Welcome to my blog! I hope to make your visit worthwhile and reward you with some new inspirations, sewing and recycling, crafts tutorials and recipes. Please add yourself as a follower, so that you will automatically be updated when I post something new! Please comment, I appreciate sharing mutual interests, like sewing, crafting, cooking and of course eating well! I am a former Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher, I sub in 3 school systems and moonlight at a retail ladies clothing store. I also am a licensed realtor with my hubby's company, which sometimes allows me to indulge my creative energies. A wife, a mom through adoption, Christian, boomer and a member of the sandwich generation I hope to share my unique perspectives and help you with some of yours!

Showing posts with label adoption. Show all posts
Showing posts with label adoption. Show all posts

Saturday, May 22, 2010

My Quest Part 2 and Skirting Tuts

My quest for motherhood, began with my son in 1986 and it wasn't until 1996 our dream of completing our family with a sister named Kate was realized.  My story follows my short discussion on adding a lacy ruffle to fancy up your skirts and another Thrift Pile skirt redo tutorial.

I am a confirmed lace-aholic, I have lots of it thoughout my home, in the form of doilies and linens, and whenever possible, I like to add it to my clothes. I purchased this sheer poly/nylon  rows of ruffles fabric, 3 years ago in the garment district in NY City. I love the look of a petticoat layer peeking out from under skirts, gives it a girly look and adds some inches when I feel the skirt show too much of my crinkled knees. I simply cut the fabric in strips following the lines of the ruffles. I then add this to the underskirt, or directly on to the edge of the skirt. No finishing needed, the fabric has a knit like quality so it doesn't ravel.  I remember the fabric being around $10.00 a yard but I felt I could get alot of trim out of it for all my projects. The second last pic shows an application of a layer of straight eyelet. Here are some examples.

Included in my thrift pile (mentioned in the previous post) is a sparkly pale green cardigan sweater, that I may delay changing till fall, it is so pretty without altering...but there are 3 skirts of varied sizes, destined for myself and daughter. Attacking the tiered black and beige one my daughter claimed first. 

1.  The Before picture, the skirt was cute, I believe a Mossimo size medium, from Target. 3 tiers, and lined with a layer of black cotton, it was cute but daughter didn't like that it was below her knees or that it was too big.

2.The skirt was an elasticized waist that was stretched out.  I simply cut a piece of  wide elastic, the measurement of my daughter's waist, and after altering, attached to the flirty skirt. (I purchased the 3 inch wide elastic from an etsy seller as I have not seen this type of wide elastic at JoAnns.) The picture shows me cutting a few inches off the top of the skirt, serging the two layers together, or zigzagging, as long as you keep the two layers even.

3. I placed marker pins equally spaced around the elastic, to help match up the side seams and evenly distribute the gathers by marking off in matching increments, so that the gathers are nicely distributed.

4.  I stitched two rows of gathers along the top below the serged edge. Pull the gathers gently.
5. I stitched the elastic, right side to wrong side of waistband. Voil'a. No hemming needed, it is already done for you. Took all of 25 minutes from start to finish!

6.  After most of the skirt is attached, I took the garment out of the machine, and pinned the two cut edges of the elastic together, stitched at a slight angle, wider towards the skirt, narrower towards the top of the waistband, and then finger pressed open.  I then finished attaching the skirt, to the elastic.

Kate is modeling for me reluctantly, as she didn't want to change her top to make this photo more attractive.. oh well...

This purchased skirt retailed over $25.00, bought on sale, my redo cost around $5.00!
The polka dot skirt will be demonstrated next post, so watch for it. 

I picked up the blogging bug right after I started my own etsy shop in fall of 2008, and I have become so addicted to writing and showing off what I make and learn as I go through life.  Having followers who read and try my stuff is a real honor and motivation to keep it going.  I just "curated a treasury" for etsy.  The link is here.  I met some nice ladies and even helped sell the table cloth pictured!  I was kind of eyeing it for myself, but I am sure she will find me another...:)

My Quest for Motherhood, Part 2
Well as promised, here goes my story of my second child through adoption, Katerina. For the years following my son's birth and childhood, I harbored the dream of having a sibling for him.  When my son was 7th months old, I amazingly got pregnant and lost it around 6 weeks. Carrying a child, if I could get pregnant again would be difficult according to the specialists.   I wasn't ready to give up, so I continued my pursuit of a pregnancy, enduring more laproscopies and surgery for endometriosisFibroids were my new enemy.  Treating these didn't help me much, and the anemia I developed in my late 30's definately brought with it debilitating new problems, including a diagnosis of lupus.  When my doc finally agreed a hysterectomy was in order, I felt relief, but I wasn't giving up on adoption.  We contacted an agency in Columbus that pairs birth parents with adoptive parents.  Early in our application process, the agency was seeking a home for a pregnant teen who needed housing while she waited for her child to be born and placed.  We cleared out a spare bedroom and welcomed her.  I was working part time then, and it was nice to have a "nanny" who could help out a bit in exchange for room and board. She made it clear to me that she was choosing a couple for her child that were both doctors.  She wanted a home where the child would want for nothing!  When her labor began, I accompanied her to the hospital and sat with her as she gave birth.  I didn't get to see the baby arrive, her mother had come up from southern Ohio to be with her.  She went through with her choice of family, and I was devastated that she had gotten to know us but didn't feel we were the right family for her child.  Not too long after this, another birth mom had selected our resume from a big pile, and wanted to meet us.  It was spring time, blossoms were just budding, the colors never looked so beautiful to me as we drove to Columbus.  I was so excited to meet her and I the social worker take our picture with her. About 2 weeks later, we were told she had gone into labor, but the cord had wrapped around the baby girls' neck, and it was stillborn.  We had the nursery all ready for this little one, and I so hoped it was a girl.  I grieved quietly for the child and her brave birth mom, and closed the nursery door with all the baby stuff still with receipts on it,  mocking me and my dream.  I later developed that picture, and there were swirly white lights emanating from around the girl's abdomen.  It was so erie to see this, it seemed like a premonition.

Months went by, my 40th birthday came and went, and our home study's expiration date of November 30th was looming.  To renew our home study would have meant alot of hastle and more money, and we were slowly letting go of trying.  Two events seemed very telling in hindsight, but I so believe in miracles, I know there was one brewing for us...I attended a mother's prayer group  that fall and I know it was early November, when I blurted out to everyone that we were hoping for another child, but my time was running out.  The group of 10 women ferverently prayed for me, and comforted me as I tearfully relayed what had happened earlier in the year.  That following week, I was in church, with my family.  When baptisms are done in our church, the pastor baptizes in the front and then walks to the congregation, and hands off the child for a few minutes to acknowledge we all are involved in the faith walk of our children. Moments before he walked up the aisle, a shaft of light shone on the child's head.  It was blindingly bright.  I felt God's presence..  And the next moment the pastor handed me the child and allowed me to briefly talk into the microphone.  I gasped and said I was so honored to be picked and I was waiting for a second child to adopt.  I burst into tears, I am sure that he felt I was a little wacky.  I know I can't explain those moments, but I felt prayer being answered, even though I had no way to know about the next event.  Exactly 2 weeks later, my hubby and I had a business trip to NYC, and the Monday afterwards, I got a phone call, and the social worker asked if I would like to pick up my daughter on Wednesday!  Turns out just 2 weeks before, our birth mother had picked our resume and had made a birth plan for our family to adopt her soon to be born daughter. (Amazingly our home study was to expire just 4 days later.)

I screamed loudly, and my 10 year old son standing near by, grasped what it was that made me so happy.  We jumped up and down together, and made plans to scrap making Thanksgiving dinner that week for the joy of welcoming our daughter.  Wednesday, we made the short trip to a local social workers house, where we met Katerina for the first time. 

At the social workers home, our first glimpse of Katerina!

Wow, I have never been so sure of my God that in those heady days that followed.  We had our Thanksgiving week, and boy did we ever give thanks!  Family members brought us our dinner on Thursday and took turns visiting her and bringing gifts.  I have worn a small cross, with a tear drop rhinestone ever since, as I renewed my life to Christ in total gratitude. Those early years saw me alot more active in my church, first volunteering in the nursery, and later as she passed through preschool, leading to a position as a Preschool Sunday School Supervisor, a job that kept me close to my support and faith. I continue to volunteer for nursery greeter and sometimes supervisor, so I can continue to get my fix of the babies and their young families.  I actually have an interview on Monday of this week, to discuss getting back onto staff, maybe this time as a ministry assistant.  Pray for the right opportunity for me, it is in God's hands as always!
My daughter and her friend Madi on their way to their first fancy dance, at church!
And first high heels!!!!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

My quest for Motherhood

At the Lutheran Children's Agency, both of our moms are beaming at our new son!

My last post I wrote a tribute about my own mother, whom I credit with teaching me what it meant to be a mother.  Fiercely protective, and proud of her 3 kids, I know I share alot of the same feelings towards my adopted 2.  10 years apart, they get to experience parents at different times in their lives.

Ted and I in college
I was 16 when I met my future hubby, Ted.  He is one of 6 boys in a typical big Irish family.  Our first "date" after we had met at the beach below my parent's house on Lake Erie, consisted of a painting party.  (That first meeting, I knew I had met someone I could spend my life with. I told my mom so, I know she might have been skeptical.)

A group of his friends planned to paint the exterior or a home for a teenage friend's family who died suddenly from a heart condition.  The family was going through hard times, and the home suffered from neglect.  My hubby, Ted, along with his friends from St. Ed's, gathered a group and I was invited to help.  I met alot of the other guys girl friends, and joyfully we spent a day or two hanging on ladders, I remember I clung to a window over a porch, that I painted.  None of us were painters, but felt a sense of purpose as we tried to show love to the family of this fallen friend.  5 years later, we married, right after we both were finished with college, and weeks before we both left the country to join the Peace Corps in El Salvador. (Our time there was cut short by a civil war.) I knew that when we returned we would start our own family.  I had no idea, what a struggle that would become.  After I taught for a few years, we continued to pursue our dream of having kids.  A bad pap test, early in my quest, detected Stage 3 Cervical Dysplasia.  Fancy way of saying I had pre-cancer of the cervix.  One of my first surgeries had a large proportion of my cervix removed.  Of course it was mentioned that I might not conceive as a result, or be able to carry a pregnancy, but at least I was considered cancer free afterwards and able to resume trying to get pregnant.  Tests and 3 laproscopies revealed a number of other factors, that would make this difficult.  In particular was a bad case of endometriosis, a problem that caused me significant pain and anemia, over the course of my 20's. and 30's. I endured the roller coaster brought on by Clomid and 8 cycles of Pergonal injections, but without the IVF, (insurance wouldn't cover it for us, so the drugs were simply increasing our chances.) As the years went along, we also pursued adoption.  We wrote a biography to give to anyone who might know someone, who could help us find a child.  We looked into foreign and private agencies.  Cost was prohibitive for us, so we hoped for a private adoption.  We knew it would be difficult, but a miracle arrived in a phone call, from a co-worker at my husbands' company.  She knew of someone ready to place her child for adoption, and forwarded our letter and resume.  We were ecstatic when she chose us to parent her child.  Just 2 weeks later, our son was born, but in our county, notice has to be posted for the dad to come forward, to terminate rights.  So we knew it could be weeks before this requirement was satisfied. 

We were friends with another couple, who had recently adopted.  Attending their son's birthday party, we were drawn to a couple with 3 kids, one was an infant boy with piercing blue eyes. I asked to hold him.  They told me they are foster parents for Lutheran Children's, the same place we were working with for our home study.  I asked when the boy's birthday was.  They told me July 30th, and I almost dropped him.  I then relayed that we were waiting for a baby, and this was the same birthday.  Of course, it was our son, but we weren't able to see him, technically because permanent surrender from both parents hadn't occured yet!  We were so excited to have this sneak peek, that we called both sets of parents over to meet him.  We were already calling him Kevin, even though his name was Zultan, because each of the foster kids were given a letter of the alphabet name, he was assigned the letter Z. 

Wow, what excitement for us.  He was real, not just a promise, and my friends lived on W 226th.  So we called it the "Miracle on 226th Street".  It was only a few more weeks when we finally got to bring him home.  His birth mother never wavered, and the father never came forward.  8 months later we finalized and have had the joys and challenges ever since. Ironically, I did get pregnant one time, when he was 7 months old.  I was told I would probably have had to go to bed rest.  I made it to 8 weeks, so I felt some confirmation that I was destined to be a mother through adoption. Miscarriage was next, and I found it hard to be on a maternity ward, after so many years of infertility, but I was grateful that I had the chance to experience the joy of pregnancy even if it was only for a short while. (I know I will meet this little soul, in heaven one day.)  My Kevin will turn 24 this summer.  God has been good to us, even though we had no way of knowing our trip was just beginning.  My daughter's story follows this one, 10 years later.  Hers was an unusual one too, maybe next post!
My journey was begun, but I have another story to tell about my second child, Kate.  To be continued!

Recycle, Repurpose, Redo and Renew - I will demo how I practice the 4RS.

Here is a batch of items I got at Goodwill yesterday.  I will post what I am doing with some of these on my next blog post.  Can you guess what I will do with the green sweater...?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mothers' Day Contest Winner and Thoughts

Some Mothers Day Poems to celebrate the day, I keep tucked in my kids' baby books.

First, from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, whom I first learned of in college and whose words have such resonance...
"Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself. They come through you but not from you,and though they are with you, yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love, but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls,for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward, nor tarries with yesterday."

Once there were two women
Who hardly knew each other
One you do not remember
The other you call mother
Two different lives shaped to make yours one
One becoming your guiding star
The other became your sun
The first gave you life
And the second taught you to live in it
The first gave you a need for love
And the second was there to give it
One gave you nationality
The other gave you a name
One gave you the seed of talent
The other gave you an aim

One gave you emotions
The other calmed your fears
One saw your first sweet smile
The other dried your tears
The age old questions through the years;
Heredity or environment - which are you the product of ?
Neither my darling - neither
Just two different kinds of love!

Bittersweet, yes, but love is the underlying emotion, deep love that is hard to define. I still remember every moment as if it were yesterday, the first moments of seeing my son and later my daughter. Joy and the awe of the strength of the birth parents to choose us to parent their precious children. Through it all, hard and easy times, I am grateful for the opportunity. (We are grateful, I speak for my hubby too as I see it in his eyes as he remembers the special moments in our lives as a family).
Well, I chose a winner randomly with the random generator web site, and the winner of the Vintage Needlebook is: Jessica at HappyTogether...I am so glad, she has been a loyal follower, and a real friend! Watch for it in the mail, Jessica, God bless you on Mothers' Day!

I know my contests are only seen by a few, but I love the idea of making more blogger friends and sharing ideas, I think it is cool to give back to a few here and there.

One more gift to share, my mothers' Chocolate Fudge Cake Recipe, the birthday cake that is asked for more than any others. It is rich and chocolatey of course. I made cupcakes to celebrate Mom's Day, and had to top with the special fudge frosting. Yum!

Here it is, print and keep near the Baking Cabinet!

Chocolate Fudge Cake

3 sq. unsweetened chocolate
3 eggs
2 1/4 c sifted cake flour
1 1/2 t vanilla
2 t baking soda
1 c sour cream
1/2 t salt
1 c boiling water
1/2 c butter
2 1/4 c firmly packed light brown sugar
Melt chocolate. Cool. Grease and flour 3 cake pans. Sift flour, baking soda and salt onto wax paper. Beat butter till soft in a large bowl. Add brown sugar and eggs; beat with mixer at high speed until light and fluffy, 5 minutes. Beat in vanilla and cooled melted chocolate.
Stir in dry ingredients alternately with sour cream, beating well with a wooden spoon after each addition, until batter is smooth. Stir in boiling water. Batter will be thin. Pour at once in to prepared pans. Bake at 350 for 35 minutees.

Chocolate Fudge Frosting

4 squares unsweetened chocolate 1/2 c milk
1/2 c butter 2 t vanilla
1 lbs confectioners sugar

Melt chocolate. Cream butter and add melted chocolate. Gradually add confectioners sugar and beat till smooth. Add milk till nice and creamy. Add vanilla.

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