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'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
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
Thanks to all of you that helped to make this possible!
~Allison & Brenna
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
In 2011, I had two amazing opportunities to come alongside an organization called Visiting Orphans (www.visitingorphans.org) 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: www.goingwherehesendsme.blogspot.com. There are many pictures there from my two 2011 trips.
Allison and Brenna Fuller
** Visiting Orphans is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization. All donations are tax deductible. www.visitingorphans.org **
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: ________________________
Making a Donation On-line Through Visiting Orphan’s Website:
You can visit https://www.visitingorphans.org/donations/donate.aspx 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”.