Saturday, July 30, 2011

Who Woulda Thought....

Orphanage. Social Welfare Institute. I am sure those words conjure up preconceived images your mind as to what those places look like. And those images are not all that pleasant. When I started the adoption process one of the first things that we were informed about was where our children would come from. Without reviewing the whole one child policy situation lets just say that when international adoption started most if not all of the government run orphanages were overflowing with babies, mostly girls, and struggled to feed, clothe, and take care of them all. We have been educated that our children may be underweight, not make eye contact, may not be able to suck from a bottle, and not used to diapers. They may not know how to play with toys, call out for help, and if older may hoard food. Sad, but a consequence of the situation. I use the word MAY because over the past 10 years the orphanage situations have become better and are more able to take care of those entrusted to them. There are some very good SWI's (Social Welfare Institute) that take excellent care of the children and have plenty of staff and people to love on the kids. There are still some that are not.
Since I felt the call to adopt, one of my many prayers to God about my daughter was that she would be placed in a SWI that had plenty of resources and lots of people to lover her and pay attention to her. I prayed that she would have good health and access to good medical care, lots of food to eat, and had the opportunity to make strong bonds with her care givers. I just assumed that she would come from one of the SWI's and she would have the same start that most children adopted from China have. Who woulda thought that she would be placed where she is - the Starfish Foster Home. I had no idea that places like this existed, but God did. He knew. He knew that on December 27th, 2009 a sick little girl would be found and taken to an orphanage. He knew that they would see that she was sick and would take her to a hospital - a hospital where a woman named Amanda would find her and take her to her foster home. He knew that Amanda would get the best medical care for her and take care of her until she was ready to be placed and get her forever family. He knew.
There is so much to Audrey's story that I will never know. I will never know if December 14th is her actual birthday - the hospital estimated her birth date when she was brought in. I will never know what happened in those few days between her birth date and her finding. I will never know if she has brothers and sisters, if she looks like her birth mother or father, if she was well fed. But God knows, and that makes it all OK with me. He knew exactly what she would need and took care of her. As Psalm 139 says (excuse my poor paraphrasing) "I know you and made you and all those days adorned for you. You can't get away from me because I know where you are. I know all you will do before you do it and I got you, I will never leave you." He knew her Chinese name and that she would be known as Sally. He knew that she would need the Starfish Foster Home. He knew that I would need the Starfish Foster Home even before I knew anything about it. He knew a chubby little girl across the world would need a mommy just like me and He brought us together.

The Starfish Foster Home is a gift from God. I never knew that a place like this existed. I thought all children adopted from China came from government run SWI's. But I was wrong.(borrowed from the Starfish web page) In September 2005, Amanda de Lange founded Starfish Children's Services to save children who have special health needs that are the most at-risk in its partner orphanages. This promptly resulted in the establishment of Starfish Foster Home (SCS) to rescue children in need of medical care by working in collaboration with local orphanages. After nursing them back to health through solid nutrition and a loving environment, Starfish Children's Services organizes and pays for the children’s surgeries before providing post-operative care. After the surgeries, the goal shifts to getting these children in the adoption pipeline so that they can join a stable, loving family. Here is a link to the Starfish Foster Home web page - On this web page you can find out more about Amanda and the work she does, the kids living there, and how you can help. The foster home is different from the typical SWI in that it is privately funded, not government run. The fosterhome has a ratio of 1 nanny to 3 kids. Amanda has access to excellent surgeons and medical care for the children in her facility. I have been so overwhelmed by all the Angels God has sent ahead of me on the path to my daughter. There have been so many volunteers that help Starfish and take care of our babies. Taylor and Jet are the two that have sent me photos and video of my girl.  Yonna sponsored my girl for a year before I came along, sending her clothes and gifts. And Amanda just sent me a message on FB that said that Audrey (Sally) is cruising the furniture and will be walking alone soon. Who woulda thought? I sure didn't, but I am so glad that God did. He has her, all the rest of those babies, and me in his hands. And it is good!
Taylor also sent me some new photos and video! Enjoy!



I think it is funny that at the end of this video she walks over to get some food!

Please go to the Starfish page and see if you are called to help out. You can send money, supplies, or donate to a specific child's care by sponsoring them or helping to pay for a child's surgery. Some one did that for my kid. If you feel led to adopt a child you can contact any agency dealing with international adoption and China, and also contact Amanda from the web page. If I ever get the chance to adopt again I would request a child from this place. They are well taken care of AND are just so gosh darn cute. I'm going to have a hard time not taking another child home with me. I do plan, when she is old enough, to take Audrey back to volunteer. Right now Jet and her family are there with daughter Nora volunteering - Nora was adopted from Starfish.
Here is the story that gives Starfish its name: An older man was walking along a beach when he saw a young boy. Along the shore were many starfish that had been washed up by the tide and were sure to die before the tide returned. The boy was walking slowly along the shore and occasionally reached down and tossed a beached starfish back into the ocean. The older man, hoping to teach the boy a little lesson in common sense, walked up to the boy and said, "I have been watching what you are doing, son. You have a good heart, and I know you mean well, but do you realize how many beaches there are around here and how many starfish are dying on every beach every day? Surely, such an industrious and kindhearted boy such as yourself could find something better to do with your time. Do you really think that what you are doing is going to make a difference?"The boy looked up at that man, and then he looked down at a starfish by his feet. He picked up the starfish, and as he gently tossed it back into the ocean, he said, "For this one, it makes a difference."

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