– What’s in a Name?


by Tony Cooper

Prior to this adoption thing, I never put much stock into the worth of a name.  You would think twice after the experience we had with the name of “Max”.  I now know that names have significance to Him.  Also, I have a further confirmation that God has great interest in the details.

In our country, most of us have no idea what our names mean.  Last names, in particular, have little value.  However, growing up, my father and his family – on a consistent basis – would remind all what our last name meant.  My last name – Cooper – means “barrel maker.”  As a child, it was actually annoying hearing this information repeated, as none of my friends had a clue what their name meant.  The mere fact that I even know what my name means adds an element to this story.

On Friday, May the 18th, 2007, as Revonna was readying the family for bedtime, Lillia walked into the bathroom to tell her something.  Out of the clear blue, Lillia clearly wanted to share some information with Mama.  At the date of this happening, we had been home nearly three weeks and, as time had been progressing, the girls are telling us more and more of their history.  So, with this in mind, Revonna had no idea what she was going to say.  Lillia began by saying, “Mama, in Ukraine I’m Bondar.”  From the very beginning of this journey, we knew the children’s given last name was Bondar.  When we were first introduced to the concept, it was by seeing pictures of the girls on a table at a Christian convention in Indianapolis, IN.  After returning home and inquiring further, discovered their ages and their names.  So, from the very beginning, we knew their names.  Not one time did we give any thought to the meaning of their name – not one time.  Actually, the name Bondar is a very simple name for us to pronounce, which is very unusual for Ukrainian names.  Some of the Ukrainian names are a paragraph long and require a great deal of contortion to pronounce.

So, Lillia proceeds to tell Mama, “Mama, in Ukraine I’m Bondar.”  Revonna replied back, “Yes, I know – but what is your name now?”  Lillia’s quick and excited reply was, “Lillia Hope Cooper!”  Lillia then held her hand out above the floor as to charade out something she was trying to say.  Revonna asked if she was trying to say when she was a small child.  Lillia laughingly replied, “No, Mama.”  Then Revonna asked if she was trying to say when she was a baby.  Again, another reply with laughter, “No, Mama!”  At that moment, Revonna was struck as if with a bolt of lightening with an impression that Lillia was trying to tell her what her name meant.  Revonna then said, “You’re trying to tell me what your name means!?”  Lillia responded with a very excited, “Yes, Mama!  Yes!”  Then Revonna asked, “Tell me, what does your name mean?”  At that very moment, Revonna knew exactly what Lillia was trying to say and knew what her name meant!  For confirmation, Revonna continued to let Lillia finish telling her story.  After a few more seconds of charading, Revonna, then with overwhelming excitement said, “Your name in Ukraine means barrel?!”  Lillia’s reply was, “Yes, Mama!  Yes!” but with a shocked look on her face as to why that meant som much to Mama.  Revonna then proceeded to tell Lillia what the name Cooper meant.  Lillia was so surprised.  Then Revonna began to tell her that Jesus had it in His plan all along for them to come to America and be Coopers.

We explained to both girls how God has had His hand on all of their lives and that He intended for them to be our daughters.  They understood and fully realized the significance.

After putting all seven children to bed, Revonna and I went to the computer to see what the name Bondar would translate from Ukrainian into English.  We went to website that allowed us to type in the Ukrainian alphabet so that we could get an exact translation.  We fully expected the response to come back as barrel.  However, when we hit the translate button, the response came back, “Cooperage.”

 The definition of “cooperage” is:  1) The work or business of a cooper; 2) the place were such work is carried on; 3) articles made by a cooper, as barrels or casks; 4) the price paid for a cooper’s work.

Through God’s work through us, these children have gone from inanimate objects to living, producing beings.  God has so much in store for them!  God’s plan is so perfect.  We know that, without a doubt.  He has always intended for these children to be ours.



by Tony Cooper

The Lord is good to us.

Between the time that we were first introduced to the idea of adoption and the time our girls were to arrive for a visit, we had prayed diligently that we were indeed following His will and not just some moment of temporary insanity.  Here and there, we did have moments of being overwhelmed with what we were contemplating so only prayer could reveal to us His will.

 On Monday prior to the girls coming for their summer visit (08/14/2006), Revonna had prayed that we would receive some sort of information on the girl’s little brother.  Up to this point, other than the fact that he was a boy, we had no other information.  On this Monday, Revonna was told that by noon that day we would receive at least some information.  Well, noon rolled around and no info.  In fact, I think about at 1:00 pm that day, Revonna had been told that we would not get any info whatsoever.

 The Lord had already parted the Red Sea for us, however, we needed some more confirmation.  Finding out that we were not going to be getting any further info was self-imposed disheartening.

On that same afternoon, it must have been close to 5:00 pm, an email arrived with two pictures of the little boy.  God is so good.  We were confirmed yet again that we were in His will.  By the way, these two pictures had no name, age or any other info whatsoever.

And yet, after that, we still needed more confirmation.  Without telling me, Revonna had put out a fleece that the boy’s name would have some significance to us.  I suppose her thought might have been that we were going to find out his name and then look it up on the internet to see what the various possible meanings could be… I don’t know.  God is so good.

On August 18, 2006, we picked up our girls at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.  Through the Lord having His hand on us, we were actually allowed to go all the way to the gate and watch them get off the plane, a moment we will never forget.  The next day, when we arrived back home in Tennessee, there was quite a motley crew waiting for us.  So, we arrive at our home and everyone gathers around the kitchen table.  Our next door neighbor, who we have known for 30+ years happens to be Russian.  She comes over to help us translate.

I need to interject here, that while my wife was pregnant with our then 4th child, Chase (our then 3 year old son), began referring to the baby in Mommy’s tummy as Max.  So, for 7+ months, the whole family and all friends referred to this new baby as Max.  We had full intention of having his first name be Max.  I don’t have an explanation, but for whatever reason, just a few days prior to his birth, my wife and I decided on another name for the baby.  So, our newest member of the family became Brock Maxwell Cooper.  We liked the name Max so well that we kept it in there but decided to call him Brock.  Again, I cannot tell you why we made this decision.

Okay, back to the mob surrounding the kitchen table.  We’re sitting around the table and we are asking the girls questions like “are you hungry,” etc.  After a few moments, Revonna had our neighbor ask the girls about their brother.  Remeber, I have no clue as to my wife setting a fleece out as to the boy’s name.  So, with the motley crew intently listening, our neighbor asks the girls, “What is your brother’s name?”  Lillia immediately replies back, “Maksim!”  The whole room went up in a “Wow!”  I felt my spirit stir.  Then my wife reveals to those in the room her fleece.  God is so good!

The age difference between Brock and Max is a little over 8 months.  I’ll let you fill in the blanks.

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