Ike and Alicia Fanz just stepped into a new world. A world of uncertainty. A world of risk. But also a world of wonder. Of immense peace. Of indescribable fulfillment.
The Fanzes lives have been turned upside down by God. When adoption was something that only more noble or more "called" Christians would engage in, Ike and Alicia were right along with them.
Tell us how your adoption journey started. How did God work in you to tell you He wanted you to adopt?
He brought your family across our path and used your example of love to spur us on. Soon the Scriptures describing widows and orphans became prominent in my quiet time. He showed me very clearly that if I was to follow him, I had to quit being lukewarm and get in the game. It seems crazy that I had been reading Scripture for years that clearly states that the Lord’s ways and the world’s ways are very different, but I had never really done anything about it.
Of the two of you, who was more reluctant and why? What changed your (or your wife’s) mind?
I was the more reluctant one. What changed me was the realization that my life is withering grass. I turned fifty this year, and I realize my time on Planet Earth is very short, assuming I am blessed with good health and not called home sooner. Following the Lord is what I want to spend my life doing. I want to have a front-row seat to watch Him in action!
Tell us about who you’re adopting and what drew you to them?
They are brother and sister, Yuri and Marina. The Lord put them on my wife’s heart while she was viewing children on Reece’s Rainbow. He very clearly spoke to my wife about them in particular. I fell hook, line, and sinker for them when we met them at the orphanage.
Why are you adopting special-needs orphans?
The world considers them undesirable or blemished. The Lord has given us a vision that these two are very, very special to Him. And my family will be the one receiving the blessing, not vice versa.
Tell us about your trip to the eastern European nation.
It was a trip I will never forget. My wife and I have not traveled very much, so flying halfway around the world was new. Landing in a country where no one speaks your language at first seemed a little daunting but once we got there, we relaxed and enjoyed ourselves. We spoke a little of the language and had fun ordering food and interacting with people there. There was an immediate bond with us and our kids. We were not sure what to expect, but as usual, the Lord made it great for us.
What broke your heart the most on the trip?
Two things. The first was all the other kids in the orphanage. We played with all of them twice a day and very soon, several of them were hugging us and not letting go. They would refer to Alicia and I as Mama and Papa. They wanted us to take them too.
The second was when we got a briefing on our children and their life prior to going to the orphanage. I won’t go into detail, but they had a rough start.
If you had all the power in the world, what one thing would you change the most about that place?
These people don’t use ice that I can see. I would mandate they put ice in their drinks. (I am by nature a goofball, so I have to at least give a hint of how I operate.)
How has your life been changed so far by going through this adoption journey?
I trust God with much more of my life and am much more aware of the spiritual battle we are in everyday. These are both very good things, as I have to rely on Him for about everything I do. Best place to be!
What’s the first thing you want to do with your new children when they’re officially yours on Gotcha Day?
Take them to see the ocean.
What one thing would you tell dads out there who are considering adoption for the first time but who feel reluctant?
The only good advice I have is from Scripture. Those who “lose their life will find it” (Matt. 10:39). You will be opposed on different fronts as you go through the process. God will seek out your most secret places to reveal what He wants to change and refine in you. This can take many forms. With me, money and fear came into play. He held it up to the light for me and basically asked, who are you going to serve, son? Me or this world?
If you have a testimony of your own adoption journey, men, let me know. I'd love to allow your story to change the hearts of lives of many other families out there.