I slept and dreamed that life was joy.
I awoke and saw that life was service.
I acted and behold service was joy.
September 13, 2005, what a day!! I will not forget the sight of having six little people who were carried into my life. I will never forget looking at them and being so excited at the prospect of helping and at the same time being terrified at having to take care of them. All of them had some sort of special need and I had no experience with any of it. Today, I am so stunned at what has happened in the intervening four years. I have had an extremely steep learning curve in areas of medicine, social work, non profit management, marketing and human resources with a whole range of other skills which I did not possess, but had to learn. I could not have predicted that I would be running a foster home taking care of almost 50 children and all that it entails. I had no idea what was coming! If I had, I might have not taken this on. I would have run and hid myself refusing to take on the pain, the work load and the hassle.
At the same time I would have missed the joy and the successes that have played out in the lives of the children as they have been healed and in those who have gone on to be adopted. I find such joy in hearing from each family as they share with me the lives of these babies that found themselves all alone in a park, hospital, cemetery and river bank hoping that someone would help. I cannot imagine what that must be like, abandoned by your very own family, waiting, hoping that someone would take pity on you and help........... I guess in my heart I want to make life a little more fair for each one of them, offering HOPE in a very bleak situation. I carry a story for each one of the 94 children that have come to Starfish, all of the babies I chose to come to live with me and the condition I found them in. I revel in our ability to offer care that allowed them to overcome the medical need they had and to protect them until their families arrive. This is the purpose of Starfish. At the same time the hardest lessons have been the babies that I could not help enough. I will never forget how I pleaded with God for the life of Susan and having her die in my arms. It took me a while to get over that and as I tried to learn the lesson which was that I was not going to save every child but that I was going offer love, warmth and care while their little bodies were not to be helped by the medical care that was available. My desire is to be able to find better medical care for the most fragile of these babies, who need some specialized care that I can find in Xian.
Kay, who understood the foster home more than intimately that any one before or since, told me once that running the foster home was the most lonely job. That may seem true, but I do not feel so lonely. I feel that God's hand is over the foster home and that He loves these children so much. I see it in the miracles that take place and the help that He sends. I feel His influence all the time and it offers me comfort, truth, wisdom and a tremendous sense of tenacity.
I want to thank each and everyone who has had some connection to the foster home. There is the synergy that works together for good. I love the mixture of the different nationalities, walks of life, different religions and the offer of the US$12 from a little boy's piggy bank to the tens of thousands of dollars from corporate and foundation donations. I am so grateful for the specialized skills from medical staff to the 91 year old Chinese woman who cannot read, but wants to volunteer anyway. I am so extremely grateful to the Starfish Staff who works so hard. They pour their love and care out on the babies and have such a huge hand in the success of our foster home. I love the volunteers that want to come back and the many who do, some who travel across the world back to Xian to be part again of the HOPE that Starfish offers. Thank you to the local volunteers, who spend hour after hour with us and who love the babies so much.
Thank you for following our story and for being Starfish Ambassadors, spreading the word and living the adventure with me. I know there are some very interesting events coming up and some that I cannot talk about yet. One of these days.....I hope it makes you keep on wanting to come back for more.
Here is to saving a life, offering love with a generous dose of laughter, acting in service and finding joy.
Starfish Children's Services
US Tax Number: 20-4682916
At Starfish, we have taken care of 94 children to date, arranged more than 55 surgeries and had 22 international adoptions, so our little starfishes live all over the globe: the US, Netherlands, Norway and Spain. We currently have 47 babies under the age of 3 at two foster homes. www.thestarfishfosterhome.org