Today Da’s company published a Staff Profile in their company news letter about our most recent trip to China. I am copying the text here with name changes […]. And, yes, I know about the spelling. This publication is coming out of Australia and spelling reflects that! I am so happy to have the news about my three favorite charities spread around the world!
Staff profile – [Da]
In this issue of Inform, we talk to [Da] about combining three of his great loves: family, travel and helping others.
Winston Churchill, one of the most well-known British prime ministers in history once said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” It’s a sentiment that rings true for [Da], who spent a month volunteering with the Starfish Foster Home in Xi`an, China earlier this year. Volunteering to help children in Chinese orphanages is particularly personal for [Da] and his wife [Marmee], as three of their daughters are adopted from China.
“When we decided to adopt from a foreign country we set out to learn as much as we could from those who went before us and we ended up reading stories coming out of the Korean adoption community. Many of the adopted children (now adults) were raised in white families and assimilated into the American culture with no regard for their past. They now consider this a great loss.”
“We obviously cannot give our girls everything that they will miss out on by not being in China with their families, but we can help them gain a partial understanding by spending as much time as possible in China, reading about the culture, reading Chinese literature, watching Chinese movies and learning the language,” says [Da]. To keep the girls? birth culture alive, the entire _____ family is learning Mandarin Chinese, the official language of mainland China. Spending time in Xi`an with other Chinese children is also an important part of helping the girls to understand and maintain their culture and heritage, says [Da].
The Starfish Foster Home was founded in 2007 to help children with special medical needs by working in collaboration with local orphanages in Shaanxi province. The staff at the foster home ensures the children are healthy and strong enough to receive medical treatment, organises and pays for their surgeries, provides post-operative care and then works to find the children new families through adoption.
The _____ family first became involved with the Starfish Foster Home in its very early days when [Da]’s wife helped the foster home partner with Love Without Boundaries. Since then, [Marmee] has also helped the foster home’s founder, Amanda de Lange, with the creation of a blog and a Facebook page to spread the word about the foster home.
A couple of years ago, the family had the idea of renting an apartment in China for an extended period and working with the staff at the foster home.
“We wanted to stay longer than the usual ‘tourist two weeks’. We were looking for an inexpensive base to research the possibility of living in China for part of every year and also an opportunity for the girls to do volunteer work at the foster home,” [Da]’s wife says.
Earlier this year, the family travelled to the foster home in Xi`an, taking a double stroller (something that the foster home can not buy in China) and five boxes of donations with them. They made crib sheets, stuffed pillows, organised and inventoried the foster home’s medicine cabinet and built shelves. They also spent as much time as possible with the Starfish Foster Home babies.
“The most rewarding thing about volunteering at the foster home was the relationships we developed with the babies. We also loved seeing our children do service for others without complaint – they are already asking when we will return to China,” [Marmee] says.
The _____ family dreams of returning to China in the future to build a music school for disabled children.
“Our seven year old daughter, who is missing her left hand, plays the viola with the assistance of a prosthetic. She was able to play a piece for the nannies in the foster home and completely changed their attitudes towards two little boys from the home who are also missing limbs,” [Da] says. “It would be amazing to think how much more we could do with an entire school.”