03 July 2012

The Adoption Quilt

This is the birth/adoption announcement I created for Kalia.  (She is four days old in the photo).  I wanted to share the story about the special quilt she is laying on.

About a year after we started filling out the initial paperwork for adoption with LDS Family Services, I decided that I wanted to make a quilt for our birth mother.  My mother-in-law came to visit us in Jan. 2008 and taught me how to do something called quilt-as-you-go quilting.  She actually made us a quilt using this same pattern in reds, pinks, purples, and white.  She did most of the hand sewing on the plane ride from Idaho to Maui, and then gave it to us for Valentine's Day that year.

I found the original post for when I started making the quilt for our birth mom back in May 2008.  Here is an excerpt from that post. (with any clarification in parenthesis).

 I got the idea (for this quilt) while I was reading another couple's (adoption) blog.  The wife had made a quilt for their birth mom. I went out that same night and bought my favorite fabric at the "expensive" fabric store. I am using the design my mother-in-law used on the quilt she made for us for Valentine's Day, because when I was telling someone what the design was, I said it had hearts and leaves on it. When I said it out loud, I thought wow, I guess that would be how a birthmom would feel when she placed her baby in the arms of another family...like part of her heart leaves. London (who was almost 8 at the time) was asking me why I was making the quilt for the birth mom, and I told her that there would be days when the birth mom would be really sad, and sometimes when your sad, it is nice to be able to wrap up in a blanket. London asked why she would be sad, and I said, "Well, she will probably be sad that she couldn't keep her baby, and she will probably miss the baby as well." London got kind of concerned, and said, "Why can't she keep her baby?!" It was kind of a realization for her...she made the connection that if we got to have a new baby in our house, that it meant that another girl would have to give her child to us. I told her that sometimes the girl isn't ready to be a mom, because she is around the same age as the girls who come to babysit for us. She didn't know that girls could have babies at that age. I also told her that sometimes adoption is the best plan for the baby, even if the mom is old enough to have a baby.

I finished the quilt for our birth mom in April of 2009.  We moved from Maui back to Juneau right after I started the quilt, and then I started school and didn't have a ton of time to dedicate to "fun", so it took me a little longer to finish than it normally would.  The quilt I made for Kalia's birth mom was bigger than the one she is pictured with...but I don't know that I ever took a picture of it when it was completely finished.  The original layout looked like this, before any of the pieces were attached to each other.

I also found this photo that has the finished quilt in it...but the picture was actually taken as an assignment for one of my first photography classes.  The assignment was to take a self portrait that told something about me.  I had originally cut out four more complete blocks, but later decided that I didn't want the quilt to be square, so I just put all the pieces in a zipper bag and tucked them away in my craft supplies. The pieces spread around on the floor are actually the pieces I used to make Kalia's quilt.

As soon as we got home from meeting Kalia's birth mom for the first time, I pulled out the four remaining blocks and made Kalia a little matching quilt.  I read on another person's adoption blog (at some point over the past few years) that it was a good idea to take the baby's picture at regular intervals with the same item, so the birth mom could see how much baby was growing.  In the blog I read, the people used a large stuffed animal in all their update photos.  I plan to take Kalia's picture with her quilt each month on her birth-day so her birth mom can see how big she is getting and be able to kind of match it up with the big quilt I made for her.  The squares are the exact same size, only the finished size of the quilts are different.

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