I had a very odd dream on the eve of Thanksgiving in 2004. A woman who looked like Kate Hudson handed me a very trendy Moses basket with a perfectly blond, blue-eyed baby boy inside. She looked me in the eyes and said, â€œHere is your new baby, Liam.â€ I looked at her incredulous and responded, â€œThis is not my baby! My baby is going to have dark hair and her name will be MatÃ©a. She will be from God not from a Hollywood starlet.â€ Then I woke up laughing and fascinated that I used the name MatÃ©a. I had never heard that name before. As I rubbed the flaky mascara out of the corners of my eyes, I remember thinking, â€œMatÃ©a? What an unusual and fantastic name.â€
My husband and I had already started talking about adopting. We had two children aged 13 and 6 at the time. We had never discussed names and hadnâ€™t even finished our homestudy yet. We were pretty sure, however, that we would adopt from Guatemala. I clumsily found my way into the kitchen, desperate for a cup of coffee. Just as I was about to grab the beans to grind, my husband peaked his head out from under the music magazine he was reading and said, â€œIf we have a little girl, letâ€™s name her TÃ©a.â€ In shock I told him about my dream of the baby girl named MatÃ©a (TÃ©a could be her nickname).
Christmas shopping was in full swing and I hadnâ€™t been successful in finding the meaning of the name MatÃ©a. After shopping in a Christian bookstore, I realized I had forgotten a gift and ran back into the store. In the â€˜wrongâ€™ section of the bookstore (in the toy section) I found a book on Hebrew names. Under the name â€˜MatÃ©aâ€™ I saw the meaning. MatÃ©a meant â€œgift from God.â€ Wow! I then noticed that a scripture was written by her name:
â€œFor it is by grace you have been saved, through faithâ€”and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of Godâ€” not by works, so that no one can boast.â€ (Ephesians 2:8-9)
In November 2005 at the age of eight months, we brought home our Guatemalan baby girl MatÃ©a. We tell her that we didnâ€™t name her but that God did.
When MatÃ©a was about a year and a half, she shouted out after a prayer a joyous, â€œAmen Jesus,â€ sounding like Aretha Franklin or James Brown. The other night (at the age of 5) she was sleeping on a sleeping bag in our room (she does that sometimes) and shouted out in her sleep, â€œPraise you Lord!â€ And this past weekend after I came home from a womenâ€™s retreat, she proceeded to hand me a picture that she had drawn in my absence. At our retreat five women prayed over each other. Three prayers stood out as significant: one prayer warrior envisioned a rainbow with hearts over a woman who had endured much heartache, proclaiming Godâ€™s covenant and love; another prophetic prayer was over a woman who saw the gift of healing poured into another womanâ€™s hands; and the last was about a joyful heart. Upon arrival home, MatÃ©a handed me picture of a rainbow with hearts, a hand glued to the rainbow and a cut-out heart with the word â€œjoyâ€ written in it.
MatÃ©a is a gift from God. She continues to remind us that it is Jesusâ€™s grace that saves us and even names us sometimes.