Suds of hope

Published 12:42 pm Friday, April 23, 2010

Bubbling up with the laundry soapsuds at Lora Lynn and Andrew Fanning’s home in Mt Laurel is hope.

With five kids age 6 and under, there are plenty of loads of laundry to be washed. But the Fanning’s, believe it or not, aspire to add another little one’s play clothes to the pile.

“We’re kind of uniquely set up for small kids,” Andrew said. “And we know the one thing we can provide a child, above anything else, is family.”

The Fannings have sponsored children in Uganda for several years through Compassion International. On a regular basis they receive reports on how those children are doing.

Even knowing they made a small impact in the lives of those kids, wasn’t enough for the Fannings though. They and their five kids, 6-year-old twins Sam and Ian, 4-year-old Adam, 3-year-old Ellen and 17-month-old Willa want to bring a new baby home from Uganda this summer.

“All of a sudden adoption was always in front of me. I wasn’t begging him to adopt, but in his own time, he just looked at me and said, ‘We have to go get one,'” Lora Lynn said.

Andrew said his heart eventually felt pulled to adopt.

“We kept hearing the stories of these kids … and let’s face it, we’re wealthy. We’re all wealthy to live in this country and to have the comforts we have,” he said.

Adoptions become pricey even for families that feel immensely fortunate.

The Fanning’s decided to follow the path without an agency, yet will pay out well over $20,000 to bring their new family member home.

There’s a multitude of fundraising ideas out there, but the Fannings also wanted something they could pass on.

So, Andrew suggested they begin creating homemade, all-natural laundry detergent to offset the costs. This seemed a fairly un-taxing mission seeing as Lora Lynn owned Barefoot Home Essentials, a natural cleaning supply company, about four years ago. For two years she created cleaning products that wouldn’t make her lightheaded (she was pregnant at the time) or burn her 5-year-olds’ eyes.

By grating all-natural soap, provided by the company Cheeky Maiden in Calera, and adding all–natural essential oils for scenting, Lora Lynn and Andrew, often with the kids’ help, created detergent. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the detergent they sell will go toward funding their adoption.

Finalizing the adoption takes a tremendous amount of time and money, they said. They’ll spend a minimum of one month living in Africa while they await court dates — even after completing that process, the Fannings must come back to the states to finalize the adoption.

“Will it be hard? Yes, but so what,” Andrew said choking up. “How can we look at a child and say, ‘Sorry, you aren’t worth the effort.’ We’ve been loved so much, I feel like we have a responsibility to share that love.”

The Fannings continue to feel the love from biological family, church family, friends and complete strangers.

“Every time my friends use a scoop, I know they’re thinking of me — they’re praying for us,” Lora Lynn said. “There’s also a lot of people buying that I don’t even know, which is quite humbling.”

The Fannings sold about 40 bags at the Mt Laurel Spring Festival April 17 and have finally broken even on start–up costs. When they’re adoption is completed and paid for, they plan to pass along the sales to other families aiming to adopt. They already have the next family lined up.

To place an order or to learn more, visit