Found: 100 Good Wishes Quilt Squares

I made a discovery only a few weeks before we left for China. It was a brown box hidden far under my bed that contained within a Rubbermaid bin. You would think I was hiding it from myself. I do that quite a bit – put something in a special, hidden place to keep it safe and then completely forget where it is. We’ve lived in our house for only five years, and so this box, which I’ve had for ten years, must have been moved without me knowing what was in it. I’ve given up trying to figure out my losing and finding cycle. There’s no telling what’s hidden in my attic that I’ve forgotten about.

Back to the contents of the box: Almost 11 years ago we were waiting for our referral from China, which means we were waiting for Alison. We didn’t know her yet, and there were about 60 other parents who were also waiting for their little girls from China that I met through an Internet chat list. We spent quite a bit of time talking about our future daughters, giving one another advice, lamenting our wait (which considering wait times now for referrals seems ludicrous). It was a time when thousands of Chinese baby girls were being adopted every year by families from across the ocean and so traditions were born. One of those was a 100 Good Wishes Quilt that waiting families would provide one another. Actually, we provided each other with the material for the quilt and a wish for the baby. The process was simple: send each family on your list two 5″x 5″ quilt squares (one for a scrapbook, one for the quilt) and a wish for the baby. During one three-month period in the summer of 2001, I received 31 quilt squares (not everyone participated) and 31 good wishes for Alison. About a week after the last package came in the mail, we received our referral and the quilt project was put in a box, stored in a bin, and became something that: “I’ll get to next year.” Eventually I lost track of the box, and when we moved into our house I was certain the box had been lost in the move.

Ten years after I received all those good wishes, I found them again. And only a few weeks from the day that we returned to China to take our now ten-year-old daughter to visit her birthland. Irony abounds. I opened the box and began to read the wishes. Here’s a sample:

If there is light in the soul, there will be beauty in the person. If there is beauty in the person, there will be harmony in the house. If there is harmony in the house, there will be order in the nation. If there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world. – Chinese proverb. We wish you light, beauty, harmony, order and peace throughout your life. 

That wish was from Doug, Linda, Laura, and their future daughter. I’ve lost touch with everyone on this list since we received our referrals. I remember logging into the chat room every day in the fall and seeing the subject line: REFERRAL! We received our referral on October 1. As I read through the wishes each family gave our daughter, I realize that these prayers have been drifting above us all this time. Life has not been perfect and there have been bumpy places in the parenting road, but we have always felt held, guided, and blessed as we raise each of our children.

So now I will be working on a quilt. Well, not me exactly. I don’t sew (do buttons count?), but I’ll find someone who can help me stitch together the squares of good wishes – although now it won’t be a quilt for her crib, but will be placed at the end of the bed of a little girl who will soon be a young lady. Better late than lost forever. I better check the attic soon. Who knows what I’ll find up there.

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