Tuesday, July 15, 2008
How To Make An Adoption Life Book

Some of you have asked about Piney's Adoption Life Book. I can offer some suggestions- based on what I did- but there are no hard and fast rules.

How To Make Your Adoption Life Book

1. Purchase a large 3 ring binder 2.5 or 3 in.

2. Purchase card stock in the colors you choose. You will be taping your photos to the card stock

3. Purchase plastic sheet protectors. You will cover your photo pages with these and put them in your binder.

4. Start with your child's birth photo and birth record (certificate)- and whatever information you have. We only had a blurry photo copy of her birth photo- use whatever you have. If you don't have anything- draw a picture and write in a general happy birth story.

5. Next page is any information about your child's bio parents esp. something about why they put your child up for adoption (make it up if you don't know- your best guess)

6. Anything about the child's life at the hospital or orphanage (the name of it/ pictures)

7. Next is about you and your family and why you wanted to adopt (pics, information)

6. Next is your adoption story with pics

7. Pictures of the first year home- or as long as you want- in chronological order with accompanying descriptive text.

I hope that helps!

You can also add cute things your child does or says. You think you will always remember, but you won't!

Piney has a lot of good material here. We often have funny conversations such as the following:

Piney: Mommy, Santa Claus hit me AGAIN! Right in my tummy mommy like this (demonstrates a really strong hit to her stomach)

Me: Did you tell him to stop.

Piney: Yeah. (she turns around and speaks to the air) NO NO SANTA CLAUS STOP RIGHT NOW!!!

Me: You feel better now.

Piney: Yeah. I'm all beter now.

Me: Oh good.


Me: Piney don't get into the peanut butter please.

Piney: My mommy said I CAN get the peanut butter.

Me: I am your mommy Piney.

Piney: Oh yea.


Mom: Piney, I know you think you are in charge, but mommy and daddy are in charge. When we say not to do something than you need to listen. We are the parents and you are the child. Do you understand?

Piney: I'm NOT a child! Mommy I'm NOT! I'm NOT a child. I'm a BOY!

Mom: You are a girl honey. (Trying to make her feel a connection to me) You and I are both girls. It's fun to be a girl.

Piney: NOOOOOOOO!!!!! (Falls to the floor hiding her face)

Me: (Blinking in bewilderment)

Any other suggestions on what to include in a Life Book?


Blogger Maggie said...
It's different for every kid, obviously. I think the important thing to remember is that Life Books are NOT about us and our adoption journeys. Life books are a child's connection to their past. Obviously, adoption is going to be a part of that, but it's just one piece.

In Slugger's case (I'm re-doing his life book right now actually), I'm starting with his birth, then writing as much as I can about his birth family. I'm also including a page about his birth city. Then why he entered foster care, whatever information I have about each foster home (some are just dates and first names). I also have a few pages for his previous adoptive family and then a page about the disruption.

I think it's important to honestly chronicle EVERYTHING -- even the hard stuff. But just do it in an age appropriate manner.

Blogger Elle said...
I'm having the most difficult time with the boy's life book. I have a scrapbook with photos of our time in Russia and such and another little book about how he came to live in our family, but no true life book.

Blogger MMrussianadoption said...
I used Beth O'malleys book as a guide. it really helped. I did it scrapbook style. Any communication we have had since our adoption with the birthfamily, I will put in the back for later.

Blogger Lea said...
That last sentence had me laughing out loud...the blinking one:). Too cute.

I used Beth's book too, or at least I think that's the one I used. I gave it away so not sure now but her name sounds familiar. Anyway, it was very very helpful and provides samples and examples of different pages. It also provides some suggested text for if you don't know any info about the bio father, for example. A lot of great info in that book, although I still have a long way to go before I am finished!

Blogger Melissa said...
Since I don't have the energy for a lifebook, right now, I organized everything - information, letters, forms, and other confidential information - with file folders put into an accordion file. And it went into our safe deposit box. All the information is very detailed (includes my notes, etc) so when I DO get inspiration to create a lifebook, I'll be able to do it. I created a storybook through Shutterfly...that book has lots of info, but nothing to the extent of the accordion file.

Blogger Melissa said...
Meant to say this: for the time-being, if something were to happen to me before I get the book done, the file is organized in such a way that Iliya will have no problem knowing what things are. It'll do for now, I suppose. :)

Anonymous Anonymous said...
What would you write on the biological page if the father is unknown (so we were told) and the mother was a drunk who had 2 other kids in the orphanage system and keft you son with a stranger on the street less than two months old?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I think anytime your are dealing with a difficult past, that there is no need to be blunt and critical. Besides your viewpoint or the information you have been given although probably accurate, is also one sided. You could write something like: "Your birth mother had a very difficult life. She knew that she wouldn't be able to care for you or give you the love that you deserve. So when you were two months old, she gave you to someone that she knew would be able to find you the care you needed." I don't think you need to lie, just consider a sweeter viewpoint. Afterall she did leave him with someone stranger or no stranger. And that stranger brought him to the orphange where you were able to find him. That's a miracle, and you shouldn't be ashamed!

Blogger Debbie B said...
Great outline. I'm about to start on Izzy's so I appreciate seeing how you did yours. I will also add some things from our wait, what we did to prepare and such. But that probably goes with the adoption story.

Blogger DanaLee said...
Jen I have to tell you that I laughed after reading this mostly because I could see you (even after all these years) "blinking in bewilderment." Thats so YOU! I love reading the whole blog! I am learning sooo much from your experiences, Thank you.

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