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Born into hearts; The Fankhauser Family; NW Indiana Adoption Story


Born into hearts; The Fankhauser Family; NW Indiana Adoption Story

Unexpected Blessings

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! 



Also, just a little reminder that I have some HUGE news to share within my newsletter coming out on Oct. 1st.  Sign up below so that you don't miss out! 


Chosen; Northwest Indiana Lifestyle Family Photographer


Chosen; Northwest Indiana Lifestyle Family Photographer

Chosen and Loved

"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit- fruit that will last."  John 15:16 

Lately I have been so reminded of how I have been chosen, we each have.  And as I reflect in the beauty and peace of this truth, I am reminded that deep down, we each so deeply long to be seen, to be heard, to not be forgotten in this world.  We long to be loved and accepted and CHOSEN. 

Chosen for goodness, 

Chosen for grace, 

Chosen for purpose,

Chosen for calling, 

Chosen for mission, 

Chosen for love, 

Chosen for acceptance, 

Chosen for success, 

Chosen for victory, 

Chosen for value, 

Chosen for identity. 

You, me, together we are by grace CHOSEN.  

And there is no place I would rather be. 


Rest Secure

As we are chosen we are also held within the beautiful arms of Christ.  With Him, we are enough.  No need for crazy fame or perfect lives, for we are enough just as we are.  And even through our mistakes and failures (Which believe me, I seem to run to), He still chooses us time and time again.  We can rest secure that He is there and He sees the rejection around us, He hears the lonely cries we desperately weep through in the darkest hours of the night, He knows the despair and failure that runs through our veins.  And yet, He still chooses us.  We are still enough.  We still have value and purpose.  Because the fact of the matter is that as we surrender ourselves to Him, it is not really us working anymore, but rather Him through us. He is alone our source of strength and wisdom and satisfaction.  And that for me is incredibly freeing.  I may fail in my own strength, or my own plans, but the Lord has a purpose.  And in that I can rest secure. 


Truth over Feelings 

So, looking practically into accepting that we are chosen in our lives each day, I try to remember the truths over my feelings.  Feelings can be so misleading  and can simply distract from the call at hand.  Not to say they are not also good for leaning into intuition and seeking fellowship with others, but they can also lead into paths of deep deep destruction of our minds and thus our actions.  So, here are some practical ways to continue to accept the that you are Chosen for such a time as this: 

1. Repeat truths each morning in front of a mirror.  

This may seem a little silly, but guys there is something about speaking truth, OUT LOUD to yourself, in front of a mirror.  I am able to accept it better and hold onto it better throughout the day.  (When I actually do it.  Speaking to myself as well! ) 

2. Surround yourself with good people. 

Good, genuine friends are so key.  Friends that aren't afraid to go into the hard places with you as well as call out the lies you may be telling yourself and speak truth over you,  Let's be honest that there are seasons where the darkness is so dark that we simply are blinded to the truth of the light and need others around us to lift us into the light.  And that is ok.  Keep good people around you and don't be afraid to approach them for help! (And friends, maybe you are like me and genuine friends are hard to come by, because you don't speak easily to people or put yourself out there enough.  But let me say this.  Pray.  Pray that God will bring that person to you and I believe He will answer!  Pray and be available for an answer.) 

3. Write down the times that God has shown up in your life/ He has chosen you! 

When I am feeling incredibly rejected or unwanted, I try to go back to the times when the Lord has shown up in my life. It reminds me of His faithfulness, His goodness, His truth and how He holds firm to His promises. 

4. Advocate for Yourself! 

Be on your knees before the Lord and ask Him to remind you of how you are chosen and what you are chosen for.  Do not give up on yourself or the plans that the Lord has for you.  For He is good, and although our ways are not His ways, He is so so good.  Remember that He wants the best for us and advocate for yourself! 

5. Cling to the Hope of Christ Always.  

Even if you don't feel chosen, remember that Christ was chosen.  He was chosen to come and rescue the world.  He had an incredibly hard task, the hardest asked of any human, and yet His reward was the most beautiful of all; redemption for mankind.  Just because the road is full of rejection and hurt of the world, cling to the hope of Christ. He just may have something far greater than you could ever imagine in store for you.  You are CHOSEN. 


Adoption Project

Because of this idea: Chosen, my heart is drawn ever so closely to orphans around the world.  My heart bleeds for them, as I feel every child deserves to be Chosen.  Every child deserves a fighting chance to have the best life possible.  I feel I am chosen to advocate these rich stories of hope and bring awareness to others so that it might spur forth change in the lives of others.  There are so many beautiful ways to help orphans around the world.  Maybe it is adoption, or maybe it is supporting an organization that aids in orphan care and family reconciliation.  Maybe it is  aiding in education around the world.  And maybe your call is far beyond orphan care.  But even so, would you partner with me to pray for these children around the world?  Pray that hope might come, that each child in need might be Chosen, taken care of and given a fighting chance at life.  

And even within your own space, how can you bring hope to those who feel forgotten, abandoned, or don't feel chosen?  What is your part?  


What is your Part?

Would you like to help be a part of reducing poverty around the world while also getting gorgeous images of you and your family?  Would you like to come alongside me and celebrate the beginning of a new school year and education here, by also stepping in and helping a child in need receive education as well?  Let's celebrate education together!!  If this is you, keep a look out on my social media handles as I will be announcing all the details coming VERY soon!!! I cannot wait for you to be a part!! 

Let's each do our one thing, our small part to change the world! 

Places to follow along: 

Thank you so much for following along as I combine family and couples photography with humanitarian efforts around the world!! I am so grateful for this space and for each and every one of you!! So rooting for you friends!! Let me know how I can encourage you on your journey! 



Documenting stories of hope around the world: Rwanda : Laura Duggleby Photography


Documenting stories of hope around the world: Rwanda : Laura Duggleby Photography

Stories of Hope 

As you may have heard me mention a time or two now, I deeply strive to advocate rich stories of hope, making extraordinary of the seemingly ordinary throughout my work.  Every story matters, every story is important.  Every story is rich.  I know that stories also contain much heartache and trials and strife.  However, I truly believe that photography can be a part of the healing process.  To bring value and light to the dark and lonely places.  To help us to see beyond the messy and into the chasms of grace.  And, once experienced, the view of life becomes a much different story for us to tell.


Every Life Matters

I believe every life matters.  Every life is important.  The homeless, abandoned and cast aside matter.  The broken, bleeding and bruised matter.  The deserted, targeted and attacked matter.  
Every story matters and every story deserves to be fought for and told.  It is within the broken pieces that others are able to relate and come to find hope and healing as well.  

And with this every culture matters.  From China to India to Africa to the States and everything in between.  People are important and so are their stories.  These images are from my trip this past Thanksgiving to Rwanda with KEFA Project as I was able to document some of the incredible families there.  These families have endured hardship and pain to be sure, but the joy the was felt throughout my entire time there was beyond measure.  There is so much beauty in forgiveness and healing is an incredibly powerful thing.  I so long to have the courage, wisdom and hope of many of the individuals I met.  

To learn more about KEFA Project click


Stories are Powerful

Stories are powerful.  Stories build emotion and can create change.  Think about watching a movie that moves you to change a piece of yourself, or reading a powerful book or poem.  Stories can be told through words, but also through images, and a combination is even moreso.  This is what I strive for.  To create something so much more than pretty images for you to cherish, but rather to tell your story through images.  To capture a moment in time and allow you to breathe life into the image over and over again.  To use each story of hope to encourage another story to rise from the ashes and step into wonderful purpose. 


Will you Join Me in Spreading Hope?

As embark on this journey, I simply ask, is this you?  Are you a family who longs to advocate for hope?  Or do you know someone who is actively living this out?  Maybe they have adopted a child, maybe they are rising from a divorce and learning to hope again, maybe it is recovering from a drug addiction, or aiding in putting an end to sex trafficking.  Maybe it is loving toddlers well as a full time mother, or even more a full time mother also pursuing dreams through a small business.  Maybe it is aiding the homeless or being a light on the soccer field.  The opportunities are endless.  I simply ask you this, is it worth documenting?  Is it worth remembering the value you are holding?  For I know that these images are more than just a pretty picture.  They tell your story, your story that is making a difference in this world, one step at a time.  They are valuable and worth so much more than words can tell.  So, please do not rob yourself of having these beacons of hope surrounding you, on your walls, in your hands, on your screens.  Surround yourself with the hope you are fulfilling so on the rough days you can remember all the good.  And, to go one step further, maybe allow your story to be told to the world.  I can guarantee someone can benefit from your story.  

Your story is powerful.  Let's walk forward to spread hope together! 




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