by Christine Bowlby, LMHP
A Life Book is a book created for a child who is adopted that tells his/her story, before and after adoption. If there is one thing that is almost guaranteed, it is the fact that someday adopted children will have questions - and rightfully so. Every child deserves to know where he or she came from. These books can help children retain connections to people who have been important in their lives and may help him/her integrate past experiences with their present circumstances in a healthy manner.
For adopted children, it is important to have a collection of as much of their history as possible. Having this information can: build self esteem, help with confusing thoughts regarding identity, assist in dealing with strong emotions due to family life events, help work through separation issues and assist building trust with adults. It is important to know that it does not need to be long or 'perfect'. It should be something your child can look at whenever he/she desires and it should be something he/she can share with others if he/she chooses.
You may be wondering . . . is this something that my child and I can do together? Yes! And there are many different people in your child's life that can be of help. For instance, can you retrieve pictures and stories from birth parents, extended family of birth parents, former foster parents, former caseworkers, teachers . . . ? You and your child can probably think of a host of others that may be a great resource for collecting information regarding your child's past. The important thing to keep in mind as your child's Life Book is being cultivated - the process of doing this together, is more important than the finished product.
If you would like additional information on how to get started with your child's Life Book, attend our training Creating Meaningful Life Books. Please check our Training Calendar for dates and locations.