Thursday, August 12, 2010

Newspaper Story

This is an article that ran in our local newspaper as a letter I wrote to our daughter. Some of you have asked me to post it on the blog so here it is.

The Funkhouser family of Kiel would like to adopt a girl from Ethiopia. In order to do so they have been raising funds through home-baked items and their garage sales. The whole family has joined in the effort to give a little girl they have never met a loving home. For more information visit The family will be having another garage sale in August.

 Letter to soon-to-be-adopted daughter

Our dearest daughter,

Even though we have never met, you need to know how much you are loved and wanted in our open arms.

As we live and breathe in our commitment of love and strong family values, we wish for nothing more than to adopt you and share this love we have for you with you. Our home is full of laughter and happy children waiting for the chance to make you part of their lives, and we are determined to give you a new home, life and future. Although the process is lengthy, we feel guided through our mission and efforts to love you.

Perhaps you would like to know more about your adoptive family. I have a passion for loving and caring for children, I am a devoted wife to my heroic husband and I am a sold-out follower of Jesus Christ. Those who have known me long enough will likely admit that since I was a child I have always had a love for orphans. Dave and I felt that if this is really what God truly wanted us to do, he would show us the way. For about a year we prayed and asked God for direction and signs to lead us on what to do. In so many wonderful and beautiful ways again and again, God has shown us that this is what we are meant to do. You are meant to be part of our family.

You will already have three American brothers and one sister. I want you to know, even many years from now when you read this letter, we are real people, living real lives. Your brothers and sisters are all great helpers, especially with the baking, our rummage sales and the web blog. Our house is full of kids but full with love.

They think you coming to live with us is "awesome." That is the exact answer they gave the home study consultant when she came and interviewed them. I know they will have a greater capacity for love in their hearts than we could ever impart to them by just giving them a safe, Christian home or by simply modeling Godliness as parents. They can't wait to meet their new sibling. They talk about you as if you are already here and buy you things with their coins.

Now, as you are so small and young, I promise to keep the spirit of your early childhood in Africa part of your life. I want to know more about you and protect you from all your hurt and sorrow. Your presence in our lives will be a wonderful gift from God, as is knowing your birthparents trust us, to give you the life that they couldn't. God will use our family's experience to bring more children home to their forever families.

We are to be the hands and feet of Jesus on this planet and it is not going to be easy or glamorous. Once we took Jesus seriously, Jesus took us seriously. We couldn't tell him no once he put this on our hearts. We see a lot of selfishness and materialism in our lives and these picture perfect families. We are not this kind of family. We know what we are saying "no" to and we had a choice to embrace that life, but instead we chose to embrace Jesus. We knew it was going to be painful, lonely, and overwhelming. Every time we encounter someone who has embraced fulfillment in the temporary, we are reminded that we chose this road instead. Loving the hopeless. Loving Jesus the orphan. It means that you do for Jesus the orphan what you would want done to your own child.

I believe Jesus didn't leave us as orphans, He adopted us. He didn't see us in our orphaned state of despair and say, "Oh poor things...I wish someone would do something about that." No, He adopted us. Changed our future, our destiny, and we are to follow him and do as he did.

I feel a particular burden to care for and to cry out for the children in Africa. We are thankful God calls us all to do different tasks and ministries so we can be an effective force for his Kingdom. It is not our place to judge the callings and burdens he has placed on others. What I do know is that God has called us all to take care of the poor and orphaned, so for us it is an act of obedience to him. Whatever small part we can do to bring a life of hope to an otherwise seemingly hopeless existence, we will do.

When you are our child, we will wish and pray for happiness in your life. We often wonder ourselves why it costs so much for the adoption process. The adoption is very costly but it is not a factor in determining whether or not we are going to adopt you. We know this is what God has called us to do so we firmly believe God provides in full for whatever he has called his people to do. Every penny we need for this adoption will be provided by God. We are standing on this belief and faith which makes this all the more exciting.

We've placed our monetary investments into our home when we moved here and built it. It was the home we intended to stay in, but God changed our hearts. We realized that we needed the money so we decided to sell our home to use the assets to help fund the adoption. If the house does not sell, we know God will provide the money we need some other way. We are prepared to do whatever it takes to make this happen. To us it seems like such an obvious choice. It was actually one of the easier decisions we made along this journey.

Our lives are not our own. There are estimates or nearly 147 million orphans in this world and we know that we have room in our hearts and our home for at least one of them. We are saying "yes" to what we believe God has intended for us to do.

I find comfort in a passage from the Bible. "Once our eyes are opened we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know and holds us responsible to act." Proverbs 24:12.

We await your life's continued journey and the chance to have you in ours.

With all our love,

Jill Funkhouser