On September 13, 2005, my life changed. I watched as six babies were carried into my apartment. They all came from the Xi’an orphanage and had some special medical needs. The oldest was 4 months and the youngest just 42 days. That morning I had been single, and by evening time I was the caretaker of them all. What a change that was. A little bit of background might help. I was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and a few years after graduating from high school, I got a chance to go and study in the US. After this, I moved to Taiwan and taught English there for seven years. While I was there, I started learning Mandarin Chinese. I thought that coming to Xi’an for a year would be a great idea because there is so much history here, and I could also learn some more Mandarin. It was while I was here that I started volunteering at the Xi’an orphanage. I was so moved by the plight of the babies. One thing led to another, and I was offered a contract to open a foster home, signed with the Xian orphanage. I am so grateful that they have trusted me enough to allow me to help them with the children. I have now been in Xian for four years and counting. The first few months were really difficult. Imagine that! I got very little sleep, and I needed to learn a lot to not only take care of the babies, but I also find help for their medical problems. I started traveling all over China finding good doctors so that the children could have the best care available. Things improved so much that in April 2006, I took on another six babies from the orphanage and hired some nannies to help. In total we have taken care of 55 children here at Starfish. I have organized more than 45 surgeries, including heart, cleft lip and palate, spina bifida, and some general surgeries. We have had 16 adoptions, and parts of my heart now live in America, Spain, Holland and Norway. We are sending another two babies off to their new families within the next week. I have learned so much for which I am so grateful for. I had to learn how to fundraise, do marketing, and find medical help. I write a considerable amount of emails. I take thousands of pictures (I think it is now about 25,000) and write many blogs about the children and their families. I have also learned that a foster home has to be run like a business. I did not understand that very well in the beginning. Because we have been granted foundation status in the US, the accounting has to be very meticulous and transparent. My new goal for 2009 is to help facilitate medical missions to allow some doctors to come and do surgeries in order to help the orphans. I am also looking for funds to open a cleft house because there are so many children who have this condition. They are really hard to take care of. I am so happy to help the children, and feel so blessed to know that in some way, I have been there for them when they were defenseless and in desperate need of someone to love and take care of them. My life is now dedicated to saving lives and bringing love and laughter to the twenty children who are currently in my foster home.