Our 100 Good Wishes Quilt

To welcome and celebrate a new life, there is a tradition in the northern part of China to make a Bai Jia Bei, or 100 Good Wishes Quilt. It is a custom to invite 100 people to contribute a single square patch of cloth. The 100 patches are sewn together into a quilt that contains the luck, energy, and good wishes from all the families and friends who contributed a piece of fabric. The quilt is then passed down from generation to generation.

We have not been able to find very much information about this tradition, but another adoptive parent shared the following paragraph that she found while reading the book "Imperial Woman" by Pearl S. Buck. The book is about the final Empress of the Qing dynasty. At this point in the book, she is a concubine in the Imperial household, but has birthed the only male child of the Emperor. She has to leave her baby alone for a while and is thinking of ways to protect him, as well as obligate the other powerful Manchu families to back her son's claim to the throne. The book reads:

"She must offer the child as an adopted son, by symbol, to other powerful families in her clan. Yet what friends had she? She thought and she pondered and she devised this plan. 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."

We want to build on this Chiese tradition