After four kids, ten moves and nearly two decades, we are still blissfully in love (most of the time) and I found myself back in the state I was born and raised in. It has definitely been a journey. In fact, on our 18th anniversary we pulled the last of our stuff up over the pass and into Montana, leaving our surprise love, Idaho, behind. But Montana is a great place. The last best place according to some. And we fully intend to explore as much of it as we can! Join us on our continued adventure through life, love and other stuff that comes with it.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Sammy Bag Story

Before telling you this story I want to apologize. This version is greatly abbreviated. The full version is of novel length and has the plot line to go with it.

About six years ago I had a sister fall into my life--Mansura. She came to the United States on a student Visa from Tajikistan and ended up with my family. While attending school at the University of Montana she met and married a wonderful man from Peru (part of that novel would be that he had a dish in his lab and was growing bacteria with her name on it). They now live in the Washington DC area with their two kids-- probably the only Tajik/Peruvian kids on the planet --ages 5 and 2. Her husband recently became a US Citizen and Mansura now has her green card.

According to the US Department of State, “Tajikistan remains the poorest of the former Soviet republics in Central Asia.” It also refers to the country as “nominally constitutional.” From Mansura’s description and from watching Mansura adapt to life here in the United States, I imagine it to be a harsh and unforgiving country.

Last year Mansura’s mother called her to tell her that her sister (back in Tajikistan) had died. At first they thought her sister's husband had killed her, but now they think it might have been her sister's heart. Her sister did have some heart issues, but the circumstances remain questionable. Her sister is buried in her mother’s back yard and Mansura is heart-broken that she lost her only full-blooded sister.

There are two children—age four and six—who were suddenly without a mother. Mansura eventually got the blessing of their father and Mansura and her husband have spent the last year and the every available bit of money trying to adopt them.

Over Mother's Day weekend this year they found out that all the paperwork had gone through and they were officially Mansura's. Her husband couldn't adopt them because he's not Tajik and only Tajik citizens can adopt Tajik children.

The plan is that Mansura's mother, who has been taking care of the children for over a year now, meet Mansura and her husband somewhere in Europe as soon as they can get it arranged and get the money to pay for it. This could happen as early as March, 2011.

The Sammy Bag project is my way of helping them from afar. Named after their oldest son, 100% of the materials for these bags has been donated and 100% of the time has been donated. So 100% of your purchase goes to help Mansura and her husband pay the legal fees, paperwork fees and airfare to bring these children to the United States.

Mansura with her son Sammy and her newborn daughter Angelina.

These are the Sammy Bags I have for sale currently:

If you'd like one they are $25--except the orang and brown applique one which is $45.  I'll ship any of them anywhere in the US for an additional $5.  mrs_ donnelly at hotmail dot com. 

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