Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Is adoption "unnatural"?

This evening my daughter and I participated in a walk for Special Olympics to support some friends of ours. When we crossed the finish line I saw a familiar face that I hadn't expected to see.... My son's social worker from while he was in residential care.

We chatted for a bit about how my son is doing, or not doing as the case may be.  We were in the community where my son now resides and where his birth family lives.  I was never fond of this worker, and the following statement shows just one of the many reasons why.

"So, he's living here where his natural family is?"

Well, if his birth family is his natural family, we are not his birth family so that make us, what?  Unnatural?  I looked up the definition of unnatural.

1. In violation of a natural law.
2. Inconsistent with an individual pattern or custom.
3. Deviating from a behavioral or social norm: an unnatural attachment.
4. Contrived or constrained; artificial: smiled in an unnatural manner.
5. In violation of natural feelings; inhuman.

Hmmm.  This does not make me feel very good.  This means for the last 13 1/2 years I have been in violation of the law?   Or I'm a social deviant?  Or am I artificial?  Maybe I am inhuman?

Do people not realize what they are saying when they say these things?  I never proclaim to be a child's birth mother, but I do not think there is anything unnatural about me or my family.  Adoption dates back thousands of years.

if you don't believe me, pick up a Bible and open it to the Book of Ruth.  This is one of the earliest adoption stories.  Ruth's husband dies and she remarries Boaz.  They have a son who she gives to her mother-in-law Naomi because Naomi's children have all died.  Hello adoption.  Thousands of years ago.

So why do people say these stupid things when referring to an adoptive family?  Another "favorite" of mine is that he's now living with his "real" mother.  Last time I checked I'm pretty real.  And what is real?  Does a "real" mother drink and use drugs while pregnant, beat her child. allow others to use that child for completely unnatural purposes?  Does a real mother leave a child go without food so that she can get her drug fix?  

I was really there through every bit of his behavioral issues, through every school event, at his graduation, took him to college, financially supported him, tried to guide him along the right path, gave him a stable home, bandaged injuries, cleaned up after him when he was sick, gave up things for myself to provide for him, and the list goes on.  How does that make me not real?

The worst part of all this is that this man is in a position to know better!! He works in social services for goodness sakes!  He was my son's social worker for about 3 years.  Apparently he learned nothing in those 3 years, or the many others he worked in social services.  I think it's time for some training for these workers!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Frugal Living - Sewing

I haven't sewn in awhile, but a recent visit with my friends Nancy and Katrina renewed my love of sewing.

I sewed for several years and then kids came along and my sewing slowed down.  I haven sewn for all the kids that were in my house at one time or another.

Fast forward to about a month ago.  While visiting Nancy we hit a fabric story.  Nancy and Katrina are masters at sewing and I can manage most stitches.  We were lost in a world of beautiful fabrics and tons of patterns.  I have a tween daughter is a little fashionista....with very expensive taste.

However, she has taken to sewing like a duck to water.

This was her first outfit.  Does she look a little proud?  That dress cost a whopping $5.  That includes the fabric and the pattern.  The fabric was on clearance for $3.50 a yard and we only needed a yard and the pattern was $1.

Patterns are where you need to watch your cost.  They can run $12 or more, unless...unless...you get them on sale.  If you have a fabric store near you, get on their preferred mailing list.  They will often send you coupons that you can use, but you will also get sale flyers regularly.  Usually one brand or another is on sale.  At the time I bought this pattern, Butterick was on sale.  This past week, Simplicity was on sale.  Some Wal-Mart stores carry fabric and patterns, but you have to look carefully.

Some things you don't even need a pattern for.

This beautiful piece of fabric came with the smocking already done and the bottom was hemmed. I simply had to measure around my daughter's body to see how much I needed.  These types of fabrics do run a bit more, but there is little work and great for a beginning sewer.  It was $20 a yard and I needed less than a yard, plus it was on sale for 40% off.  Not bad for a cute little dress.  All the sewing that it required was sewing a seam up the length of the material.

The last several weeks we have made hats, purses, tops, dresses, skirts, pants and more.  Many of my daughter's back to school clothes are homemade.  This is also good if you have a hard to fit person in the house.  My daughter is tall and thin.  She has a much longer torso than she does legs.  We can adjust the sizes much easier when we make things ourselves.

We also discussed the fact that all of her clothes are unique.  She has things that other kids won't have.  She got very excited when I told her that when dances come she can make her own dress rather than having to choose from what is in the store.  She is so excited.

This last creation might just be my favorite.  It is so indicative of her style.  She loves the 70s and 80s fashions and lots of color and pattern.

This little vest used less than a yard of fabric.  Again, costing us less than $5.  The pattern also included patterns for pants, a jumper, a dress and a hat.  Our dollar was well spent on this pattern.

If you don't know how to sew, check with your local community college or technical college and see if they offer classes. Many sewing stores offer classes as well.  Everyone should learn to sew to do basic repairs on their clothing and things like hemming pants.  It's quick and easy and saves you money in tailoring charges.

Just look at the pride in my daughter's face over her creations.