stories from my red thread life

A Big Day

Nine years ago today, I met my daughter Samantha. Meeting your daughter in an office building in China is a tiny bit different from giving birth. She was 9.5 months old, and not happy to be there. She had just been driven for four hours in the arms of an orphanage worker to meet her new parents, who probably looked to her like space aliens. Her first few minutes in my arms were spent crying and pushing against my chest. Her clothes were soaked with pee from a bursting diaper, and snot was pouring out of her nose. I cried too. I don’t know what I felt more strongly – love or empathy. Sam cried and cried, with a determined persistence that I would soon learn is a hallmark of her personality. I knew that this was a very healthy reaction, and was grateful to see her tears even as I tried to calm them. When Sam finally stopped crying, she became very quiet and looked around her intently to assess the situation. By the following morning she was laughing. Her transformation was stunning and quick. Here’s a photo of her the day after we met, right after we signed [...]

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Announcing… The Love Dress

For about a year, I have been working on a special project. You know how sometimes an idea pops into your head, and you wonder “Could I really do that?” This is one of those. I am frequently asked to donate dresses to charities, mostly for silent auction fundraisers. My customers have causes that they care deeply about, and they ask, so I give. It’s easy. But sometimes we want to do meaningful things that are not so easy, that require thought, investment, time and risk. And sometimes a cause or an organization strikes our heart in a different, more persistent way. The Canada Mathare Education Trust felt like that to me. It’s a secular, volunteer-run, registered Canadian charity that provides high school scholarships for children living in the Mathare Valley slum in Nairobi. Mathare is one of the largest and most impoverished slums in Kenya, and most of its 800,000 residents live on less than a dollar a day. Thanks to the opportunities CMETrust provides, kids who would otherwise not have access to a high school education are thriving, and several graduates are now starting university. The students are seizing these opportunities, working hard, and taking on leadership roles [...]

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