Blending growing family with open arms

Published 3:33 pm Monday, March 22, 2010

Gilda and Don Fuller acknowledge they married later in life and though having children was certainly in the plans, they had arrived at a point where reality seemed to be dictating otherwise.

“I always wanted to have six children, but after fertility treatments didn’t work, we considered that we were not meant to have kids,” Gilda said. “However, friends of ours were preparing to adopt in China through Villa Hope and suggested that we do likewise.”

Gilda wrote for the information; the following week, Don came across a two–year–old issue of Family Life magazine with an affirming story, “Our Answered Prayer: China Adoption.”

Thirteen months later they were notified of a baby in Yueyang.

They flew to Changsha in 1997 to meet the 1-year-old they would name Joy. Though Joy was diagnosed with failure to thrive, having spent a year in the orphanage with our attention, she proved to be a survivor.

The Fullers, members of Hunter Street Baptist Church, now have a household filled with Joy, Faith, Hope and Zachary, which means ‘God remembered.’

With plans to return to China for a second child, the Fullers’ social worker, meanwhile, told them of an adoptable baby soon to be born.

“We decided that if God had placed this in our path, we would do it,” Gilda said.

The Fullers were present for the birth of Faith, who was born on Joy’s second birthday, Oct. 27, 1999.

“We realized we wanted a brother for our girls, and in church when I prayed about it, I felt an enormous peace come over me,” Gilda said. Just two weeks after contacting the social worker and filling out a birth mother letter, they received the call about Zachary.

Then in 2003 they flew to Guangchou, China to bring home Hope. Joy accompanied them to meet Hope and loved visiting her birth country.

Don is the official chauffeur for Tai Quon Do lessons for Joy and Hope and soccer practice for Joy, Hope and Zachary.

Faith and Hope are both cheerleaders and Faith is on the HIS Twirl Team.

The Fuller family has also opened their home to two exchange students, Hanna Dau from Germany, an 11th grader at PHS and Pakkad Ponsean, 16, from Thailand.

The entire clan has enjoyed trips to the beach, Atlanta Aquarium, Polar Express in Chattanooga and Disney World over Christmas 2009.

The Fullers’ Old Cahaba home is filled with photos of their loving and lively family memories.

Laura Brookhart can be reached by e–mail at