This week I have the pleasure of introducing the Fankhauser adoption story to you. As I began listening to their story, it became very evident to me, that their story was quite unique, quite a bit different than the stories I have encountered thus far, and yet every bit as powerful and beautiful.
Now, the Fankhauser's on top of having a unique adoption story, also have a unique factor in their family in the fact that both mother and father are named Jamie. :) So, to be able to keep matters clear I will title Mother Jamie as Jamie (M) and Father Jamie as Jamie (F). Jamie (M) and Jamie (F) have 3 beautiful daughters, Brooke, Brianne, and Ava. Brianne is now married to Carson.
The story began in 2000 when Jamie (M) began feeling a call upon her heart to adopt. Jamie (F) did not feel called to this at first, but in time, he too could not shake the feeling that adoption would be in their path for them. After lots of prayer, and just having different things happen around them, they felt called to adopt through Romania. They went through all the steps, paperwork, and all. However, after they had been matched with a beautiful boy in Romania, Romania closed it's doors to international adoption. Romania had promised already matched parents that their adoptions could still hold firm, yet after visits to country, visits to DC and meetings with even the Prime Minister of Romania, they discovered that they adoption process was not going to go through.
Heartbroken and devastated from the loss of a child, after official word had arrived a snowy morning, Jamie (M) received a call from a wonderful woman who was looking for a home for her baby girl.
Stepping Forth in Courage
From here a beautiful relationship formed. And if you have ever met Jamie (M) than you know, that she is one of the kindest, most patient women that you will encounter. Jamie (M) and Jamie (F) began to form a relationship with this woman. They got to know her on a deeper level, and truly see the genuine love that she had for her child. She truly wanted her child. She wanted the best for her, but with no Father and not much of any family support in the picture, she was considering placing her child for adoption, so that her baby girl might have the best possible life she could. And, she found that in the Fankhauser's. And, in 2006, the Fankhauser family welcomed Ava into their family. Jamie (M), Jamie (F), Brooke and Brianne were in love. They say that Ava was "born into their hearts" and I don't think could be any more accurate. Ava's older sister's adored her. Her Father and Mother lavished their love upon her. She was and is treasured, and valued to be sure.
Ava has had the amazing chance to meet her birth mother and her siblings. She knows that she in incredibly loved not only by her parents and family here, but also by her biological mother as well. She is seen, heard, loved, safe, a breath of life to the Fankhauser family. She truly is a ball of joy and delight. Ava can tell you all the details of what is going on around her, and make you feel warm and treasured all at once. She is a special one for sure, and the entire Fankhauser family knows they won a rare jewel the day she was born into their hearts, into their lives.
And guys, can I just say what a need the world has for people like the Fankhauser's to be willing to bridge the gap for some of the mother's who feel they don't have other options. Who feel overwhelmed, incapable, alone and scared. I so appreciate the way in which they said yes to the call placed right in front of them, even admit some hard rejection. Saying their small yes to their specific calling, thus changing not only Ava's life forever, but also their other two daughter's lives, and Ava's birthmother's life. The affect ripples and the love is spread in the sacrifice of saying yes to the right yes before you.
Rooted in Love
I love the Fankhauser story and how they are so rooted in their love for Christ that they literally went to the ends of the earth trying to adopt their little boy from Romania, but when all fell through, they could continue to trust that God was good, that God had a plan and that He was preparing them for a different journey, still just as beautiful and more rewarding than they could ever imagine. Not without struggles and heartache to be sure, but beautiful just the same. And, something I find incredible, is the way the Lord worked over their situation. As they were in the adoption process through Romania, they were able to provide their hopeful son with a foster family in the waiting process. When items fell through with the Romanian government, even though Jamie (M) and Jamie (F) were not able to physically bring home their son, they could rest assured that he was well taken care of, within a loving family, and able to be out of the orphanage. So, truly, they were able to bless two lives through the process. What could have potentially been seen as a disaster, was used for good. God had a plan through it all, and that is such a beautiful thing within adoption. We are not anything miraculous, we just get to be a part of the plan He is setting forth before us, and go out and make ripples of love to the world. Yes, it requires sacrifice, but the reward far outweighs it all.
Advice to those who are seeking Adoption:
The Fankhauser's suggest to anyone seeking adoption to first trust God. Trust God in it all, no matter how hard. Secondly, make sure you really are the right family. Make sure you are adopting for the right reasons and out of a genuine heart. Adoption is a life long journey, a life long commitment. So although a huge blessing, there should be proper intentionality placed on it as well. And finally, make sure everything is solid at home. Adoption is a large transition. It is a huge change, stretching family members, resources, time and attention. Make sure the important relationships are in check before adding more to the mix. Everything will run more smoothly in turn.
Letter to the Fankhauser's
The evidences of grace run deep through you. The beauty of peace washes over you. You welcome with open arms and satisfy the desires of attention and worth. You are each warm and kind. You pay careful attention to love, and to love well. There is a special connection, a unique gift woven into the fibers of your family. Your love sinks deeper than just blood and duty, but rather stems out of gratitude, grace and goodness. You rejoice in each other and smile at the days together. You are uniquely crafted and yet perfectly designed as one. You are the perfect fit, the amazing weave. You are a treasured prize.
Brooke- Goodness, your love for people and for your sisters runs deep. You are truly a free-spirit with the kindest heart around. You make sure everyone is taken care of, without wishing to be in the spotlight. You are blooming right where you are planted, and the colors shine forth so brightly from the deep roots you have planted. Keep watering my friend, for your impact to the people around you is a treasured gift.
Brianne- Your joy, enthusiasm and rich love of hospitality is a so fun to be around. You welcome those around you with open arms. You see the incredible details in those around you, you speak truth over them, and rejoicing with them. You love your husband so well, and have the sweetest compassion towards Ava. Your heart is pure and kind, and I am sure you always light up a room as you enter.
Ava- Filled with every bit of love, compassion and joy. You serve so well sweet girl, and pour yourself out for others. You are this miracle gift to your family. It is insane how much your parents and sisters (and Carson) dote over you. You are incredible Ava. Don't ever lose your spirit of curiosity, and wonder, as it is going to take you on some incredible adventures, and those around you will be blessed.
Carson- Caring and humble. You love Brianne so so well, and are truly are the best big brother to Ava I'm sure!! You serve well, and stand firm in tenderness. You are thoughtful and generous with your words, your actions, and you are such a great fit for this family! I know the Fankhauser's adore you!
Jamie (F)- The Best Dad around. I love how the girls joke with you, and the joy you bring to their faces. They know that they are each delighted in by their Father. And the way that you speak to and encourage and uplift Jamie (M) is the most beautiful thing. Your children understand true love because of the way you treat your beautiful wife. And you are such a shining example of leading in love and compassion, paving the way for peace within your home. You lead well and your children know their worth and value due to the way you have brought security and attention to them.
Jamie (M)- There are some people in this life who are just innately special. Who radiate a genuine sense of beauty about them. Not by any standards of this world, but by far greater standards. That of love, and joy, patience and kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control. There is something so precious in the way you love on your girls, the way you watch over each person in your family, making sure they are taken care of, provided for. You truly are the Mama Bear of the family, and I know your girls wouldn't want you any other way!
Thank you guys so incredibly much for being willing to share your story with me! I know that this connection goes far beyond images taken at the beach, and I just feel incredibly grateful to have experienced the loving kindness of your story and relationship. Be blessed my friends!
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