Memories are what keep us going when times are tough. Seeing a photo can take us right back to the moment it was taken. We remember exactly how we felt. Clothing can have the same effect. Seeing something we wore on a first date or a special night, brings back all the memories.
As parents, we all have favourite outfits that we loved seeing our little ones wear. When you become an adoptive parent, those clothes hold a lot more than memories. They’re a reminder of the journey you’ve been on to find each other.
The clothing worn on the first day of introductions is so much more than material. The outfit will have been picked and probably bought by the foster carer. The amount of thought that was put into the outfit choice doesn’t matter. What does matter is the memories it will hold for you. A reminder of the day you became a parent.
So, what do we do with all these clothes that hold so many life changing memories? Keeping them “safe” in a drawer seems a bit pointless. The whole point is they evoke memories whenever we see them. So they need to be seen.
One of the reasons I created We Made a Wish, was so that we could sell clothing keepsakes to help keep all those precious memories accessible. My favourite in our collection are our keepsake blankets. We have one for each of the girls made from the clothes they wore during introductions.
Seeing the blankets takes me right back to introductions. Eldest’s in particular brings the memories flooding back. Her foster carer used a strong smelling fabric softener and even though it’s six years since she washed them, they still smell of it. As soon as I smell the blanket, it reminds me of the wonderful foster carer. That’s a lovely memory to be able to share with eldest too.
We sell blankets / quilts, cushion covers, initials and bags. If you have one particular item that means the world, we can make it into you little one’s initial or a bag for them to play with. The bag pictured below is made from the dress eldest wore the day after she came home.
If you’ve got a few more items, a cushion cover is a lovely option. We have cushion covers made of the clothes both kids wore for their first Christmases at home. I put them on the settees every year. Eldest loves looking at the clothes and then finding pictures on my phone of her wearing them.
Keepsakes are also a great tool to use for life story work. If you have the clothes your child came home from hospital in, they could be made into a blanket or cushion cover. That’s then a great starting point to talk about their early life, particularly if you know which member of birth family bought them.
Eldest loves looking at the photos from our introductions. She also loves that she can touch and snuggle into the clothes whenever she wants. It often starts questions about introductions which then usually leads to a conversation about her tummy mummy and her brothers and sisters.
Another great way of preserving the memories special items of clothing have, is to get them made into a cuddly toy. Once Upon a Time Keepsakes make these gorgeous bears from eight items of clothing. They’re a great, child friendly way of preserving the memories special clothing items hold for us.
I hope this article inspires you to get your treasured items of clothing made into something special that can be enjoyed by all the family. I’d love to hear about it if you do.