We have a few family naming traditions with our kids.
When we adopted Camden 13 yrs ago, we kept his family name “Park” as his middle name. Camden Park Ottinger.
Then we adopted Mia. We chose her name before we learned the name her birth mom had given her. We simply picked a name that we loved. Mia Claire Ottinger
Then came Dax. His birth name, Quinton, was a huge confirmation in us knowing he was our son, but that is a whole other story for a different blog post. So he is Dax Quinton Ottinger. Like Camden he has part of his birth name as his middle name.
Next was sweet Mallie. The boys had something in common when it came to their names, maybe we should give the girls something in common too? Check. Mallie Cade Ottinger. Both have M.C.O. as their initials.
Boys the same, girls the same. Check. Check.
Here we are again with a little girl. Do you keep the English name she was given, Yossell, that was a significant affirmation from the Lord on your journey to her? Do you name her something else, where she has something in common with her sisters? M.C.O.? OHH the question. OHHH the decisions.
And the honest reason Part 4 of this post has taken me so long is we could not decide on the middle name!!!!
Her first name is ~~~~~ MAE!
We loved it as soon as we said it. “Mae” is a fitting name for a cutie pie Asian little girl. Think MaeMae.
It is an “M” like her sisters.
There are a number of different meanings for Mae (May) in English. The one that is significant to us is ~ “water”.
A few years ago I went to an adoptive mom’s retreat. During a time of listening prayer the Lord whispered to me “I am the living water. I give life. I restore. I am what your children need. Bring them into my presence. My living water flowing in and through your family will bring them hope and healing.” Great right??? What a beautiful sweet promise from the Lord.
Fast forward a few years. I was teaching at a conference of adoptive moms. The passage of scripture God laid on my heart was the story of Hagar. Without typing out the whole amazing story …the bottom line is the first time in Genesis God found Hagar in the desert she was by a well of WATER. She gave God the name El Roi, the God of Seeing. She had been seen by Him. She named the well of water after a God who sees. The next time God comes to her in the desert her son Ishmael is dying. Their supply of water has run dry. She is crying out in fear and can not even look at her dying son. (if you have not read this story….go read it now…I promise it will bless you!!!). What does God say in response? “I hear the cries of the boy right where he is”. God not only saw HER, but He saw and heard HER CHILD….in HIS pain and RIGHT WHERE HE WAS!!! Oh this speaks deeply to my heart as an adoptive mom who has been separated from my children by oceans, as a mom who has seen my children suffer deeply, as a mom who has almost had a son die more than one time. “Tona I hear the cries of your children RIGHT where they are.” That is healing balm to my soul. Then, as he always does, He provides for Hagar. He opens her eyes to a stream of WATER that was already there. HE SHOWS HER THE WATER OF HIS PROVISION. Water represents life. She and her child will live because He has opened her eyes to the provision of living water.
Mae ~ water. He has opened our eyes to His plans. His provision. Her Life. He will provide. He will bring hope and healing, His flowing water. His restoration. OH MY HEART.
And then…. guess what Mae means in Chinese????? I just looked it up today. Since we are about to tell the world her name is Mae, I thought we had better make sure the Chinese meaning for the word “Mae” is not something horrible!!!
I am literally laughing out loud at God’s goodness. In Chinese Mae means LITTLE SISTER. Oh my stars…… We had no idea!!!! It just keeps getting better!!!! We announced to people that we were adopting again with a picture of the kids holding a sign saying Dax was going to be a big brother. He is going to have a Little Sister!!!! Mallie has been beside herself with joy over having a Little Sister. WE HAD NO IDEA when we picked the name Mae weeks ago that it meant Little Sister!!! I can not stop smiling!!!!!!!
OK on to the middle name:
Like our other girls we thought we would go with M. C. O. so we had a “C” named picked. It was a GOOD one. But it did not “fit”, it was a beautiful story. But just did not fit.
Then we had another “C” picked. It had a great meaning. It meant “knowing”….all the reasons this was significant would take another blog post. But bottom line…. our mantra has been “God SEES us. God KNOWS us. And GOD LOVES us deeply” He is the God of seeing and KNOWING, He is El Roi. Not to mention, if we are honest we have “known” deep in our hearts for over a year that there was something about “Yossell” that was different from all the other waiting children. Then when we got the email Nov 6th. We KNEW she was ours. NO DOUBT. So a “C” name that we love that means “knowing” ~ that is pretty great right?
BUT, we just can not let go of the name and significance of Yossell. She is Yossell. She has been Yossell since the moment we fell in love with her.
SOOO…… we are combining our family naming traditions. An “M” for the girls. A name that is part of her “story” for a middle name like the boys.
Mae Yossell Ottinger it is!!!
So a recap: (read earlier parts of this story for the meanings and stories)
Yossell ~ The English name given to her ~God Adds
Z___ ~ Her Chinese surname ~Boat
You ~ Chinese name ~ You
Y____ ~ Chinese name ~ Want to
Mae ~ Water in English and Little Sister in Chinese
Meaning recap ~ You want God to add a Little Sister
(water & boat have their own sweet meanings & can I say just for fun that “boats” and “water” kinda go together….one of our kids loves this part )
And yes we will post a picture soon =)
Tona for the Ottinger Crew
If you would like to donate to help us adopt Mae Yossell you can click the link below