Friday, December 7, 2012

Just Some Stuff

I'm not sure why I've come here to write.  I'm sure that no one comes to this space anymore.  I haven't been here in so long. 

I've had some things rolling around in my head for a little while.  I was talking to one of my more awesome friends :-) a few days ago and we were talking about my trips to Africa.  She shared with me that she had been concerned about me taking Brenna with me.  She said that she worried that Brenna might see the orphans and orphanages we would visit and think that those places were like where she came from -babies laying around in their urine not paid much attention to -and she (my friend) didn't think that Brenna's orphanage was like that.

It was.

It's easier try to forget.  It's easier to not talk about the scabs that covered the back of her head the first time I met her from hours and hours of lying on her back in a crib.  The scars that I still see every time I part the back of her hair to put pigtails in.

I try to forget that I was told that my baby had never reached for an adult to hold her.  Before I got there when she was seven and a half months old and held her, she didn't know what being held was.  That being held was good.  After I left to come back home to wait on  a court date to go back and get her, she reached for the caregivers as they passed by her crib.  Still no one held her.  There was no time for something like that.  She was lucky to get changed when she was dirty.  They didn't wear diapers.  They wore wadded up blankets.  That made quite the mess.

She was a big baby.  I couldn't believe my eyes the first time I saw her, because so many from her country are very malnourished living in orphanages.  Many get there to meet their 8 month old baby and find a tiny seven pound child.  Brenna weighed 18 pounds.  I was thrilled.  I would later learn that what she was being fed was severely lacking in any nutrition.  Until I got her home, her eyes were a gray color.  By a year old they were the beautiful brown that they are today.  Poor nutrition.

I know that the orphanage where she spent the first part of her life was a good place.  I know the caregivers did the very best that they could with what they had.  They had very little.  There are no words to describe just how grateful I will always be to them for taking care of my girl until I could get there.

We have been so blessed.  The issues we have had due to the fact that she spent the first little bit of her life in an orphanage are not even an issue.  There have been some things that have been more difficult but not anything we haven't been able to overcome.

She definitely could relate to the kids she met in Kenya.  She's still working through all of that and talks about the children there often.  On one of my trips to Uganda I met another adoptive mom and got to spend some time chatting with her.  She is totally amazing, BTW, and has many internationally adopted kiddos.  I was telling her that I was wanting to bring Brenna on a trip with me but wasn't sure when she would be ready.  Linny told me that she felt like orphanages in Africa would be just different enough than any of the pictures Brenna has seen of the Russian orphanage where she lived that she would probably be able to separate the two and relate but not actually put herself in the situation of the African children.  I didn't forget that.  I fought with God about whether or not to take Brenna with me.  I didn't think she was ready.  God prepared both of us, and we followed Him.  It was hard, and it was perfect.

My heart breaks when I think that my little girl could have grown up in an institution.  If God had not led me to her, I hope that people like us would go and hold her if only for a minute.  I would hope that people would be the hands and feet of Jesus and GO and love on her.  I hope people would go build playgrounds for my girl and her friends so that they could play and be kids.  Most of all I hope people like us would go and tell her about Jesus. 

Oh how I love this girl.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Hope Was Built

We made it home from Kenya!  It was a great trip.  We got a lot done and loved on some amazing kiddos.  Hopefully I'll get back here soon and post more about what we did.  For now, here are a few playground pictures!!

Thanks to all of you that helped to make this possible!

~Allison & Brenna

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Building Hope Kenya 2012

Dear Friends,      
In 2011, I had two amazing opportunities to come alongside an organization called Visiting Orphans ( and serve orphans and widows in Kenya and Uganda.  I spent a total of four weeks in these countries serving the poorest of the poor and loving on orphaned children.  Loving on sweet Ruthie;  raped and infected with HIV when she was just 4 years old.  I spent a day with some of the most malnourished babies.  I held a two year old that weighed just 8 pounds.  I spent some time leaning over the bed of a little one that died later that day.  Malnutrition.  I spent a day helping to teach many widowed Karamajong women to make jewelry out of embroidery floss that they now sell to help support their children.  I was able to help feed many children what was likely the only real meal they would receive that week.  One of my favorite parts of the trip was when we took money donated by friends and family to a market with an orphanage director to buy food and cleaning supplies for the 180 children that live in his care.  Some of the children actually cried when we returned with bags of rice.  The drought has made rice so expensive, and they had not had any in awhile.  I spent time in two children’s prisons.  These desperate little ones living on the streets often do desperate things.  They are locked up in prison.  We brought them some hope.  On all of these stops, we were able to leave the things we brought with us to help with some of the greatest needs.  We brought lots of medicine, cloth diapers, blankets, school supplies, sports equipment, vitamins, clothes, shoes, and much more.
I asked God to break my heart for what breaks His.  God opened my eyes to the lonely, hungry, fatherless children of East Africa.  He also opened my heart to their joy, love and HOPE that only comes from knowing Him.  The need can be, at times - overwhelming.  But our God is SO much bigger than the need.  His LOVE and HEART for the orphan and widow is evident throughout scripture.  He challenges ALL of us to love and care for the poor and fatherless.  It is NOT an option, but a command.  My heart has been forever changed by what I have seen, felt and experienced.  I can still see the longing in their eyes.  I can still feel the weight of many children hanging on my arms.  I can still hear their voices praising Jesus through song.  The task is enormous, but if we each do our part, God will multiply our efforts to further His kingdom.  
2012 brings with it another opportunity to once again travel and allow God to use the gifts and talents He has given me to bring hope to many little ones in Nakuru, Kenya.  This will be the first time I have travelled to East Africa and visited just one country.  I’m excited to get to spend so much time with the kids that already consider me family.  On this trip we will be building a playground at Fiwagoh Mission Orphanage.  These children don’t even know what a playground is.  Every child should be allowed to play and be a kid.  It will be a great opportunity for some of the older boys to help us and  get some building experience.  We will also be working in another orphanage, Haven Of Hope, where a young single woman is raising 30 orphans.  We will be doing some painting there along with taking care of babies so that the sweet Mama, Nelly, can get some much needed rest.  At yet another nearby orphanage, we will be doing some Bible studies with the children.  We’ll also help them purchase a larger container that holds the rainwater that they use to drink and some animals to provide things like milk and eggs.  
On this trip that will take place in July, I have decided to take Brenna with me.  My daughter, that spent almost all of her first year in an orphanage, is ready to go and serve these precious ones.  I don’t expect it to be easy for her, but it is the next natural step for our family.  I believe it is what God is calling us to do.  She is extremely excited to go.  
I am writing to ask that you consider partnering with us on this trip by praying, encouraging and financially supporting us. Please pray for us and for our team, that we may truly impact those that we serve.  Pray that they won’t see us but rather our Father and learn of His grace.  Please pray that we will remain healthy while we are gone and return safely.  Pray also that God will teach us more about Himself as our eyes are opened to a hurting world.  The cost for the two of us to be a part of this team is $6200.  This includes our travel, lodging, meals as well as financial support for the orphanages.  If you feel led to help defray the financial cost of this mission or to make a donation toward the playground building project, there is information on the enclosed sheet to assist you with that process.
Thank you for your friendship and support through the years and for considering joining us in this mission.  You can follow our journey by visiting my blog at:  There are many pictures there from my two 2011 trips.  
Serving Him,
Allison and Brenna Fuller
James 1:27
** Visiting Orphans is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization.  All donations are tax deductible. **
Sending a Check by Mail:
If you wish to make a donation by check, please complete the information below and return to Visiting Orphans (use the envelope enclosed) with a check made payable to Visiting Orphans.  In case the check becomes separated from the response card, please include “Allison Fuller” in the memo line.  

Enclosed is a check made payable to Visiting Orphans for $ _______  
This donation is for the July 2012 mission to Kenya and is designated in support of Allison and Brenna Fuller.
Name: _________________________________  Phone: ________________________
Address: ____________________________________________________________________
Making a Donation On-line Through Visiting Orphan’s Website:
You can visit and fill out the donation form.
The gift designation line provides a drop down list to choose the July 2012 Kenya trip and selecting “yes” in answer to the question on donating to a specific team member opens a box for you to enter “Allison Fuller”. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Visiting Return Ministries Uganda and a Surprise

Early Monday morning, the 17th, we headed to the airport to fly to Uganda.  I was sad to be leaving Kenya, but there were people in Uganda that I could not wait to see.  I was excited!

We landed at Entebbe and made it through passport control and got our visas.  Pastor Samuel from Return Ministries picked us up from the airport.  We were headed to spend some time with and feed lunch to the children at Return.

Some of them sang for us. 

This little one was getting in to all the clapping! 

That little one in the back of the line could shake it like nobody's business.

We helped serve all the kids their rice and beans.

This dude is a character!  He remembered me from last time I was there.

After everyone had finished eating, we played.  We brought pipe cleaners to use for a craft that went along with a bible story.  But... there were SO many kids and most of them were little, so we just decided to forgo the bible story and let these little ones be creative with some pipe cleaners.  They were definitely creative!!

When it was time for us to go, we headed back to Pastor Samuel's house to do some shopping.  They have a little shop where teams like ours can buy handcrafted items, and the money raised supports their ministry. If any of you purchased any of the paper bead jewelry from me, this is where it came from.  

I cannot find any pictures of my shopping experience.  ;-)  I was WAY too busy shopping to snap photos.  Then, something amazing happened while we were there.

(If you are still with me, thank you.  I know this is long.  I just LOVE reliving all of this!)

This little girl... Ruth.  The same little beauty that is in the picture over there in the sidebar.  -------->

Back when I got the itinerary for this trip, the first thing I did was look to see if I was going to see Ruth.  I had been too afraid to ask.  I knew I would be beyond disappointed if the answer was 'no.'  It turned out that our schedule this time would not allow for a visit to Royal Hope Academy where Ruthie goes to school.  Ruth lives with Rebecca, and I knew that Rebecca was in the states and not going to be in Uganda during our visit.  I was pretty sad.  For a long time.

Finally I decided that it couldn't hurt anything for me to contact Rebecca and just see if maybe she could send someone to meet me while I was there so I could send a few fun things for Ruthie.  I. Love. Rebecca. She said she would arrange for Michael (a man she works with) to come and pick up what I would bring, but she didn't know if he would be able to bring Ruth because of some testing that was being done at school.

I was completely OK with that!  By the time this day got here I did not at all expect Michael to bring Ruth with him.

I was busy shopping (remember? yeah, back to that.)  -I tell really LONG stories.  :-)  The men that I work with hate it. (I can talk about them here, because they would NEVER be still reading.)

So, I was shopping and Michael walks up to me.  When I recognize him, I thanked him for coming and turned to go to the van and get the bag I had for Ruth.  I wasn't looking for Ruth.  I thought he was alone.  And there she was, peering out of the van window.

To say I was thrilled would be the understatement of the year.  :-)

So I got to squeeze Ruth.  What a wonderful day!!

 She loved her Princess Tiana doll.

 I don't know how many times this child told me 'thank you!'

There might have been a dress-up dress that matched Tiana's and some princess stickers and some princess pencils and who knows what else in that bag.  ;-)

It was a good day.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Leaving Fiwagoh

Leaving Fiwagoh is hard.  It takes forever to leave.  We line all 180 children up and give them each a hug. So this time all of the children got 8 hugs.  The plan is to hug them and get on the van so that we don't make it any harder than it has to be.  Yeah... that doesn't happen, and it is excruciating.

When you come upon a sweet little one that is crying because they don't want you to go, it is heartbreaking.  There were many tears.

I thought I was going to make it without completely falling apart, but Emily and Jane were crying.

My sweet Emily hanging on to my hand while I was sitting in the van.

Don't worry, sweet ones.  I will be back to give you lots of hugs in July!

I will leave you with some pictures of beautiful Kenya!  It in an absolutely gorgeous country.

We stopped at the same spot that we saw the giraffes last time and they were there again.

We saw a boatload of baboons on the side of the road.

I fed them peanut butter crackers. 

They really liked them!