11/25/2008

Adoptive Birthdays and Birth Moms

I didn't know until Theo's first birthday that I would spend his birthdays thinking about not just him but his birth. I think about how it went, what time I went to the hospital, when he was born, what Kelly said, how it felt to wake up with the sun rising over Lake Superior shining into my room a few hours later. I do this every year. I wonder if I will think about his birth when he is a grown man, on that particular day.

On Zane's birthday I mostly think about him. I didn't give birth to him, I didn't know about him on the day of his birth (although Kelly remarked that day, four months before we even knew about him, "I bet our son is being born about now.") I don' t know what the birth was like, how he cried, or what the nurses said. So every year I come to his birthday thinking only about what a gift he is to us. At least the first few years, until Theo turned one.

Then I knew that every year on Zane's birthday someone else would be thinking about him, how he came into the world, what it was like. I hope she feels at peace for making the decision to give him up for adoption. I hope she knows he is a beautiful, bright, delightful child. I hope someday I can thank her for her generous gift.

Now I know every year on Zane's birthday (it was yesterday) to pray for this woman, halfway around the world, and to give thanks.

11/23/2008

Sewing a Weighted Blanket

Our best guess is that Theo has some sort of sensory integration disorder. His Occupational Therapist, as well as Raising a Sensory Smart Child, the best book I've found so far, says a weighted blanket can be helpful for bedtime. Evidently the weight gives the child an appropriate amount of sensory input from the pressure on the skin. Theo does not go easily into the land of Nod so I finally got around to making his blanket.

I had him choose a piece of fabric and bought a piece about 36" x 10 feet. I washed it then doubled it over and sewed seams on the two sides so I had a large rectangular pocket. Then I sewed seams down the length of it to make 4 long internal pockets. I took 20 quart size baggies (Kelly's idea) and filled each with one cup of black beans. I put one baggie of beans in each of the four long pockets, sewed a seam at about 11 inches, and repeated until I had 20 sewn pockets filled with beans. A double seam at the top finished it off.

I put it on him tonight and told him Emily, his OT, said he would find it cozy. He's a bit distracted by the beans, and wondering how they got in the blanket, but he did seem to settle in. I don't know how much it will help but I'm willing to try most anything to help him. Much of the OT he is doing this year is really helping him focus and settle in to ordinary tasks.

And now if we ever run out of food we can cook Theo's blanket.