Sutton Foster welcomed daughter Emily via adoption after her birth on March 5, 2017

By Emily Zauzmer and Jessica Fecteau
October 15, 2018 06:15 PM
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Sutton Foster
Credit: Michael Simon/startraksphoto.com

Sutton Foster had to head back to work right after adopting her first child, daughter Emily Dale — and she admits that she was “freaked out” about it.

The Younger actress, who teamed up with JOANN Fabrics & Crafts for a night of crafting on Tuesday, tells PEOPLE of her only child with husband Ted Griffin, “She was born last year in March and we were filming a month later, so I had to go back to work right away.”

“I was freaked out,” Foster, 43, recalls about spending time away from Emily, now 19 months. “I didn’t know what to do with all my anxiety, so … I decided to make her a baby blanket because I thought, ‘Well, I have all this time on set, and I want to put my energy toward something.’ ”

“I made her this numbers blanket. … I did every paneling four times,” she adds. “I wanted it to be perfect.”

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Sutton Foster
Sutton Foster
| Credit: Michael Simon/startraksphoto.com

Foster learned how to knit from her aunt when she was in elementary school and still has ornaments that her late mother cross-stitched.

She hopes that Emily will continue the family’s interest in crafting. “I’d love to pass that down to her,” she says. “I don’t know what she’ll be into. I have no idea. … We’re still discovering little things about her every day, so it’s fun.”

RELATED VIDEO: Sutton Foster on Motherhood: ‘This Is the Happiest I’ve Ever Been’

In the meantime, Emily is keeping busy with a new milestone. Foster explains, “We’ve been really trying to teach her how to say ‘I love you.’ … I don’t know if she knows what it means, but we say it every day, multiple times a day.”

“She just started repeating that. We’re like, ‘Well, we’re never leaving the house ever again,’ ” the Bunheads alum says fondly of the “very verbal” Emily. “She’s awesome. She’s just a riot.”

That fun-loving personality was on full display during a recent family vacation. “She’s like a little mayor of the hotel,” Foster jokes of her daughter. “She walks around and says hi to everybody and she’s not afraid of anybody and full of smiles. She’s a little light, it’s great.”

In July, Foster opened up to PEOPLE about her challenging road to motherhood.

“I was so angry that it was so hard,” she said of her fertility struggles. “I’m so used to being the type of person where if I want to make something happen, I make it happen. It was really frustrating. And we were racing against the clock.”

“I was always trying to make sense of why it wasn’t working,” Foster, who tried IVF, continued. “I always thought, there has to be a reason. Now I realize Emily was so clearly meant to be our daughter. She was the reason!”