Arabic. That may not be a great clue for too many of you, but it is something to work with. The other hint is that it will follow the pattern set by our first two, though we leave it to you to figure out how. I’d say it’s a loose pattern, to save you mathematical minds from computing the numerology.
Emma Hope Casper
Hannah Mercy Casper
We really couldn’t think of a prize, especially given that this ‘contest’ is open to our general readership, so if you would like to suggest your reward along with your guess, all reasonable offers will be considered. Please leave your name choice in the comments, and everyone can join in the fun. Especially us.