End-of-the-school-year Updates to Send to Birth Families

Four easy and fun ideas that will keep your child’s birth families updated on their learning and growth.

Kenna Shumway May 31, 2015
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Sending my child off to school has been equal parts amazing and terrifying. I love watching him become more independent and learn new things but I feel like it’s all happening so fast that I’m going to miss something. I’ve always wanted to preserve these memories and school updates, not only for me, but for my son’s birth families as well. Here are four easy and fun ideas that will keep your child’s birth families updated on their learning and growth!

1) Daily Photos & Chatbooks

I feel like it’s pretty standard to take photos of your child on the first and last day of the school year. It’s so fun to place them side by side and see how your child has grown and changed!

However, you can take this to the next level and create a very special end-of-the-school-year update for your child’s birth families.  This is something I have personally done and I love the way it turned out. Every morning before I drove my son to school, I took a photo of him standing in front of our entry way wall. (I chose this wall because it doesn’t have anything on it and because it gets great light in the morning.) At first my son wasn’t really into it, but he eventually warmed up to it and often reminded me about it before we headed out the door.  Some days, for whatever reason, we forgot. It happens, so don’t fret. Each day I would upload the daily photo to Instagram and, with the help of an app called Chatbooks, I made a series of photo books. Chatbooks is a free download and it pulls photos from your Instagram account.  Each book costs six dollars and has sixty pages. It’s a steal! It has been so fun to see my son grow day by day and to share it with his birth families.

2) First Day/Last Day Questionnaire

This is a popular and fun way to chronicle your child’s interests and dreams each year! Create a questionnaire for your child and have him answer it on the first day of school. The questions can be about their basic favorites such as food, color, and animals as well as more in-depth questions like what they want to be when they grow up. You can also add their physical stats like height, weight, and hair and eye color. Then, on the last day of school, fill in the stats and ask the same questions. Your child’s birth families will be able to see how they grown and how their likes (and even dislikes!) have changed throughout the school year. Don’t forget to keep a copy for yourself!

3) Handwriting

There is something so awesome about seeing how a child’s handwriting changes. At the beginning of the school year, have your child write or trace their full name on a white piece of construction paper. To add a bit of color, use some finger paint to make a print of their dominant hand. You can also check out websites like handwritingworksheets.com. All you need to do is type in your child’s name and it will generate a worksheet with dotted lines for them to trace.  At the end of the school year, repeat and mail it to your child’s birth families! For another variation you can also have your child write or trace their birth families’ names for an added touch of personalization.

4) Favorite Book

My son has always been obsessed with books and reading. Even before he could talk he would pick books from his shelf, plop down in my lap, and “read” me stories. Over the years we have created an impressive personal library! As your child finishes out each school year, have them pick out one of their favorite books and purchase a copy for their birth families. Ask your child why they picked that particular book and write it down on the inside of the copy you will be sending to their birth families. Your child’s birth families will get a new book each school year to add to their hand-picked library!

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Kenna Shumway

Wife. Adoptive mom. Writer. Photographer. Endometriosis survivor, infertility warrior & adoption advocate. Rock star on weekends. Currently calls Ohio home with her pharmacist husband and their ginger son. Read more from her on her blog.


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