Sunday, July 26, 2009

Joy and Happiness

As you might know I went to the US recently. My most favorite thing: I got to see SEVEN of the Starfish Alumni.
I saw Lily and Norma (Erica) in New Jersey as I wrote about, so this is about the rest of the trip. I am so grateful to the families who came to Nashville, for making such an effort to bring the Starfish children to me.
I can not explain the emotion seeing them. When you go into the orphanage there is the immediate need they have and when you take them home, you do not think of their future families and the lives they are going to lead. You think of helping them and the medical attention in the moment. You love them and get up for them at night. You pray and watch over them when they are sick and you travel for many miles trying to get them the best medical care you can and you do all you can to heal them both in physically and emotionally..... and then the day comes when you know that there is a family who is going to rip your heart out because they will claim as their own, a little person that you have loved with all your heart for a number of months and in some cases years. I know my purpose in all of this. I know that at Starfish, we are the ones who will save a child's life and then give that child away for someone else to love. Sometimes the parents are kind and thoughtful and sometimes they are unkind and inflict pain when it is not necessary. Some express so much gratitude for the gift you have given them and others take their children without even saying thank you.
So I was so touched to know that so many of the parents made such an effort to spend time with me. I loved watching all the hard work that the nannies and I put into to the babies come to life. I loved knowing that all the work was worth it and that no matter how the parents behaved, our love and care could never be erased and that I saw so much of our foundations in them as I watched the children interact with their parents and siblings. It was such a joy! It will always be a miracle to know just where they started and how weak and fragile they were and how much they needed a helping hand. I looked at each one of them and my heart sang for the chance I got to be such a vital part of their lives.
Some have forgotten me. Baby Amanda took one look at me and said, "You have my name." I said right back, "No honey, you have my name." Seeing Amanda, who was one of the original six was so sweet. She came to me on September 13, 2005 and so many people told me that she would never hold anything or walk because two of her fingers were missing on each hand and she had ostrich toes. Wel you cannot believe how dexterous she became even before she was adopted and she still is the earliest walker at 10 and a half months. Others sort of remembered and Rebecca waited for a while and then came over and hugged me. Charlie (Gabriel) was so overwhelmed by the day and he did not come very close except to say goodbye. Megan (Jasmine) behaved much as she did on her adoption date with a reverse. I sat and watched as the played together at the pool (they are all such water babies which I loved!) with their siblings and I saw a piece of heaven right there.
In some ways I wish I could show the birth parents just what had happened to their children. To see how much one can love a child that you did not birth. Thank you so much to the parents who came and brought me more encouragement to come back to China and to work even harder to save more kids so that they to can have a life like the theirs with families who love them so much.
Getting to see Flower again was such a blessing too. Thank you to KG and Angee for their hospitality and for allowing me to be part of the Jensen clan for a few days. I am sorry that River's adoption papers were not finalized.
I am so grateful to know that in the moment that all of the babies were abandoned that God had a plan for each one of them. Starfish was part of that plan and I also saw the plan God had for each of these families. I got to see God's plan in action, which was ,pure unadulterated joy for me.
Thank you so much to everyone that made this trip so wonderful. You are too many to name, but I hope you know who you are. Thank you for your generosity and your kindness to me. I really appreciated the pampering, the great meals and the shopping. I loved the new relationships that I have formed with the hope that they will bring the blessing that the babies need. I am most hopeful that we will be able to organize the medical missions this coming year.
Wishing Michael's mom a very healthy last few weeks of her pregnancy.

Life, Love and Laughter,

Starfish Children's Services
US Tax Number: 20-4682916
Xian China
At Starfish, we have taken care of 92 children to date, arranged more than 55 surgeries and had 21 international adoptions, so our little starfishes live all over the globe: the US, Netherlands, Norway and Spain and our latest adoption to France. We currently have 49 babies under the age of 3 at two foster homes.
Cell: 86.1348.812.4847


Jill said...

Amanda, what a wonderful and rewarding trip you had!! Glad God gave you so many blessed moments for you to remember as you continue your work in China. You my dear, are truly blessed, and He holds a special place in his Kingdom for you!
Hugs, Jill

Chinabound said...

Nice to know that you had such an amazing and productive visit to the US. Reading this entry has brought tears to my eyes. Words cannot describe how you and Starfish have changed these children's lives. I also think alot about the children's birth parents. Can this be considered a "blessing in disguise"?