Lifebooks: How and Why?

Lifebooks are a very important resource for an adopted child. Any child that has been adopted through domestic adoption, international adoption or foster care, this book helps put all the pieces of their story together. Having a Lifebook opens up the discussion of adoption and forms connections for your child. Just like creating a scrapbook of a special memory or vacation, a Lifebook includes stories, letters, pictures and anything of importance for your child that shows their journey of adoption and how they became a part of your family. It is their life story and they are the star.

Start your child’s Lifebook with as much information as you know about their birth, biological parents, and the reason for your child’s separation from their birth family. If your child is adopted internationally, then these first few pages are a great place to include any paperwork or artifacts from their culture and adoption.  Once you have completed the pages about his/her biological family, next include how they joined your family. This is a great place to include your child’s adoption paperwork such as their adoption decree and their birth certificate. Use plastic holders if you want to include the original paperwork or simply make a copy or scan the document and add it to the Lifebook. Here are some ideas of what to include:

  • Birth facts (where, weight, length, time of birth)
  • Information about biological family (names, background information, pictures)
  • Pictures (family, friends, pets, home, places of significance)
  • School work (report cards, drawings, notes, names of teacher and friends)
  • Adoption Paperwork (birth certificate, adoption decree)
  • Information about adoptive family (names, background information, reason for adoption, pictures, a letter to your child)

 The Lifebook does not have to be really long. Some stories are shorter than others. For example, a Lifebook for a child adopted domestically will be shorter than one for a child that has been in foster care. Although Lifebooks are important and special for any adopted child, for a child in foster care they are essential. It is the job of the foster families to be sure and add to each child’s Lifebook that comes into their care even if their plan is to be reunited with their biological family or the child may be transitioning to another foster home. If you are a foster parent, if possible be sure and include pictures of the child with your family, information about their friends and school, and important medical information. Adding some of their school work and pictures with their friends will remind the child that he had connections when he was away from his birth family and that people cared about him.

If you have any questions about creating a Lifebook or what to include, please feel free to contact our agency and we will help you. Creating the life story of your child may seem daunting but just remember that there is no right or wrong way to write the story and your child will thank you.

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