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Should You Make a Life Story Book?

considering adoptionHelping your child develop into a strong individual with a cemented sense of self is important for parents. Developing into a fully realized individual requires having some understanding of one’s past, which may be a tender subject for many adoptive families. A life story book can be a very useful, practical and fun way to record and reflect on a child’s life. The book may evolve into a collaborative project for the whole family.

What is a Life Story Book?

For an adoptee, learning who he or she is is crucial to their development. A life story book is supposed to help accomplish that goal and establish an adoptee’s sense of self through knowledge of his or her past. When the adoptee feels vulnerable, the book can be a great resource to learn and reflect about what has made them into the beautiful son or daughter that you cherish.

What should my child’s life story book look like?

Well, that’s a tough question. This is both a creative and practical resource for your child, so the exact details of the life story book will be left up to you. The most important thing to remember during the ongoing creation and addition of the life story book is that it needs to be accurate, honest and open so that the child can use it to learn about his or herself.

When starting the life story book, you may want to focus on the adoptee’s history and the details of their birth if you feel it is appropriate. As time goes on, include some of the first moments that you shared with them, and continue to expand the book as the child grows. Include celebrations, milestones, birthdays and add in some smaller details, like a drawing your child made.

When it comes to the physical details of the book, make sure the book is durable and that the photos won’t be damaged over time. The life story book is going to be a part of your family’s recordkeeping for years, so laminated pages and extra copies of photos can ensure that the book will be around throughout the adoptee’s life.

Difficult Topics and Being Honest

The tender topics of your child’s life, like his or her history or birth family, may elicit questions that leave you stumped. “Should I include photos of the birth family in the life story book?” you may ask.

It’s important that the life story book, above all, is honest. This is an informative and empowering resource for your child. That being said, it’s also necessary to make sure that the contents of the book are both age-appropriate and considerate of the adoptee’s feelings. More information about the birth family can be added as your child ages and is more understanding and receptive of his or her background.

Where to Start

When you decide to put the idea of a life story book into practice, a great place to visit is a local craft store, where you can purchase a durable three-ring binder and sheet protectors for the photographs and memories you will include. There are many different templates and examples online as well if you need a little bit of inspiration to draw from.