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Our history.

Amanda arrives.

In December 1999, Sarah and Jim Otis adopted Amanda, a scrappy but cautious nine-year-old girl. Amanda had spent three years in foster care through Lucas County Children Services (LCCS). Following the direction of LCCS, Sarah and Jim prepared their home and were ready to welcome Amanda with love, God’s guidance, and the support of a loving church and family.

Accompanied by her caseworker, Amanda arrived on Otis’s doorstep carrying two black garbage bags containing her belongings. In front of Sarah and Jim stood their new child, who until then had only experienced trauma and hurt, holding her entire lifetime’s possessions in a pair of trash bags. They felt it was demeaning to Amanda and knew there must be a better way.

The Otis Family

The beginning of Love and Luggage.

Around 2010, the Otis family began kicking around the concept of what would become Love and Luggage. In 2018, they started having conversations with LCCS. Sarah and Jim had no desire to create another nonprofit in Northwest Ohio; however, applying for grants from donors such as the Greater Toledo Community Foundation required being a registered 501(c)(3). Therefore, partnering with an existing local nonprofit that worked with foster youth was the ideal solution.

Eventually, Love and Luggage became a program of the Adopt America Network. What began as a mutual connection is a supported program encouraging adoption and healthy relationships for those in foster care.

Today, Amanda is a married mother of two. Although she struggles with mental health issues related to her early childhood trauma, Amanda has learned to cope and manage life successfully.

About our founders.

Sarah and Jim Otis were raised in Maumee, Ohio, and attended Maumee High School, Morehead State University, and Bowling Green State University. The couple has two daughters (Claire and Amanda), two sons-in-law, and four grandchildren.

Sarah has more than 40 years of nonprofit experience, working with organizations such as Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity, Maumee City Schools, YMCA of Greater Toledo, and Girl Scouts of Western Ohio. After 35 years in retail management, Jim is a driver for StoryPoint Senior Living.

Sarah and Jim are active at First Presbyterian Church and in the Rotary Club of Maumee.