by Coley Strickland
One thing I am passionate about is crafting so naturally I turned to crafting as a way to show my love to my son. One way I have done this is by creating a “lifebook” for Charlie. Many adoption professionals promote the use of lifebooks for children in foster care but I think any adopted child could benefit from having a lifebook.
So, what is a lifebook?
A lifebook is basically a scrapbook that tells about your role in your child’s life as his/her birthmother and about your family. It doesn’t have to be fancy. It can be simply made by hand or even using your computer. It’s not so much how it looks as it is what it says. The information in it is the key!
How do I create a lifebook?
First off, you must decide what information you’d like to include in your lifebook. (Some suggestions are included below.) Like I said before, there are no rules, no right or wrong, so the information you include in your lifebook is totally up to you.
You can choose to make your lifebook by hand in scrap booking fashion or use some of the newer computer scrap booking software. With the software you can print your pages out and place them in an album.
Again, it doesn’t have to be fancy – it is truly the information and sentiment that counts!
How do adopted children benefit from having a lifebook?
A lifebook constantly reaffirms your love for your child and can also make you more “real” to your child if you are not able to visit much. The adoptive parents can use a lifebook as a teaching tool to educate him or her about his birth family.
What should I include in my child’s lifebook?
Below are some ideas of what you can include. You may choose not to include some of the items and you may have other items you wish to add.
- Pictures of yourself and the birthfather (if you wish to include info about the birthfather or he wants to help with the lifebook) through the years – like baby photos, early childhood photos, high school photos, and so on…
- Biography type information on yourself such as full name, birth date, place of birth, high school graduation or college graduation year, child hood memories, etc..
- Trivial biographical information on yourself such as favorite color, favorite food, etc..
- Information on your parents such as their full names Cialis Online, pictures of them on their wedding day or dating, their birth dates, occupations, etc…
- Pictures and information on your siblings
- A biological family tree
- Poems, songs, quotes related to adoption that are important or hold special meaning to you
- Ultra sound pictures
- A letter explaining how you chose adoption for your child
- Pictures of you and the adoptive family before your child was born if you had a relationship with them prior to birth
- Memories from the birth of your child, hospital stay, etc…
- Pics of you and your birth child together in the hospital and post placement
The options are endless!! Just be creative!!
When should I give my child the lifebook?
Whenever you want! Some birthmothers begin them during pregnancy and give them to the adoptive parents upon placement. While others (like me) waited awhile to make them. Older birthmothers could also make one to give to their child upon reunification. No matter their age, a lifebook is something that will be treasured for years to come!
What age level should I gear the lifebook towards?
This is dependent upon the age you plan to give your lifebook to your child or his/her family. I didn’t complete mine until my son was 4 years old. I wrote it in a way that he could understand most of it now and not be babyish when he is a young man looking back at it. If you choose not to give your child the lifebook until he/she is older, then you can gear it towards an older child.
Charlie’s adoptive parents reacted very well to the gift of the lifebook. They looked through it and learned things about me and my family they didn’t know and view it as something special given to Charlie. I’ve been told that Charlie really enjoys looking at it. Since he is only five, they want to keep it put up so he doesn’t get it messed up, but they can pull it out any time he has questions or needs pictures to reaffirm whom his birth family is.
It was also very healing and validating to create this scrapbook for Charlie. It was a very positive experience for me personally.
Whether you are a scrapbooking queen or not, I encourage and urge you to sit down and create this lasting legacy for your birth child. Even if your child is an adult, I don’t think it’s ever too late to pass on this part of their biological history!