An adoption lifebook enables a child to view his or her history through pages that come alive. Beth O’Malley puts it best in her article, “Adoption and Foster Care Lifebooks”: “The words (and photos, artwork, etc.) will create pictures when none exist.”
It enables children to have a more holistic and three-dimensional view of themselves as a total person because it gives them a stronger sense of history and identity than they might otherwise have. Therefore, it is important to use creativity with various elements to create you adoption lifebook. Below are some tips and fun ideas you might wish to incorporate in yours. Whatever you do, have fun with it!
1. Begin the lifebook when you begin the adoption process. Various interesting and unexpected things, both positive and stressful, arise during almost any adoption. You never know what might happen and what might be of interest later, so basically start a journal. Some of it you may wish to include in your book, some you may not. However, it is best to document the events to jog your memory when actually assembling a book. Include a photographic journey as well.
2. Make the book colorful, using different fonts, stickers, construction paper, and more. The unique twist comes in if you can make some of it 3D. You can use glue, accordion folding, tape, origami, and other fun ideas.
3. Use a variety of textures. You can glue cloth, buttons, foil, wrappers, and small toys to name just a few.
4. Think “outside the book!” You can do things like having a doll from the child’s past or background or country of origin holding the book, have a CD of relevant music or voice recordings inside a sleeve within the cover of the book, and even have the book covered from a piece of clothing from the child’s history.
5. If possible, get other people to contribute to the lifebook so the child can get more than the parents’ perception of his or her rich history. This could be through including cards and letters, having other people sign the book with messages (for instance, a church group or family at a family reunion), asking someone significant to the child’s life to make something for the book, etc.
6. You might want to include “peek-a- boo” messages or quotes as well. Cover the message with paper, much like an advent calendar at Christmas, and have the child open one on each birthday. You could even incorporate mementos.
7. Make the lifebook a “living” book. Leave lots of blank pages – or do new volumes – to continue to document the child’s growth, development, school progress, hobbies, and relationships, plus so much more.
8. Remember to fill the pages with love, and it will show!