Saturday, July 01, 2006

The Story of the Red Thread (1) - it connects those destined to meet.

By Patrick Gunn

Many families who are adopting from China know about the Red Thread. It comes from a saying that "An invisible red thread connects those destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance; the threadmay stretch or tangle, but will never break." Whatever the origin ofthis saying, our family has found it to be a great way to connect with the daughter and little sister we have yet to meet in China. As expectant adoptive parents, we have little that we can touch to keep usconstantly aware of our status. There are no slowly bulging bellies, nokicks to feel.

Once we're done with all the authentications ofdocuments and we've waited in our last line for fingerprints, there'snot much that keeps us physically attached to the adoption process butour imagination and dreams of the child to be. When we turned in our dossier in May of last year, I wanted to havesomething to keep with me until the day I pick up my daughter in China. So I made a trip to the art store and picked up some red embroiderythread. I used this thread to weave a simple little bracelet for myselfand then a sturdier bracelet for my wife Laura (which made for a greatMother's Day gift last year). At the time we turned in our dossier, wewere expecting a wait of six or seven months until referral. Had Iknown that the wait would end up being a full year, perhaps I would haveworked harder to create a stronger product for myself.

During the past year plus, I've looked at that red bracelet on my wrist every day and thought about my connection to a little girl I'm destinedto meet. First wondering if she had even been born yet, then trying toenvision her as she slept or ate or smiled for the first time. But always looking forward to the day her little finger would grab a hold ofthat thread and pull my arm toward her. Neither of us knew it at the time it happened, but I'm certain that I looked at my wrist and thought of her on the day she was born. This red thread has been a link to myfuture child, helping to make that concept a bit more real. It has stretched and tangled and snagged and broken and even dropped off andwas lost for a day. But I've always managed to retie it and get it backwhere it belongs, reminding me that my family is not yet complete. (To be continued.)

1 comment:

katiegraap said...

Thinking of the child, that you are waiting for?
Yes, as waiting parents we ALL wonder while we wait (and wait and wait!)-
"Where is my child living? Is she born yet? Is he warm and cared for?"
One morning, during our wait, I walked into my husband's bedroom as he dressed. He had tears in his eyes. He looked up and asked me: "Is she warm and being held?"
Now, this is a husband that I had to DRAG through the paperchase! He's now the most fantastic dad to a 4 year old...on some level everyone worries and wonders about the child they will call their own!
We prayed EVERY day that our child was warm and safe, until we got to China in the summer of 2002.

I tried to fill my time up with house renovation. I sewed a "100 good wishes quilt." Sewing the quilt squares together, somehow, made the 14 month wait feel like I was connected to my child...I would sew and dream of what we would do together, what it would feel like to hold her for the first time? and wonder what shape eyes she had...
It's all part of the adoption process- easier to wait for some than others....

I connected with other parents that had the same month DTC as I did, and it was terrifficly rewarding. I'd suggest an internet DTC Yahoo group to ANY parents that are waiting. I think that doing a quilt swap with other parents is also a fun way to give and receive good wishes for your child- so what if you don't quilt, do an exchange anyway (someone you run into over the years WILL!). A quilt from 100 good wished is a great keepsake for the children to have- their own quilt, sewn for them. If you've never seen a 100 good wishes quilt, then check out the Yahoo group of "100 good wishes quilt."

There is ONE thing that I didn't do while I waited, and that was learn about lifebooks. If I had known these were made for adopted children, so that they could know their early life story, I would have researched and learned about lifebooks before I left for China! If you're waiting or if you are ready to write a lifebook for your child, I've created two resources for adoptive parents with children from China- one for waiting families and one for parents that are beginning a lifebook. The two sites to purchase the resources are &

Join the 1700 parents on the Yahoogroup called CHINALIFEBOOKS. We have been writing lifebooks since January 2006, and will begin all over again in January 2007- sharing ideas, wording and resources about lifebooks!
It's run by two Gladney moms (Shirley Mills and Kay Graap)-

Here is a short excerp from the lifebook page, on my Gotcha day:
"Dear Kyra, the moment the director placed you in my arms was a moment that I waited a lifetime to experience. I looked into your big, brown eyes and from that moment on, you were my daughter. I felt the warmth of your soft skin and our family finally was complete. You looked at my strange blond hair, and blue eyes which were so unfamiliar to you. That evening, you fell asleep on your daddy's warm chest. After we put you in your crib at the hotel, we just watched you sleep in a peaceful, dreamy slumber."

This, and other writing styles, are all explored in the Lifebook writing guide-A workbook created for parents of children adopted from China.

Kay Graap
Adoptive mom of Yu Qiu Ping (2002)