Saturday, November 13, 2010

Thank You ELISE!

It is not often that I write about a volunteer but I cannot let this pass and not say a BIG THANK YOU you to a volunteer who has been coming to Starfish weekly for the past five years.  I met Elise a few weeks after I got to China in 2004. She was supposed to stay for two years with her family and I had plans to leave after one year.  Little did we know what would happen to us.  Elise was there from the time in May 2005 when I got the okay to start the foster home to the time the first six babies were first carried into my life on September 13.  She was the one I called like a mom, when I did not know what to do when a baby was sick.  Elise and her husband Ed had 7 biological kids and adopted two and at one time worked as a nurse.  She had lots of experience and wisdom to impart. 

In the beginning, we could not even find a scale and I had no idea how much the babies weighed.  Once we found a scale, the old style mechanical kind she came to weigh the babies every week and once a month she would measure them and carefully write down the number is the charts. Her "footprint" is all over the babies' records.  After a while we got really fancy and now we have an electronic scale and a measuring box which makes life so much easier.  In later years, she even plotted a growth chart.

She mentioned recently that her husband had gone to Xiamen for an interview but she doubted it would come to much.  Well it was a big deal.  They offered Ed a new position and with in 10 days they had to move.  Ed is already in Xiamen and next Monday the rest of the family will be moving.  The only one remaining is Bethany who has been coming with her mother for many years and has turned out to be a perfect replacement for her. Bethany is a student at a local university and has been learning from her mom for many years. Everything is in good hands.  What a tender mercy.

I am so grateful for the many years of service that Elise has given.  The hours she spent on the bus coming to Starfish in rain, shine and snow.  Surprisingly, the bus she needed to get to my house, stopped just outside her house. I am so grateful for keeping records of this vital aspect of the babies lives. But more so I am so grateful for all the babies lives she touched and for all the love she has given.  Her favorites were always the weaker ones and I remember her holding Sarah for hours.  She was one of the first really preemie cleft lip and palate babies we accepted in April 2006.  Sarah could throw up without any notice and we really struggled with her.  Elise was like a grandmother and who rocked her with lots of patience. She was also the best burper around and could coax the burps out of the cleft babies before we used Woodwards gripe water (Nothing else will do in case you are interested to know!).

So we come to the end of an era.  I wish Elise and her family well in their new home.  I am so grateful for your steadying hand and all the advice you gave and for the concerns you have had for the babies.  I will miss you very much.

I may not have gone where I
 to go, 
but I think I have ended up 
where I intended to be.
Life, love and laughter,

At Starfish, we have taken care of 124 children to date, arranged more than 100 surgeries and had 47 international adoptions, so our little starfishes live all over the globe: the US, Netherlands, Norway, France, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Canada and in China.  We are preparing for two adoptions to the US in the new 10 days.  We currently have 47 babies under the age of 3 and three foster homes.  Preparing to move to our new "castle" hopefully around December 1st, but it is a castle no more because the castle has lost its minarets (is that the word?) The top square things on a castle.

Starfish Children's Services
US Tax Number:  20-4682916
Xian China
Cell: 86.1348.812.4847


rachel.a.rasmussen said...

I have often wondered about Elise and her family over the past three years. Can't believe they are leaving Xi'an! Happy holidays Amanda!

Emily said...

What a blessing Elise was to you at Starfish. I'm sure it's hard to see her move on. How awesome that Bethany will be around.