Guest Author - Becky Wilson
All children have questions about their past. Even as a grown adult, I still ask my mom questions about my earliest years. A lifebook is one way to have it all in one place for a child to view and read at any time. In situations where there are details that are difficult to talk about, the lifebook can help explain or help begin a conversation. The intent of the lifebook is to tell about your child’s life from the very beginning, even if you don't know the intimate details of his birth.
A lifebook is similar to a scrapbook done in a story telling format. It offers a non-threatening, factual way to share your child’s story. It is written in such a way that he is valued and the information is matter-of-fact. Your emotions and thoughts are not written in the text, only facts. Scrapbooking is a medium for sharing your own point of view and feelings; lifebooks are for sharing information, usually written as a story about the child.
For very young children, you will need to do much of the writing yourself, but try to include your child as soon as he is able to communicate and draw. He can help with pasting photos, drawing pictures, and he can help write his own narrative. You can include just about anything you would put into a typical scrapbook: newspaper clippings, copy of his birth certificate, photos, drawings, airline tickets, etc.
Keep your child’s lifebook in a safe but easily accessible location. If he prefers to store it in a private location, honor his request. Encourage your child to look at his lifebook whenever he wants. It is common for his desire to look back at his past and read about his story to wax and wane over the weeks, months or years.
Lifebooks do not require you to be creative or artistic. They merely require that you collect items and write down your child’s story. Everything can be kept in a 3-ring binder with the pages tucked into archival quality plastic page protectors. The point is to get the information down on paper so your child can read it or have it read to him any time.
Buy LifeBooks : Creating a Treasure for the Adopted Child by Beth O'Malley on Amazon.com
Buy Adoption Lifebook : A Bridge to Your Child's Beginnings by Cindy Probst on Amazon.com