When we went to China, we tried to ask our guides all about different Chinese traditions that we could continue with our girls in the States. One that the guide talked about were the gifts of Jade. Traditionally, a newborn girl would receive an inexpensive piece of Jade from their grandma. When the girl gets to be around 15 or 16, they would receive an expensive piece of Jade from their parents. After they are married or maybe just older (around 25-30), they are suppose to buy their own piece of Jade. I don’t know if this tradition is all of China or just where our girls come from but it seemed that every kid coming out of the foster care system in Nanning had a small piece of Jade, both boys and girls. Our two girls were no exception.
We think the foster family bought the Jade for our girls because the necklace chain started showing up in pictures of our girls soon after they were placed with their foster family. The piece of Jade is on a small piece of red string, red being the color of good luck/fortune in Chinese culture.
With the girls’ cleft, they make a mess when they eat. Yes, they now let us put a bib on them but it still drips down their chin and under the bib. This necklace is always soaked in milk and other liquidy things. Ted has decided that the cloth necklace is just the wrong material, so for Christmas, we asked for some new chains to put the necklace on. I hope it is not bad luck to cut their necklaces because that is what we had to do. They were not small yet but Ted was also concerned that in a few years, the necklace would be tight on their necks so out came the scissors.
And away we clipped.
We thought we could easily put on the new chain and be done with this project. A simple 2 minute project. But of course that is not what happened. When we put on Jenna’s necklace, we had to pinch shut the clip to get it through the hole in the Jade. All we had to do after was to reopen it and clip it shut. Not too bad. Now it is on a chain that we can take off during surgeries (something the doctor’s did not like during the first one), it stays clean, and when they get older we can easily change it to a bigger one.
Quinn’s necklace on the other hand went from small problem to big disaster. We actually cut the loop on the end of the chain to try and get it through Quinn’s Jade. We figured we could easily just reattach the loop after it was through the Jade…seems easy enough right??
So with a snip the loop was cut off on the new chain. Only then did we discover that the chain itself was just a tad too large to fit through the hole. Ugh….
So we found a thin chain from one of my necklaces, removed the looped, ran it through the hole, and reattached the loop. Quinn was happy to have her necklace back but the chain lasted all of two hours before a slight tug ripped the chain right in half. Ugh…again!!
So with that defeat, Ted took the Jade to work and decided to enlarge the hole ever so slightly so the original chain could slide through. Bad idea!! The jade busted in two as soon a the smallest amount of pressure was applied by the drill bit. The small broken piece went flying across the tile floor. The floor was speckled with speckles the same color as the broken piece of Jade. It blended right in. Ugh!!!
Twenty minutes later Ted finally found the broken piece under his bench, but only after two of his coworkers found a flashlight and shown it across the tile floor to look for shadows since the broken piece was nearly impossible to see. Ugh! Ugh! Ugh…..
So back at home we added a little super-glue and the Jade was pieced back together so that there was a hole again to put the chain through; however, I did not trust a bit of super-glue so I called a lady I had met in our local mom’s group who makes her own jewelry. Two days before Christmas, the night before this family was going on vacation, she gave a bit of her time to wrap Quinn’s Jade with some jewelry wire adding another layer of security. She also added a small ring so the thicker chain could slide through.
So with that fix and one more trip back to Ted’s work to solder the loop back on the end of the chain – remember we cut it off at the beginning of this mess – we once again had a functional necklace.
Needless to say, Quinn was very excited to get her necklace back and I was very excited that if the super-glue did not hold, we would still have the piece of Jade.
Maybe next time, we’ll just stick with the string….. =)