Sept 22nd Luncheon Invitation: BOLD CHURCH: How the local church can engage Foster Care & Adoption

Memphis area pastors, ministry leaders, and anyone who is passionate about how the church can serve local foster care you are invited to attend a lunch September 22nd for “BOLD CHURCH: How the local church can engage Foster Care & Adoption”

Some foster care facts we as the local church must reconcile:
  • Less then 3% of foster children will ever graduate from college
  • Foster children are 7x more likely to be convicted of a crime then the general population (vast majority of men & women incarcerated in Memphis have spent time in foster care)
  • 40% of foster children are homeless within 12 months of aging out of the system
We will hear from Robert Gelinas (

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Robert is a pastor as well as founder of Project 1:27.  Project 1:27‘s simple goal: empty the Colorado foster care system of the almost 900 children available for adoption through raising up families in the church.

We will also hear from a Representative from the Department of Children Services (DCS) on tangible ways your church can engage and serve the foster children of Memphis.

When: Monday, September 22nd, 2014 – 11:30am-1pm

Where: Service Over Self (2505 Poplar Ave.)

RSVP: By Thursday, Sept. 18th (No cost, lunch provided)

Hope to see you there,

It Official!!!

We are officially a family of 8!!!! We stand in awe of God’s continued blessings in our life.

The day started out w/a bit of concern. Fin woke up after 12 hours w/out any urine in his diaper :(. We we immediately worried that he was holding fluid and his ascites (fluid in the free space of the abdomen that happens to people w/liver disease) was worsening. We called and chatted w/the American doctor that serves here in China and overseas the care of all the Show Hope kiddos. We decided that if he continued on that path through the day that in the afternoon, we would head to the orphanage to have the nurse examine him.

But by the time we got to the registration office to finalize the adoption he had a full diaper!!!! Needless to say we all did a happy diaper dance (not the first in our family and probably not the last) :)

After a few more adoption appointments w/the group and our guide, we ventured out to Walmart and Burger King on our own. Crazy how good a little comfort food can taste after a week!

We saw more and more of their personalities shine through today.

Fin is reserved and observant but when he laughs oh my stars you have never seen anything like it. Adorable!!!!!! He gets giddy at night when he is tired. He is slow to get moving when he wakes up. He feels 100% free to shake his head no when he does not want something. And today boy was he ever a head shaker :). From an attachment perspective, I am so happy about that. It means he feels free to express himself. He was a much pickier eater today and we skipped bath tonight. If he shook his head then momma and daddy listened :). We are all about building trust and connection. Lots and lots of yeses as we start getting to know one another. He wanted Mia to scratch his back at bedtime again tonight. Love the relationship they are building. Today we discovered he loves putting things in bags and carrying them around. He likes to drink water over juice. He loves yogurt and banana. He points at buses that pass by (his brothers will be so proud). He takes medicine like a champ. I am concerned about how jaundice he is and praying he stays stable until we get home. He is an absolute doll and we are in love.

Little Miss Mae is a firecracker. Oh my goodness she is such a tiny adorable stinker. She holds on to her paci w/an iron clad fist. I am guessing the nannies had already taken it from her, so when I handed it to her I won mother of the year award. We gave it back to her for attachment and comfort and she LOVES it. No regrets (remind me of that if she still has it at 5). She will eat ANYTHING and ALOT of it. Today she ate noodles w/veggies, watermelon, bread, rice crackers, yogurt, congee, rice cereal, banana, cantaloupe, snack crackers, and grapes. And she is tiny. She is 2yrs old and wears 12-18 month and the only shoes I brought that fit her are a size 4 sandal I can tighten. She was free with her giggles today. She was also free w/her grunts and finger pointing to make her wishes known. Once again from an attachment perspective,I am so happy about that. She loves things w/lids, books, her photo album we sent, bath time, stacking cups, and of course her paci. She loves handing me things and waiting for me to thank her…so cute. She and Mallie are developing a sweet connection which thrills Mallie to pieces. She had a runny nose when we got her yesterday and went ahead and started her on antibiotics last night. She has a nasty bark like cough that got worse through the night. Our guide got us some natural Chinese medicine today. Please pray it helps her. She is beyond adorable and I think we have our hands full :). We are smitten.



Tomorrow, Tomorrow, I Love Ya Tomorrow…

In exactly 12 hours we will be on a bus heading to meet our precious babes!!!!!!!

Please pray for their hearts as they sleep for the last time in the comfort and security of all they have known.

Please pray for the nannies that have cared for them as they say good bye.

Tomorrow is a new day not only for Fin and Mae but for our whole family!!!

Tomorrow the Ottingers become something new. We will change and transform as we make space for two new little people with unique personalities, gifts, strengths and weaknesses. They will change us. They will take us to new and good places. And for that I am beyond excited!!!

Praying I can get a good nights sleep tonight. It might be my last for awhile :).


It is time to share… (and an AWESOME Memphis t shirt)

If you have been following our journey, there is a piece of our story it is time to share…

God writes beautiful beautiful stories. They are not without loss and pain but they are beautiful none the less.

Some have asked us if we have known about Fin since fall 2012 (as long as we have Mae) why didn’t we start his adoption at the same time as we did hers? IE. Why did her adoption start in Nov 2013 and his March 2014?

The answer? He had a family pursing him, the Johnson’s. We knew them via social media and common friends. We were cheering them on from Memphis. They are a lovely lovely family that love him w/all their heart. They began their pursuit of him from the moment they saw his picture in the same Show Hope newsletter we did in the fall of 2012. They were one week from getting on a plane to fly to bring him home and God told them to stop. He told them no. As we can only imagine how painful that would be. They grieved, prayed, cried, and sought council. It was a “no”. We were among a few to get the email they wrote to close friends and family sharing their heart break. We cried and prayed.

B/c God writes stories we could never script we received their news just hours after learning the other little boy we were pursuing in China had been matched w/another family.

After processing through our heart break for our friends loss, we began to wonder if Quentin (Griffin) was in fact OUR son. We loved him deeply and had prayed, cried, and sought The Lord on his behalf. I must admit I had mixed emotions when we initially learned he had a family pursuing him. There was a twinge of loss in the news. I swept it away and began to celebrate the fact that he had a future and a hope with an amazing family. But unknown to us and them, God wasn’t done with the story.

Our desire is to both honor the Johnsons and their journey, as well as Griffin’s story. We can’t understand God’s ways but we know He is God. I have a love and deep respect for them. I hold their loss and decision w/the utmost respect.

They own a company called Vintage Franklin that designs and sells t shirts and posters.
They are giving 100% of the profits from August 1st- 30th to our adoption and medical expenses!!!!!

Vintage Franklin Fundraising Page

They designed a Memphis t shirt just for us. I love it!!!!!!!

They also have Nashville, Franklin, Boston, and Chicago t shirts and posters that I love!!!! Click on one of the links above to make a purchase that will financially support our journey and get you some crazy cool product in return :)!

We know God knit our families together. We are continuing to pray for the Johnson’s as God reveals His plan to them. We deeply appreciate them supporting us on our journey w/Fin (Griffin Quentin) and Mae.

This story is in fact a “glorious unfolding”

(And yes it is 4:30am here and I am wide awake. In a few short hours we will be face to face with our babies!!!!!)



We are…. in. the. same. city. as. Fin. and. Mae. Eeeeekkkkkk!!!!!

We landed in Zhengzhou around 2:30. Got to our hotel around 4. Settled in then went on our first solo adventure- Chinese food for dinner followed by a visit to a local convenient store.
We had to order by pointing to pictures. We are not in Hong Kong anymore folks.

A Few thoughts:

1.Of over 300 people on our plane we were the only Caucasians.
In a city of 7 million we have seen 1 other Caucasian so far. Loving that. But boy o boy are we being stared at. To be totally honest, if I had a bottle of black hair dye I might apply it. I have never wanted to blend in more in my life. I am glad to experience a moment of being a minority and truly think everyone should feel this at some point in their life.

2. After Mallie and I went through immigrations the immigrations worker asked Mia if Mallie was her sister. Yikes. So glad Mia answered firmly and quickly. My heart was racing. I could tell he was not used to seeing the likes of us. I have heard of too many horror stories. I was sooooo happy when we were all together on the other side of that.

3. The city is crazy fast moving. There are scooters zipping down the sidewalks where people are walking. It is nutso. Mallie almost got hit :(

4. The part of the city we are in is cleaner and nicer than I imagined.

5. Chinese people are SOOO kind. They are so accommodating and helpful. Just lovely.

More to come soon.
Tomorrow the rest of our travel group gets here. We will travel to the bank and Walmart. Yep. Asian Walmart.

Only 2 more sleeps!!!

News on Fin!!!

Just got this news from Friday!!!!!!

Zheng Xiao Qun has been discharged from Tianjin Hospital and should arrive at our Zhengzhou Special Care Unit this evening. We will do our best to keep him well until his family meets him, and we plan on sending him with enough medicine to last until after he gets home. Thank you!

Oh happy happy day!!!!!!

Oceans, Moments, Attachment, and Monday

I am wide awake at 2:45am in Hong Kong. Gotta love jet lag.
Perfect time for an update.

We’ve had an amazing time in Hong Kong. It has been short but ohh so so so sweet.

Yesterday we went shopping at Stanley market and stopped by one of my favorite places on earth – Sheck O beach. A beautiful beach, tucked in the midst of mountains, nestled on the South China Sea. It takes my breath away.

As we hopped back in the car…what was on the radio? Hillsong’s Oceans. (If you don’t know… it google it. Amazing) It has been “my song” on this adoption journey. A sweet friend even gave me a necklace w/part of the chorus on it last week. So I promptly asked our sweet friends and kids just to give me a “moment” with the song turned up to breathe it all in. To remember. To be still. Just a moment.

A moment I deeply needed before stepping into this next phase of parenting. To remember WHO is with us on this journey. Whose sovereign hand will be our guide.

In just a few short hours we hop on another plane to Zhengzhou Henan.

We have not gotten any more updates on Fin so we are assuming he has made or is making the journey back to Zhengzhou too. Please pray that is the case. Pray for a stable little dude who can manage the next few weeks of travel.

Monday 8/4 is the day (Sunday night in the states). The day we have been praying for since the fall of 2012. And while we are soooooo crazy excited we are also grieving for Fin and Mae. They are about to have their whole world turned upside down and all they know taken away. It is a necessary part of their journey. But it is another loss and more trauma for them.
Please join us in praying for their hearts and minds. Please pray for us as we walk with them through this transition. We have no idea how they will respond but my gut is sweet Mae is going to struggle deeply. She is shy, reserved, and leery of strangers. She may struggle more in the beginning but attach faster to one of us once she warms up . Fin has had more transition and hospitalizations so he might be accustomed to more caregivers and not be attached to any one particular nanny. So in the beginning, he might appear like he is doing fine, but struggle later to attach to us as primary caregivers. Of course this is just speculation at this point. But what we know for sure is we have emotional work to do with them. In the world of attachment, both scenarios are hard. Both come out of loss and pain.

Please pray for their hearts to feel safe and secure. For the minds to be free from anxiety. For their bodies to not shut down in fear and regress in their health. For their sensory systems to not be over loaded. For peace to reign over them and us.

Only T.W.O. more days!!


Hong Kong, Healing, and Homecoming

The moment you experience and touch your child’s culture for the first time with them when they are old enough to understand and take it all in, is overwhelming in the most amazing and beautiful way.

I have been a teary mess all morning. Sure it could be…….exhaustion, jet lag, the anticipation of seeing Fin and Mae in a few short days, the unknowns with Fin’s health, but more than anything today my tears belong to Mallie.

They are all hers.

As we planned our trip to China we were given an option of coming through Beijing (what most adoptive parents do) or coming through Hong Kong. For us there was no question – Hong Kong. Mallie’s city. While I wish we were experiencing the Great Wall and Tiananmen Square I would NOT TRADE these day in Hong Kong with Mallie for anything in the world.

Seeing her feel, taste, hear, smell, and experience Hong Kong is AMAZING. It is touching, something beautiful and deep and real in her heart, in a way nothing else ever could. Being the majority. Being with her people. Walking the same streets her birth mom walked. Eating her “happy” food. JUST BEING HERE. It is such a gift. One I knew I would treasure…but never could have imagined it would be this fantastic. Her love tank is so so full.

Happy Homecoming Mallie.

Mommy and Daddy are storing this time up with you in your city sweet girl. We love you like crazy!!!




On our way…

We flew Memphis to Chicago early this morning.
We are about to board to Hong Kong. We will stay there w/ dear friends a few days before traveling to Fin and Mae’s city Zhengzhou, Henan on Saturday.

Excited that Mallie gets to experience Hong Kong, where she is from, even for a few days. It is such a gift to her heart.

If Fin is healthy enough, we get them both on Monday Aug 4th, which is Sunday Night USA time. If not, we will get Mae that day and make another “Fin plan”.

My next blog post will be from C.H.I.N.A.!!!!!!!


A little on…..Fin’s Health, Travel Options and a Way to Give

I can not even begin to describe how “fundraising weary” we are. Constantly asking for money makes you eat HUMBLE PIE every. single. day.

When we first started falling in love with Fin and Mae we knew a large part of our journey as their parents was going to be fundraising, for both their adoptions and their medical needs and possible liver transplants.

We wrestled. And wrestled. And cried. And wrestled. And cried more and more and more.

Somewhere in the midst of that emotional tussle Mark and I began to feel stronger, more committed, more prepared to lay ourselves humbly down, more committed to opening ourselves up, more willing to change and grow, more willing to daily live in a way that needs others, more willing to be a conduit of God’s provision for 2 more beautiful lives. Fin and Mae.

They are worth it. They are worth every single fundraising ask. Every single struggle. Every single fear. Every single person that misunderstands. Every single thing we have already done and all that is still to come. Their stories are still unfolding. We have only just begun. We will keep eating “humble pie” as long as we need to for the sake of our kids.

We can not walk this journey alone. As much as I want to. As much as I want to be self sufficient, independently wealthy, and able to do this ALL ALONE. We can’t and I don’t think we are supposed to. I think God has a bigger more amazing story to write. One that includes miracles, provision, people, and community.

So in light of that….we just posted this on CrowdRise:

You can follow this link: Fin and Mae Fund

We are overwhelmed and humbled with the generosity of so many who have already contributed to our adoption of Fin and Mae. When we set out on this journey we had no idea how supported and loved we would feel this close to getting on an airplane to get our kids.

Both Fin and Mae have a congenital liver disease called Biliary Atresia, which often requires a liver transplant. Both of them have been stable since last year, but just 1 week before traveling to pick them up in China, we have learned that Fin’s health is declining.

There is still much uncertainty, but we are traveling as planned on July 29th. We hope and pray he will be stable enough to travel home with us Aug 15th.

Since this news, several friends and family have asked how they can give towards the upcoming expenses we will incur. Once again the community of people who are pouring out love and support overwhelms us. We are in AWE. AMAZED. HUMBLED.

We are preparing for many options:

1. Our hope is to bring Fin home right away and get him medical attention here in Memphis ASAP. This might include going straight into the hospital and being listed for a liver transplant right away.

2. If Fin is close to being healthy enough to travel home, but misses our adoption appointment already scheduled for Aug 4th/5th, then one of us will stay in China to get custody of him separate from Mae. The other parent will bring Mae home as planned on Aug 15th.

3. If he is too sick to travel within the next moth, then we will both bring Mae home and one of us will travel back to China to bring him home as soon as he is stable enough to travel.

All of those options include expenses we were not expecting to incur at all or in terms of medical expenses we were not expecting them to come this quickly.

The fastest way to mobilize giving is to use a platform like this one (CrowdRise). If we get home and know we are moving towards transplant, we will most likely change to another organization that specifically raises money for children’s transplants and oversees the use of those funds for the lifetime of the child. But with the uncertainty and time crunch we cannot set that up yet.

As we know of specific expenses we will adjust our “to be raised” amount (in CrowdRise). So please don’t be surprised if that amount increases over the next few days, weeks, or months. We want to be good stewards of all the money that has been entrusted to us for the adoption and medical care of our kids.

Fin and Mae Fund