Saturday, July 14, 2012

Heaven Gained an Angel!

Amanda de Lange 1961-2012

Today July 14th at 11:48 east coast time our beloved Amanda de Lange went home to be with our savior. All of Heaven rejoiced today with the homecoming of the newest angel. Our dear and beloved Amanda went home to our Savior this morning. She will be dearly missed on this side of Heaven, but I know she is pain free and rejoicing with our Savior today. She has left a legacy that will live on through all of the babies she cared for and all of the volunteers she touched. I am sure all of her babies who went home before her are glad to have their "momma" home with them. I can only imagine the line of individuals and all your children who welcomed you home. Heaven is a better place because of you. This world could use many, many more Amanda's. I know I will miss you dearly Amanda you have forever changed my life and I have been blessed to know you and call you my friend! I know you said no tears but it is so hard not to cry. You were an angel on earth and the Lord needed you home more than he needed you here! “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.” This verse is from Romans 8:28 and my friend Amanda's favorite words from the Bible. Please click here to read more about Amanda and to get information about when her celebration of life will be.

Amanda and I fist met via email back in the summer of 2009 when I started planning the trip I would take to volunteer to help orphans in China. I was 16 years old at that time and I had emailed many foster homes about coming to volunteer and all of them except Amanda at Starfish said that I was to young and could not come or that they were full for the summer of 2010. I remember one of the first emails I ever got from her was we would love to have you come stay with us no one is ever to young to help! Those words have forever stuck with me because no one ever is to young to help sometimes the youngest of all is the one that makes the biggest difference. Once I got closer to traveling for my first trip and sent Amanda an email telling her are definite dates she told me that they were there waiting on our arrival and couldn't wait to help us have a meaningful trip to China. 

My first trip was amazing and I loved everything that Amanda was doing in Xi'an I quickly came home and started preparing for the next summer because I knew for a fact I was going back to China to volunteer at Starfish! I loved the fact that she didn't turn a baby away and fought for every baby that was in her care. She and her nannies nurtured and cared for every baby that came through the Starfish doors until they were adopted. Occasionally babies came through the Starfish doors way to sick and could not be saved but they knew even with their short time here what love was and how it felt to be loved and that was the most important thing.

The summer of 2011 I returned to China again to volunteer at Starfish and I once again saw babies lives transformed. The little 6 that had arrived about the same time I did in 2010 were thriving and so loving. When you walk into a normal city orphanage you are met with children who don't know what a hug is or how it feels to be cuddled. Their eyes are not full of hope and they all seem so sad but this was so far from the children I was met with I Starfish. I was met (tackled) by children who wanted me to play. I had children on me from the time I got to the baby rooms until the time I left. I fed and changed babies way to many times to count. But I could feel love all around me! The nannies truly loved "their" children and fought so they could have the best. If the health of a child was even questioned the child was given the best medical care possible in mainland China. We lost a baby on my second trip to Starfish, a rotto virus spread though the isolation room and one of the little cleft boys who I loved dearly caught it and his weak body could not fight it off. I saw how it affected Amanda to loose a baby he wasn't just a number in her head he was a little person she had grew to love and cherish in the 2 weeks he had been at Starfish. I know little Jules was dearly loved and cared for. He was snuggled by countless volunteers, nannies and Amanda. He was soothed when he cried and fed when ever he was hungry. We could all see the lose in Amanda's eyes when she was told the news and we all knew her heart broke when she found out he would not be coming back home to Starfish. However I do know this Jules along with Thomas who I met my first trip were two of many Starfish babies who completely healed welcomed Amanda home today. Because of Amanda those two little boys knew what it meant to be loved and cherished even if it was only for two weeks or two years, they knew someone cared and loved them. 

Amanda was a very stubborn person and knew how to get what she and her babies needed. The health of her babies came above all other things and she would quickly let you know if you did anything that could harm her children. She fought tooth and nail for them and made sure they had the best care takers, best nutrition, and the best medical care possible even if that meant she had to travel with them. None of her babies tummies ever went empty nor were their boo boos un-kissed. She loved her babies to pieces and it was clear. Amanda also had to deal with the government orphanage where most of her babies came from and they were not the nicest people to deal with. There have been several occasion where they told her she could not have that baby she had to pick one who would make it and she didn't need to waste her time on a baby that was going to die. However if Amanda was set on bringing that child home she didn't care what the orphanage told her that baby was coming home with her. Amanda was able to look past the sickly baby laying in the crib and see the potential that child had. 

Amanda is one of the reason I started Still We Wait my advocacy blog. I feel head over heels in love with a little boy at her Foster Home and found him on a list and started advocating and it grew from there! Amanda is and always will be a person a strongly admire. She gave up her comfortable life to take care of babies who needed her. She served the children of China for 6 years and never complained. She had her heart broken countless times with the passing of children or the adoption of children to families who would not keep in contact. But she kept saving the lives of helpless babies she never gave up until she literally could not do it any more. She placed her babies even above herself and lived off a budget that most people could not fathom everything donated went to the babies and she never took anything for herself.

Below is an essay I had to write for a program that I applied to about a person I admired and looked up to:

Name someone you believe has shown a strong commitment to something s/he 
believes in, and how this person has influenced you in your personal growth .

 Amanda de Lange is an amazing person who has changed my views on how people are to treat the least of the least.   Amanda runs a foster home in Xi'an, China for special needs orphans; she has invested her life and savings in this home in order to help vulnerable children of China who are medically fragile. She believes, it is impossible to help every child or individual in the world, but you can make a difference for many.   She has shown me how I can also make a difference in someone's life even if it is something as simple as to wave hello to someone I would normally not speak too.  She knows that there is and always will be someone out there who is worse off than herself and has made a point to help those that are less fortunate than her.  She has shown me that through dedication and support that I too can impact the orphans of the world.  It is partly because of what she does for those children that I have started an advocacy  blog to advocate for waiting children around the world to help them find families . Amanda inspires me to be someone bigger than myself and to help those so many others overlook.  She has shown me that every child regardless of gender or special need, deserve a chance to a new start.  Because of her over 100 children in the Shaanxi Province have had that chance at a new life; so many of the children she cares for have came to her close to death.   She is their angel on earth and brings them back from the downturn. When you walk into Starfish like I did this past summer, you are not met with sick children laying in beds like you are in a typical Chinese orphanage; you are embraced by loving and energetic toddlers and babies wanting your attention.  Amanda is the reason that I have set out to make a difference in the lives of Children in China whether it is by supporting her through donations or summer volunteer trips.   One day I would like to start my own foster home either in China or another country to help vulnerable children. 

Amanda and I at the Starfish Reunion in Nashville May 1012.
Amanda with Josiah two of the four reason why SWW was started!!
From left to right: Isaac, Angela, Coco, Mila, Kathryn, and Chole. All of these children are alive and well because of Amanda's hard work!
Elise and I bottom right Summer 2010 and top left Summer 2011. Amanda and her nannies nursed her back to health she was the size of a newborn at 4 months old in the bottom right picture. She weighed about 7 pounds the summer of 2010 and was a normal 1.5 year old summer of 2011. Amanda's hard work has saved children like her and many more!
If you are my friend on facebook you can see many more pictures of the precious children Amanda has saved!


  1. Taylor, you are such a difference maker! Your heart for the orphaned and your passion to see them find a family and a home is truly inspiring! Keep writing,you are so good at it, your blog is sinply amazing! I love you! <3

  2. I am not your friend on Facebook, but I think it will be amazing to follow YOU in your own journey, inspired, counseled and touched by such An amazing woman!


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