This week, I spent my third sewing session with an amazing woman. Each week, as we cut and sew, we talk and Patricia has opened up a whole new world to me. We’ve been working on preparing a 100 wishes quilt for her new daughter who she will meet next week in China. She and her husband are “scrambling to get things in order” before they leave on Monday. (they are there!) Ruby is about six months old – most of her life spent in the Social Welfare Institute of Yugan County, Jianxi Province. -most of her life spent beside her twin, Raven. But Chinese orphan girls are excluded from proper medical care and Raven died of a septic infection because of a lack of antibiotics and the warmth of a proper environment.
I’ve learned so much about the situation in our three visits. In 1979, China established a One-Child Policy to suppress the population. Only wealthy citizens can afford to pay the fines levied for the privilege of keeping a second or third child. Couples in rural communities abandon newborn daughters or male and female children with birth defects and “special needs” in “finding places.” – places that ensure the infants are found, brought to the appropriate authorities and to an orphanage.
I learned that it is the babies and elderly, connected sectors of China’s Social Welfare Institute, that endure conditions not suitable for these fragile beings. Most have no heat, some being in the coldest parts of China. Layers of clothing are relied upon to insulate but not adequately against the weakening effects of disease. A blanket is a luxury. A blanket of one’s own a rarity.
I have become connected to this situation, like often happens serendipitously at the shop. Our open door invites opportunities for new experiences and knowledge. So, happily and unexpectedly , Patricia and I have decided to combine our efforts and those of the people we ask, to bring quilts to the orphanages of China. We have been graciously embraced by everyone we have approached to date. Resources for the possibilities unfold with every conversation.
We are looking for sewists, quilters and other facilitators to begin our venture in bringing warmth and love to this very necessary situation in an unprecedented way. It is a daunting task, but we can make a difference, one quilt at a time. Please contact us if you can help.