This is about two women I greatly admire. Two women whose boundless love for children would bring them together. Two most gracious and selfless women. This is about Amy Eldridge and Karen Maunu.
Karen & Amy
I am reminded of the inspiring words of Khalil Gibran. “When we give ourselves unconditionally, we truly give. When we give without expecting anything back, we are an unconditional giver.”
Amy and Karen are two unconditional givers.
I find their positive spirit to be contagious.
Not long ago, I had an online interview with Amy Eldridge, the founder of a nonprofit organization “Love Without Boundaries.“ I was already fascinated by her BIO on Twitter. She started with “I hope that people can see that anyone truly can make a difference in this world, if they just step out in faith to help those in need.”
My interview with Amy opened my eyes and my heart.
Amy -Unconditional Love
Amy’s world changed six years ago when she visited her first orphanage in China. Walking past metal baby cribs filled with abandoned children, she met a fragile, very sick little baby with heart disease. A baby named Kang. How devastating it must be to see a baby fighting for their life! Amy asked when the baby’s surgery would be, the response was: “no funds were available” to save this poor baby’s life.
Amy returned to the U.S. but couldn’t forget the images at the orphanage. She couldn’t get that baby’s face out of her mind. She knew she had to help that beautiful baby. While this little boy was facing an unknown future, Amy wrote to family and friends to help her with funding to save his life. She was blessed to have many wonderful family and friends that supported her. Those friends and family members passed her original letter on to others asking for support. The outpouring of support was simply amazing. Amy along with family members, friends, and friends of friends managed to raise sufficient funds to heal baby Kang.
There were other children with heart defects. Amy says thus the idea of establishing a foundation called “Love Without Boundaries“, dedicated to changing the lives of orphaned children in China, was formed.
Amy emphasizes adoption is such a blessing. She adopted two children from China. She says she cannot imagine her live without them.
When I met Karen Maunu on Twitter, I could feel her love and passion for children. I could sense her deep love and respect for her husband, who must be a wonderful man. You can ask anyone who knows Karen and you’ll hear the same. Karen was not always a stay at home mom. She was a successful career woman. After a while, she realized she didn’t find much meaning in pursuing a career in computer sciences. She wanted to dedicate herself to her family. She quit her job after her second child, to be a stay at home mom. She only wanted to be a loving wife and caring mom. She found meaning in life giving unconditionally to her family. I can feel her passion when Karen speaks about her children and her family.
Karen wanted to adopt and started researching many countries. This brought her and her husband to China where they adopted their daughter. Two years later, they were back in China to adopt one more child. During this trip, Karen and her husband visited the orphanage where their second adopted daughter was raised. The orphanage was full of beautiful children, all wanting to be hugged and loved. When they returned to the U.S., Karen was still thinking of the children she left behind.
Karen started doing research on the Internet. It didn’t take long before she found Amy Eldridge’s blog and later that year learned Amy had formed the non profit foundation: “Love Without Boundaries.” It didn’t take a long time before Karen was involved with LWB. They traveled to China together where Amy asked her to become the Medical Director of LWB. Karen and Amy found absolutely the best hospitals in China to make sure special needs children and children with heart defects get the best care. In spring 2009, Karen was promoted to Associate Executive Director.
Amy, Karen and dedicated LWB volunteers in many countries, have been working for the past six years, to provide the most loving and compassionate care to children whom otherwise would be waiting in their metal cribs, facing an uncertain future. LWB is a virtual foundation with over 150 volunteers. They have daily communication with LWB staff in China, through email and Skype. They also make trips to China to check on the children’s progress. They both say they have been blessed on those trips to meet so many incredible children who inspire them.
They have a good relationship with officials in China. They are grateful for those loving and compassionate people working at the orphanages.
LWB has 5 main program areas in China. The programs are run with the very best teachers, aunties and program managers.
The Medical Program provides heart surgeries, abdominal surgeries, and other life changing operations. LWB has several specific medical funds that people can donate to, such as heart surgery fund. This enables a child who needs an urgent surgery to be fully funded.
The Foster Care Program places children in a loving home.
The Education Program builds schools inside of orphanages, as well as providing funds for both high school and college.
The Healing Homes Program builds special facilities where most needy and vulnerable babies can receive care. The Cleft Healing Home Project is dear to their heart. In 2008, LWB opened the first Cleft Healing Home in China.
The Orphanage Assistance Program provides high quality formula, safe cribs, and warm clothes to those in need.
About 1500 children a year receive help and assistance from LWB.
Amy and Karen have much in common. Both adopted children from China. Both are passionate about the work they do for LWB. Both give unconditionally.
Amy and Karen work together to raise funds for LWB. Their goal is the same as when Amy started LWB to save more children’s lives. In Amy’s own words: “We want to change the lives of as many orphaned children as possible, in order to help as many of them find permanent homes through adoption as possible. Some of the new projects we are working on include a possible sixth orphanage school inside a large orphanage that has a lot of kids who can’t attend public school, a new Foster Care Program in rural southwestern China, another Cleft Healing Home so even more lives can be saved, and of course to continue healing as many children as possible through our medical program.”
And she adds: “We have a saying at LWB that “every time you save a child’ life…the world changes for the good.”
LWB is not an adoption agency but they work closely with adoption agencies because they believe each child deserves a home and a loving family.
Amy Eldridge and Karen Maunu remind us that it is only through giving that we are saving our own lives.
“Together, we really can change the world….one child at a time.” ~Amy Eldridge