Friday, May 4, 2007

100 Good Wishes Quilt: 1st Square

My first quilt square, from Missouri.

There is a tradition in northern China called the "Bai Jia Bei." In Mandarin, it's 百家被, which literally means Quilt United by 100 Families. 家 is the character for both family and home, very fitting since Apple will be getting both when I adopt her. The following is a story of the origin of the Bai Jia Bei...

"The last Empress of the Qing dynasty was a mere concubine, until she had the good luck to birth the Emperor’s only son. When forced to leave her baby alone for a while, she conceived a plan to protect him from the senior wives and obligate the other powerful Manchu families to back his claim to the throne. "From the head of each of the highest one hundred families in the Empire, she required a bolt of the finest silk. From the silks she commanded the palace tailors to cut one hundred small pieces and from these make a robe for her child. Thus he belonged, by symbol, to one hundred strong and noble families, and under their shelter the gods would fear to harm him."

In the China adoption community the traditional is to make a quilt known as the 100 Good Wishes Quilt. Family and friends are asked to participate by donating a piece of fabric and a wish, typed or written, with a sample of the fabric attached to it. The wish can be a quote, verse, saying, or a simple greeting or wish. Creating a 100 Good Wishes Quilt is like wrapping your child in the good wishes and hopes of family and friends.

Some people join egroups for this quilt and everyone in the group exchanges a square. My DTC egroup has started. Though we don't know one another, we share a common bond: we are all waiting to adopt our children from China. Due to the closeness of our log in dates, many of us will meet up in China, probably at the White Swan Hotel; and some of us may even find our children coming from the same SWI. I believe there are 50 participants already. I received my first square and wish today. It was unexpected and took my breath away when I saw what the envelope contained because these are the things that make my impending motherhood more real and visible since I don't have a growing middle to show for it.

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