Monday, July 13, 2009

What's in a Lifebook...

I’ve had a couple of people ask me about what a Lifebook is so I thought I would go into further detail here.
I will start by saying that my kids love their Lifebooks- and I can already tell at their young ages how much they mean to them. I am sure as they get older that will even become more so.

A Lifebook for an adopted child is like their baby book/scrapbook. You know the kind you can purchase that sort of have those “fill in the blank” questions, for example “Your first smile was on _________.” Or “You took your first step on __________.”
The thing is, with an adopted child (as much as you wish you had been) often times you were not there to see their ‘first smile’ or see them take their first step. So, those questions left blank often leave them with even more unanswered questions.
With Mya – she came home from Guatemala to us at age 4. I have never seen a picture of her as an infant and we have little information about the first 3 years of her life. Therefore, a Lifebook helps empower her to know as much of her past as we can give her- which I truly believes helps raise healthy, well adjusted, secure kids.

The greatest thing about a Lifebook is you can’t go wrong. Each one is unique- just like your child. You can make it as fancy as you want or as plain as you want. You can include any details you have- without concentrating on the ones you don't know. In our kids Lifebooks we include things like pictures of the orphanage, the beds they slept in there, the friends they had and the caregivers they loved. As in Kaden’s case- this includes his foster parents and foster siblings and the pictures his amazing foster mother took of him before we knew him. The girls Lifebooks have history of Guatemala, poems, quotes and pictures of our trips there. I also journal throughout it all, talking about the foods she tried for the first time, her first words in English, etc. There are maps of Guatemala that show the town they were born. There are copies of their passport and flight tickets home. There is any history we have on their birth families- including sibling information. I do have one picture of Aleigha with her birthmom and several with Mya and her birthmom and birth grandmother (since I had the opportunity to meet them on her pick up trip). I journal things her mother told me the day we met. Basically, any information I have to help fill that blank- help answer the unknowns- is what I do. I journal my feelings on the day I first saw their face, first held them in my arms. I tell them how we prayed for them and the many ways God made it obvious they were to be our children. I truly feel that a Lifebook is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your adopted child.

Here are some pictures of Aleigha and her Lifebook. :0)


7 comments:

Bethany said...

That's such a neat idea!! I'll have to keep this in mind for when I adopt! :)

natali said...

that's really neat :)) i love scrapbooking, so i'll definitely remember this when the time comes for me to adopt :))

Blessed Mom of 8 said...

AWESOME JOB!

I made a similar thing on Kodak Gallery for each of our adopted children. THEY LOVE having it!

Hugs and blessings - Jill

heart at home said...

I enjoy reading your blog. I am not even sure how I found it, but your wisdom and experience as adoptive mom has been a blessing to me. My husband and I are waiting to adopt. We live in Canada. We started out journey 15 months ago. We had one interview for a baby girl a few months ago, it was between us and another family and they choice the other family. It was very disapionting but we trust in God's plan for us and our family and know she wasn't meant to be our baby. The waiting is hard. Thanks for sharing the idea of life books and I will do this for sure when we finally get our little blessing.

Doreen said...

precious life books amy, your girls will treasure them forever... i made one for each of my girls and they also have memory boxes that i add to every year...

One Big Fat Sugar Mama said...

Ah! now I get it. What a great idea. Can I hire you to do mine for me? :0) :0) :0)

Milk Mama said...

This is beautiful!!!! I love that it says "this is where your story begins." It's perfect.