Sunday, May 22, 2011


The Savior taught His disciples, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.”

I believe the Savior is telling us that unless we lose ourselves in service to others, there is little purpose to our own lives. Those who live only for themselves eventually shrivel up and figuratively lose their lives, while those who lose themselves in service to others grow and flourish—and in effect save their lives. Thomas S. Monson

Monday, May 9, 2011

saving lives, one starfish at a time

That pretty much sums up what Amanda over at starfish has committed her life to doing. One afternoon we got to sit down with her and go through pictures and listen to her stories. She showed us a picture of one of the babies she got from a dying room. (Oh, they don't exist, right?) Then we got to see him as a toddler. A chubby, happy go lucky toddler that a year and half earlier was slated for death. We arrived at Starfish shortly after Sam arrived. When I saw him, I immediately thought, "Wow. Now THAT is what jaundice looks like." Nope. That is what serious liver problems look like. He was yellow as yellow can be and Amanda was told by a Chinese doctor that he needed a liver transplant. (Which basically equates to a death sentence since a liver for a baby is hard to come by.) Amanda merrily went on her way, taking Sam to an Australian doc for a second opinion. This doctor had better news. It wasn't Sam's liver, but the bile duct (is that right??) was partially blocked. This still required a serious surgery, but at least Sam had an option. I remember us all being so excited to hear this, that Sam now had hope. And then today started out with an email telling me that Sam had died. Sigh. I honestly don't know how Amanda does it. Falling in love with baby after baby but inevitably losing some along the way as she does deal with a full spectrum of serious medical issues...I don't know how many she has lost, but I imagine that it doesn't get any easier. Oh, Amanda. Just as I heard in a story of Mother Theresa making sure babies were held and loved before dying, I am so thankful that Sam was in an environment that provided plenty of love for the last month in his earthly life. And now he is on to much bigger and *much* better things.

on a lighter note: Rachel has been working like crazy to get her operation starfish shop open. It isn't completely done as she has more projects to upload, but you can jump on over for a sneak peak. 100% of the money from these items will benefit the starfish house. I am also adding a donate button on my blog. Rachel's goal is to not only raise money for her plane ticket to Xi'an next year ($1000), but to also raise $4000 for Starfish. Go, Rachel, go. You're my hero. Give her a week and it will be stocked with all sorts of goodies.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Paul, the starfish baby with a little gq in him

This is Paul. Not only is he adorable with his naturally occuring faux-hawk, but the only thing that they can find wrong with him is that he is half white. Horrible, isn't it? Apparently, the ladies at the local orphanage didn't want to have much to do with a half-blood of sorts so they concocted a story for Amanda about Paul's blindness. Yet there isn't any sign of vision problems as he is a pretty alert 2 month old who loves making eye contact. He is a little small for his age, but pretty dang healthy compared to the other babies in the starfish isolation room.

There was another baby Amanda got from the orphanage that was "refused" care from the orphanage workers. They claimed that this baby had aids. (and they assumed that this was why he couldn't thrive, even though it probably was because nobody would touch him!) She showed us pictures of him when he came and his skin was hanging off of his bones. The funny (or really not so funny) thing is that the claim that he had aids was not based on any test, but just on word of mouth. Amanda tested him regularly, never receiving abnormal results. When he left the Starfish House, he was a plump and chubby little toddler who had thrived on love.