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Note to all our Starfish Family and Friends, August 9th, 2012
I was fortunate enough to attend Amanda’s Celebration of Life on August 4th in Nashville, TN. The spirit and theme of the celebration was anchored by Amanda’s oft spoken and written words, “Life, love and laughter”. More accurate words do not exist to describe a woman that single-handedly changed the lives of hundreds of babies. She also leaned on these words to carry her through bone-deep exhaustion and the challenges attached to saving lives in China.
The event was held at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and facilitated with ease and grace by Bishop Jeffrey Webber. Bishop Webber was Amanda’s bishop for 5 months and was able to provide the 100+ guests a perspective on her selfless dedication to saving the lives of special needs orphans. Considering the short amount of time Bishop Webber had to get to know Amanda, I found myself impressed by the depth of his knowledge on Amanda’s journey. It was clear that that Bishop Webber was touched by Amanda’s selfless commitment to make a difference in the world.
Beyond Bishop Webber’s words, the celebration included several uplifting and insightful tributes to Amanda. As each speaker departed the lectern, the audience got to know more and more about this woman that worked her way from South Africa to Utah to Taiwan and finally to Xi’an China. The tidbits of knowledge ranged from a love of knitting, a passion to collect cards and quotes that left an impression, a world-class passion for all things chocolate and an unexpected attachment to the TV show “Top Gear”. But most important, each one of us walked to the parking lot knowing that the world truly is a better place having had Amanda follow her passion to help her babies.
I want to express a special thank you to two groups of people. First, to the members of “Team Amanda”, thank you for your tireless efforts in organizing a beautiful celebration. “Team Amanda” is best described as a passionate group of people committed to ensure that Amanda’s final days were as easy and enriching as possible. Secondly, to all of the people that not only traveled across the USA, but from around the globe, I thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to be a part of a very special day.
I think it reasonable to say that none of us will ever meet another person like Amanda in our lifetime. Whether you were a one-time volunteer, a foul weather friend that ventured to the foster home over 25 times or the lucky parents of a Starfish baby, we will always measure our impact on the world against the very high bar set by Amanda.
How do we say “thank you” to Amanda? It’s simple: we make a personal commitment to ensure Amanda’s legacy continues. Everyone needs to know that Starfish foster home is here to stay and poised to enhance Amanda’s legacy by expanding our impact on the orphans of Xi’an.
I look forward to sharing our goals for the future as well as the role I will need you to play to ensure our success.
Starfish Board President.
Starfish Foster Home is a home to about 30-35 babies – children from local orphanages who are in need of specific medical care. Their disabilities include such things as cleft lip and palate, spina bifida, heart disorders, and other impairments. Without life-saving surgeries and medical care, these babies would most likely not survive. Starfish gives them a new chance at life by providing quality nutrition and loving care and securing appropriate medical care or surgeries. Once they have recovered from their surgeries, they enter the adoption process through the Chinese government, and eventually become part of forever families across the globe.
Starfish has a director, 12-15 full time nannies, and other support staff that carry on the day-to-day activities of the foster home. We also welcome qualified volunteers to come and stay at Starfish to help with the on-going needs. In particular, we seek medical volunteers who are experienced in pediatrics and who are willing to stay for several months at a time. If interested, see "You Can Help" and "Volunteering" for how you might get involved.
Begun in 2005 by founder Amanda de Lange, Starfish has been a haven to over 168 children with over 200 surgeries performed and 80 international adoptions. It is a mission of love that will continue on in the lives of these little ones and their forever homes.
Here is a synopsis of Amanda and the story of the Starfish Foster Home. See