Friday, September 12, 2008

Our Third Anniversary!!!

Sarah

Jeannie & Rachel

Laura Post-Op
Lily Getting Her Head Shaved

Megan's First Bath & Footprints

Rebecca

It is September 13, and I am celebrating a Starfish's anniversary. Three years ago I had six babies delivered to the foster home in Xian and I am so stunned that I am still here. I was not sure I was going to make it past the first year. People have often asked me why I did not stay in South Africa and work with all the AIDS orphans. I cannot explain why I landed up in China, except to say that it was clearly the will of the Lord. When I as a baby, one of my very first gifts was a panda bear that was much bigger than I was. Amanda the Panda. Little did I know just how much the "panda" culture, China and I would be come intertwined. You might not know, but the decision to start the foster home came to me in four days. I knew what my future was going to be and how much I would have to give up in order to help the babies. I often get letters from people and they say how much they would like to do what I do and I just smile because they have no idea the sacrifices that you have to make. So think about your most favorite thing: You have to give that up. Your second favorite: You have to give that up. Your third favorite, fourth, fifth down to almost everything you could even imagine. I sacrificed everything that was most important to me, but it has lead me to understand in the deepest places in my heart, just how much God loves His children in China. I can tell you without reservation that I was not the most qualified for the job. I am sure there were others with better Chinese, more medical knowledge, a better business acumen and a list that I could name but then there was me, willing to take on this huge battle. I had no idea just how much effort it would take, how painful it would be and how much my worst character traits would be placed front and center. I cannot explain how passionate I have felt about making a difference in the life of a child. It could be that the very tumultuous formative years of my childhood, which instilled in me the very qualities I needed to be strong enough to handle what ever came my way. As a matter of fact I am sure that if I did have a normal childhood, I could not have taken on this challenge because it needs a certain tenacity and "scrappiness" to fight until you are exhausted and to then fight some more, something I became very good at. Saving children under the conditions that I work in is not easy and I know that I can never tell the whole truth of what I do. I know that there are very few people that would want to hear it. When I look back on the last three years and I see the faces of the babies and I feel so incredibility blessed. I have been blessed with so much love from these little people and assurance that I am doing the right thing. I have been helped through some really trying times by friends who have been so steadfast in my time of greatest need. The babies have been helped by doctors who so willingly have shared their skills and time. I have seen the joys of families being born and the sadness of death. I have been in awe of people's generosity and their empathy for the children. I have seen that love can heal a child's heart and that a baby's plight can spear adults into action. In short, I have lived a life these last few years that have brought a sense of satisfaction and a purpose. My purpose: to make a difference in the life of a child and we at Starfish have had more success than I could have imagined. I cannot think of anything I would rather be doing. Tom Brokaw once said something along the lines of: It is easy to make money but decidedly more difficult to make a difference. I am so grateful for the opportunity to know many children's lives have been saved and some we have not been able to help enough. Tom's quotation has proved to be true in my life. I am so grateful for your help and support. I could not have done it on my own. I hope I get to see my legacy grow up to be great young people, with a huge opportunities in life. What more could one ask for?!
Life, Love and Laughter,
Amanda

Starfish Foster Home
http://chinesestarfish.blogspot.com
www.chinesestarfish.org
1348.812.4847


9 comments:

Anonymous said...

As Mother to one of the children who was blessed to have spent 19 months of his life at Starfish with you Amanda, I can full heartedly say that YOU ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE! Thank you for everything you did for our son, Michael, and may God bless you with strength and the desire to continue doing your good work.

Congratulations on your three year anniversary!

Debbie

Kim Kenward said...

You are an amazing woman. I have been enjoying your blog for awhile but never posted. Tonight, I have tears running down my face reading this entry and understanding the sacrifices you have made in your life. In March, we traveled to China to get our SN daughter. 3 weeks later, she was having open-heart surgery back in the United States. Our lives have been forever changed because of this little girl and all the SN children in China.

Continued blessings to you and congratulations on 3 years.

Kim K.
kenward.blogspot.com

Mom of 5 said...

I have followed your blog as long as it has been around. Please know that you do make a difference. You are amazing !

Kelly & Todd said...

Amanda --

Happy 3-year anniversary!!! Thank you for all you do and the difference you are making! You are truly an amazing person and I will be a life-long Starfish blog reader.

Congratulations again -- kelly :-)

Anonymous said...

And what an anniversary... what a difference you have made already in three years. All the lives you've touched. Not only the children, but their parents too! Congratulations!

Jet

Cindy M said...

Nothing to say but "THANK YOU"!

You are amazing...

Cupcakes and Hairbows said...

Hi Amanda - I am a friend of Susan C's in Atlanta. I talked to her yesterday and she said that you all are travelling to Kunming later next month! We are waiting to go there for our almost 6 year old daughter (we also have a Xianyang girl). I'm hoping to hear some good news from your trip. If you could, please email me at lucyhark@yahoo.com. Thanks SO much for the work you do for these children and families! Lucy

Carolyn said...

A belated Happy Anniversary, Amanda! I have been reading your blog from the beginning- it is hard to imagine that 3 years have passed... and that we've been home with our son for over 1 year. While we waited those long months to be matched with our son through the WCP, your blog was always a source of inspiration and hope. Thank-you for this- you are a blessing to many of us who will likely never meet you!

Carter Family said...

You are amazing!! I remember talking with you about what life is going to send your way...how could you have imagined!! I am so happy for you and what you are accomplishing and enjoying. Reading the emails and hearing about the lives you change for the good makes me feel wonderful! IF I were a little person I would want you to take care of me! I Love you and send you big hugs and kisses!!