The Adoptive Community made me feel Special

September’s blogapalooza came up quickly! We get a topic and an hour to write about it and I enjoy it. Usually I am coming up with my own topics and they are centered around quilting and sewing. Once a month, I don’t have to think of the topic and I can tell a story. You may have noticed I like to tell stories and most of them are true! Here is tonight’s topic:

“Write about a time somebody made you feel special”

I scanned my memories and thought about each time someone had done that for me. I decided to choose a very meaningful time when I didn’t reject the notion that I was special. I remember distinctly when the Adoptive community made me feel special.

My youngest daughter, Shelby, was born in Korea and became my daughter when she was 6 months old. Adoption is a special miracle, just like giving birth. Being a mother is part loving your child and part worrying that you are doing everything right, no matter how you build your family.

I wanted Shelby to know as much as she could about the country of her birth, to be cognizant of the wonder of being a Korean American. To that end, I enrolled her in Camp Pride at a very young age. Camp Pride was made possible by the volunteer work of Adoptive Parents and the generosity of the Korean community in Chicagoland.

Camp ends with a presentation and the campers could choose in which part they would like to perform. Shelby chose dance and spent time every day learning traditional Korean dances. When performance time arrived, the other girls began to change into Hanboks, the traditional dress of Korea.

She ran up to me with panic on her face because she did not have a dress. I had no idea the other girls would wear them. I told her we could leave, she didn’t have to perform and I was sick to my stomach.

I also promised her we would solve the problem in the future. She chose to perform, in jean shorts, surrounded by the other girls in full length brightly colored gowns. She pulled it off and that fall, I got her a Hanbok.

Shelby 001 re

You can see us the next year, me in the Camp Pride t-shirt and her beaming with delight. I always made sure she had a Hanbok every year and made a point of telling new Moms about our experience. Eventually we put together a box of donated Hanboks for girls who didn’t have one for the Grand Finale dance.

I went with Shelby to camp every summer but one, the summer I was getting divorced. I just couldn’t face the other intact families and I didn’t want to go with my husband. Shelby 001 re 2As a result I didn’t have the red t-shirt in my collection.

I went back the next year and everyone turned themselves inside out to make me feel comfortable and accepted. There was no one judging me, I was the only one judging myself. Shelby went every summer until she aged out of the program.

She had Hanboks in various sizes and I have kept them all in case her children would ever want to wear them. Or maybe I want proof that I conquered that problem, go Mom!

When she was going to college, she had been to camp 12 times. 12 t-shirts, yes? Nope! I was missing the red one but I had gotten over the divorce and was able to ask my ex for his red t-shirt. And he sent it to me! Growth!

t shirt quilt re

I cut up the t-shirts and made my first t-shirt quilt. I was so happy with it and so was Shelby. When she went to her last summer at camp, I brought it along.

She showed it to her friends and all the other campers circled around her. Then their moms circled around me. We felt like Rock Stars!

People were asking me all about the quilt and giving me compliments that were outrageously flattering. I felt so darn special! It was like I had sewn a wedding dress for Royalty.

I have never had such a spectacular and over the top reaction to a quilt I had made. It was exhilarating! I even wrote up instructions and put a picture with it so they could all make their own.

They made have made me feel really special but no way was I making one for every camper!

Sew happy!

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I published a whole series on how to make a t-shirt quilt since then. Check out all my t-shirt quilt posts here.

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