Fair   44.0F  |  Forecast »

Make a Lifebook for Your Adoptive Child

These special scrapbooks are a key connection to helping your child understand his or her past

It's natural for adopted children to eventually have questions about their lives – including who their birth parents are and why they were adopted-away from their birth family. All kids deserve to know about their lives. But adoptive parents can struggle with how to delve into their child's past.

A lifebook is a key starting point for many families. This is a scrapbook that parents put together from scratch – sometimes with the help from a social worker or other supportive people – telling the child's story.

Why a lifebook?

"A lifebook connects a child to their roots with pictures and words," says Dina Novelli, adoption supervisor at Evergreen Children Services, a private, nonprofit foster care and adoption agency in Detroit. Novelli believes the lifebook causes fewer gaps in the child's childhood – and answers the question of, "Who Am I?"

"If you don't fill in gaps they do it themselves, and that (can) become detrimental," says Novelli.

What it includes

The lifebook has three essential components:

  • Basic information about child's birth
  • Details about the child's birth parents
  • Explaining why the child was adopted

It's important to document as much as possible, Novelli says, from basic facts to memories. Getting details about the child's birth parents is even important.

Sometimes, though, kids are adopted when they are a little older, so parents wouldn't know about their childhood. That's where the lifebook becomes even more critical: It physically can take the place of a birth certificate and other "evidences of growing up," according to Arizona-based Adoption.com.

"This would be harder, but parents could try to get pictures from their foster care," Novelli says. No matter what records parents can obtain, however, "they should definitely start from the date they adopt the child."

Novelli and her team are sure to mention lifebooks to parents that are looking to adopt: "We encourage all parents to do this. It is really good for the child."

Your lifebook

The lifebook can be created in many different ways. Two of the most popular are a picture book and a chapter book. The chapter book is know for expressing the child's life with imagery and words – which can help clarify any questions the child might have.

You can opt to use a company to create your child's lifebook, such as Adoption Lifebooks. Other sites provide layout ideas and inspiration, such as Scrap and Tell. Find a good 411 at Suite101.com – and maps of specific countries (and special cutouts with adoptive families in mind) at Red Thread Maps.

However you approach your lifebook, it can be as tailored – and go as far as – the child and parents want.

"The lifebook has no limitation at all," Novelli says, noting that additions are common. "The child could now be graduating college. If they want that rite of passage in the book, they definitely should go for it."

Add your comment:
Advertisement

More »Latest Articles & Blog Posts

Craft Roundup for Earth Day Fun

Craft Roundup for Earth Day Fun

Repurpose stuff around the house with these family DIY projects, including a jewelry pom-pom box, cereal box gift bags – even a cool makeover for old balloons.

Living Room Spring Cleaning Checklist

Living Room Spring Cleaning Checklist

It's a formal spot in the house – mainly used for entertaining – that gets less foot traffic on a daily basis. This also means it's easier to clean! Get the scoop here.

Bathroom Spring Cleaning Checklist

Bathroom Spring Cleaning Checklist

Haven't kept up on scrubbing your tub or shower? Now is the time to clean up this much-used space – with these helpful tips.

Basement Spring Cleaning Checklist

Basement Spring Cleaning Checklist

Whether it's leftover holiday decor or old toys, this spot in your home becomes the catchall for your family's stuff. Organize it this season with these tips.

Garage Spring Cleaning Checklist

Garage Spring Cleaning Checklist

You just don't park your car there! This space does serious double duty as family storage space. Get everyone involved in cleaning it up with these tips.

Office Spring Cleaning Checklist

Office Spring Cleaning Checklist

It’s filled with papers, old files and tons of stuff to toss. Get started with these tips for organizing your home office.

Bedroom Spring Cleaning Checklist

Bedroom Spring Cleaning Checklist

Ah, sleep. Busy families definitely need a good night's rest after a long day, so why not spruce up your sleep space? We've got tips for you to use!

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement