Jade Chan: The Girl of Many Names
I am a girl of many names, and each one of my names is a different part of me. My name is Jade Shelby Elizabeth Chan Tikvah Leah Tze Sum Shi Yu Han Gurman. Jade, my first name, comes from my grandfather Joseph's name. Shelby, my first middle name, comes from my other grandfather Shelly's name. Elizabeth, my second middle name, comes from my Dad’s first wife’s name; she unfortunately passed away. Her name was Elizabeth (Liz). Jade Shelby Elizabeth Chan is the name on my birth certificate but, the rest of my names are a part of me too.
Tikvah Leah (תקוה לאה) which means Hope Leah, is my Hebrew name, and my parents gave it to me. Tze Sum (慈心) which means Compassionate Heart, is the name my father gave me. Shi Yu Han (施雨晗) which means Sunshine After the Rain, is the name I was given at the orphanage. Gurman is my Mother’s maiden name. These are the names I think of when people ask me what my name is, but I have one other “name”. My foster mother used to call me Bao Bao (寶寶), which means precious.
I was very lucky, unlike most orphaned children in China, as I was only in an orphanage for about one month of my life. I pretty much went straight into the foster care system. My foster mother took care of me since I was one month old, and she prepared me for my adoption. From stories my parents tell me, I know that leaving China wasn’t easy for me, or them. More specifically, leaving my foster mom. They say that I would cry a lot, and wanted to go back. My mom says that my dad was the one that took me away from my foster mother, and I was mad at him for a while. I must have really liked my foster mother. I was very lucky - I had a family, I was taken care of, I was in good health, and most importantly I was loved. I know how lucky I am; I have been loved by someone all my life. That may not seem like a lot, but it is. Not everyone has that opportunity. My parents do so much for me, and I am so thankful, but I don’t always show it. I am able to go to a great school, camp, and I am part of a lot of amazing communities. But like I said I'm a girl of many names.
In honor of my Bat Mitzvah, please consider supporting the foster care system by donating to Love Without Boundaries. Your donation will help pay for the costs of LWB's Foster Care Program, which include expenses such as payment to foster families, supplemental nutrition, warm coats, and other items needed to nurture a child and support their overall health and well-being. Your donation will help to give an orphaned child in China or Cambodia the opportunity to be a part of and to receive the love and care of a family.
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