Sunday, October 04, 2009

An Award for Starfish

When I started Starfish in 2005, I had no idea what was coming. For the first three and a half years I hardly left Xian except to take babies to the hospital in other Chinese cities. As you might know, religion is not accepted part of life in China, and I came to China with my personal testimony of Jesus Christ. It was hard to reconcile the feelings I had with those of being in China, and for the first year while I was teaching it was easy to separate my religion and my work. Things became decidedly more complicated as I started the foster home. I continued to practice my religion as the government allowed but never have I spoken openly about it, except to mention from time to time my belief in God and His integral part in my ability to be able to run the foster home. This is in large part to the respect I have to the Chinese government in obeying the laws of their country and secondly, because the church I belong to, have asked its members not discuss religious matters with local Chinese people. The babies do not belong to any church and I am extremely careful that we do not teach and preach any religion at the foster home. I guess my thinking was best summed up by a quote I saw at a friend's home in Nashville: Your life may be the only Bible some people ever read. I am not going to use this as a forum for a religious discussion, but as a preface to explain a more personal matter which also concerns Starfish.
A few months ago I was stunned to find out that Brigham Young University, where I graduated from in 1996, was honoring the work I do with a Humanitarian Service award and that I needed to travel to Utah for the two day event. To be honest I am really embarrassed by all this attention and if it was up to me I would not do it. However, there is a very important consideration to be made and that is my beloved babies. How can I be a better advocate for them? How can I tell their story and help others to have more compassion on the plight that they are in and give people the opportunity to help them? It changed my mind.
I was so amused because of the dress code required. I do not own business clothes, a requirement for the meetings and I am desperately looking for something to wear which will fit my budget. I go to church in the same clothes I wear at home which are baby proof, so I guess a new frock is in order. Any excuse to go shopping.
I also want to invite any one that would like to come to the VIP luncheon, where the award will be presented on Friday October 23 at 12:30am at BYU. There are some additional seats available for lunch and you many contact Alicia Smith if you would like to reserve a place ( Please do it soon. I am also going to be in the homecoming parade and going to the BYU football game on Saturday, something I have not done since I was a student. I am arranging a much more informal dinner at a noodle place on Friday night and if you would like to come to that, will you contact Wendy Beres at for details. Yes, I am leaving China to eat noodles in America but more importantly I will probably not be eating but talking more to people I have know most of my life and others who have played such an important part in getting me where I am today. What a wonderful opportunity for me.

Life, Love and Laughter,
Starfish Children's Services
US Tax Number: 20-4682916
Xian China

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 and our latest adoption was to Florida, USA. We currently have 47 babies under the age of 3 at two foster homes.
Cell: 86.1348.812.4847


Michelle C said...

I love reading your blog and am always so interested in how the babies are doing. I've been reading your blog for a long time, but didn't know you were LDS, of course. I'm LDS, too and graudated from BYU in 1994! I would love to come to Starfish Foster Home someday to volunteer someday when my son is a little older (he's 5 now). Now I will not hesitate because I know I'll have a kindred spirit there. Thank you for all the work you do with the babies!

Fatcat said...


Amy said...

Hooray for you Amanda!!!
Wish I could be there to cheer for you in the parade...but we are a long way from Utah...

Anonymous said...

Amanda...i am a long time reader and
lurker of your blog. this honor brought me out of "lurkdom" to say
how much i believe you should be
honored for the work that you do.
It seems to me you accomplish this
work with such a humble heart!..I am
so happy for you to have this privilege of academia acknowledging
your work.
Warm regards from mary m in vancouver,wa.

Fliss and Mike Adventures said...

Amanda... you and the nannies deserve this - so don't be bashful... go get your award...
Just remember how all those babies you have looked after and helped... how they are in homes with their 'Forever Families'... love to each and everyone at Starfish and all the little Starfishes... :)

Stacey said...

I'm LDS too! I enjoy reading your blog. In fact, I just sent you an email because in lieu of presents for my daughter's birthday party, we had people make donations in honor of Faith. She is our personal favorite because my daughter has a PWS birthmark too. My girls and I have a special place in our hearts for Rose too. Of course we love all your children:) Have fun in Utah!

Steph said...

I wish I would have seen this earlier! We would have loved to
have met up with you while you
were here. I hope your trip went
well and that you made some good
contacts. I'm really happy for you and for the babies.

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