About Us


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.

2010 tax documents:

2010 990 Filing
2010 Schedule


The mission of Starfish is to save the lives of Chinese orphans with special health needs. Our vision is to provide a safe and loving home in Shaanxi province where orphans with special needs will receive nurturing care during their infancy and toddler years. Starfish will provide the best medical attention available in mainland China to meet the special needs of babies facing complex medical problems such as spina bifida, heart conditions, and cleft lips and palettes.

Striving toward this vision, we will focus on the following values:

1.    To expedite the movement of children out of orphanages and into the arms of loving adoptive families
2.    To serve as a resource center for other orphanages seeking medical care for their children
3.    To build a mutually supportive relationship with China's government officials
4.    To facilitate correct and rapid processing of required adoption dossiers



Amanda de Lange, Founder and Executive Director

Amanda de Lange is the founder of the Starfish Foster Home.  Until January, 2012, she ran the day-to-day operations of the foster home, where we house the babies.  Amanda secured the babies from the Xian and Yulin Orphanages. She was in charge of the babies who came to Starfish. She made sure received the best nutrition possible and arranged the surgeries that the babies needed.  She managed the staff.  She also worked with the Chinese government to prepare the adoption files and carried out the adoptions according to the wishes of the Chinese Center for Adoption Affairs (CCAA). Sadly, in january 2012 she was diagnosed with uterine cancer and she died July 14, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee.  Amanda was enveloped in love as she left. So fitting for a woman who selflessly shared her passion and energy nurturing vulnerable orphans, restoring them to health, and preparing them for the loving arms of their new parents and forever families.

As the Founder and Executive Director of Starfish Children's Service, operating the Starfish Foster Home in Xi'an, China, Amanda accomplished an incredible, loving feat in just seven short years. While she was in hospital, Amanda reflected: "168 babies, nearly 250 surgeries, and 81 adoptions - that pretty much sums up my life!" There is so much humility in that one phrase - and even more impact. Eighty-one Starfishes with their forever families, and so many more ready for their turn, thanks to Amanda and the incredible Starfish team and volunteers.

Naomi Kerwin, Director

Patrick McLaughlin, Board Chair

As a two-time volunteer at the foster home in Xi'an, Patrick has combined his "hands-on" experience at Starfish with his more than 24-year career in the media sales industry.  An avid golfer, runner, and adventure traveler, Patrick lives and works in New York City/Harlem with his wife, Cindy, and daughter, Norma Xi'an "Xi'Xi" (the Starfish Alumnae formerly known at Starfish as "Erica").

Cynthia Klaja-McLaughlin, Marketing and Fundraising 

Cynthia is owner/president of WATT AN IDEA!!!, Inc. a strategic marketing consultancy business and Vice President of Innovation at Maddock Douglas Consultants.  She has volunteered at the Starfish Foster Home and finds her work with Starfish personally fulfilling.  She is eternally grateful to Amanda for saving the life of her daughter, Norma Xi'an.

Margaret (Peggy) McCue, Treasurer

As board treasurer, Peggy summarizes preliminary financials for CPA and analyzes and reviews the business plan and budget projections.

Her academic background centers around undergraduate and postgraduate emphases respectively in business management and finance.   Peggy’s professional experience including Assistant Vice-President for a publicly-held financial institution and owning/managing three of her own businesses rounds out her qualification(s) for current Starfish assignment(s).

Anne Little, Board Secretary
Anne learned first-hand about Starfish in 2007 when she traveled to Xi'an on an adoption trip.  Since then, she has had a passion for work that improves the lives of orphaned children in China.  Anne lives in Knoxville, Tennessee, with her husband, Rich and their 5 children, 2 of whom are adopted from China.

Deborah and Greg Coffey, Volunteer Coordinators and Director of Communications

Deborah and Greg are our "can-do" dynamo couple from Missouri!  They have nine children, two of whom are adopted special needs children from China.  They are passionate about China and orphans.  Starfish is a perfect fit!  Deborah and Greg are Starfish's Volunteer Coordinators, and work with potential volunteers in helping to plan and coordinate their stay at Starfish.  They live in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, and are happy to answer questions about Starfish and volunteer opportunities.

Deborah is also our Director of Communications and is instrumental in all our exchanges of information with the media.

See Rising Starfish for
information on the next Starfish
baby in need of surgery
See Throwing Starfish for an
updated overview of the entire foster home’s operations
See Starfish Home for Cleft Babies
for the latest on our Cleft House babies
To find out the origin of the Starfish name, click here
Copyright © 2008 Starfish Foster Home. All Rights Reserved. Site by Segnant.