I was asked recently to explain what happened to me and how I got the foster home. I thought I would share this article with you. I wrote this in the early hours of the mornings when I was awake with the original six babies. It was published on the FCC main website and sort of got lost with the mass of information that you can find on there. I look back at this time and I am so amazed. I had no idea what was coming and just how much we would grow. At that time I had not done one surgery and there were as yet no adoptions. Now, almost three years later, we completed surgery number 33 and adoption number 14 is coming up in September.
IMPOSSIBLE IS NOTHING
What would you do if a dream that seemed absolutely impossible suddenly came true with hardly any effort on your part? Your life as you know it will forever be altered and if you were to make this commitment, it will be a decision that will commandeer the rest of the time that you are alive.
My impossible dream: Opening a foster home in China. I had never considered that there was even the remotest possibility that as a foreigner, I would be granted permission to start. A casual conversation on the way home from the government orphanage, where I had been volunteering for six months, turned into the stunning news four days later that I could go ahead. Where were the piles of paperwork, the months of waiting and the endless visits to government offices? What had happened to the famous slow grind of bureaucracy? The speed at which this took place scared me and it took me a while to come to terms with what it all meant. A few months earlier I had asked to become a foster parent and was turned down flat. Now I was offered as many babies as I could handle and a 10 year contract. What a paradigm shift!
If I was a logical woman, I would have made a run for it. I was about to accept a lucrative job offer in Korea which included a two year Masters degree. My heart, however, could not pass up this chance to make a difference in the life of a child. I threw all caution to the wind and without much preparation, I forged ahead. There was no time for very careful budgeting, cost analysis or professional looking grant proposals to philanthropic organizations. I was not going to let some small, tiny, insignificant detail like money stop me from passing up this golden opportunity, so I delved into my savings account. Tom Brokaw once said something along the lines of: Making money is easy, but making a difference is decidedly more difficult.
So here I am almost a month after the arrival of the babies, five girls and a boy. As you can well imagine the morning of Sept 13, 2005 was filled with much emotion. The learning curve has been steep, the experience exhausting and the benefits truly inspiring. Nothing compares with the fact that three of the girls, who were malnourished, underweight and expected to die, have had their lives saved. Not only that, but that they are thriving.
I am looking forward to our first adoption, which is going to be a bittersweet experience. I clearly understand my purpose in all of this. I am to be a provider, protector, defender and a record keeper for these defenseless children. I am to prepare them to be placed in the arms of a new mom and a dad. I hope that in the future, they will know that during this time of rejection and abandonment, they were also wanted, cared for and loved by many people who have put forth so much effort on their behalf. I think about meeting them years from now, knowing that they have grown up healthy, happy and have been blessed by love.
As I sit here at 3:55am, everyone is asleep which makes it a perfect time to write down some thoughts. I keep watch over them, accompanied by baby sounds: The snores, grunts, groans, sucking noises and the occasional cough.
I have become bolder in my dreams of the impossible and my expectations have been raised considerably. I still harbor one huge secret dream, which I will continue to keep close to my heart. Maybe one of these days I will tell you that this too, has come true. I often see the slogan on billboards around China and I now know that it is true: Impossible is nothing.
I am off to the mundane tasks of having a baby, multiplied by six. The 24-hour-on-demand-bottle-
Amanda de Lange
Starfish Foster Home.
October 9, 2005
Life, Love and Laughter,
Starfish Foster Home