A Lifebook is, simply put, a book about the time BEFORE your adopted child entered your life. It can include some of your experiences, of course, but then it is a book about YOUR experience and YOUR journey. A Lifebook is meant to speak to the "life" your child had before she met you.
This can be hard for many parents. I chose to make a Lifebook for my daughter as well as a book documenting our adoption. One is "our story"; the other "her story." She loves them both.
A Lifebook can evolve, changing as your child ages to include more detail. Or it can be a Keepsake-type of album, one that you create once and keep intact. Both are valid; both are valuable.
I created both for Mae. Her Keepsake album is beautiful and hard-cover. It also skims over some of the more gritty details. It is appropriate to show to friends or people she doesn't know well.
I also created an ever-evolving paperback version that speaks more to her individual situation. It asks questions. It explains policy. It is private.
In both, she is able to piece together her story before she met us. And for our children, sometimes this is so very important to them. It is to Mae.
My experience, obviously, is only with the International Adoption of a healthy infant. But I believe that any adopted child, no matter what the age or the circumstance, should have access to "her story." I may not have many baby pictures to share with Mae, but I have the entire history of her country to teach her.
Below is a list (in no particular order) of some of the things you can include in your child's Lifebook. Check back here in September and we'll talk about each of them in detail, including how to access this information, if you are having difficulty finding things. Have fun!
- maps/pics/info about your child's province/country
- pics from the orphanage/foster home
- pics of the nannies/foster parents/orphanage directors
- pics from the camera you sent (if you did)/referral photos
- copies of the Visa/passport pictures
- info about your child's first name
- adoption day pics/story
- 1-child policy information
- travel pics
- update reports from the orphanage/foster parents
- finding ad/pic