In 2002, I began to chronicle my adoption journey and created Forever Parents, a supportive online community for adoptive and waiting parents. Over the next year, we grew our support forums to include an adoption shop and a blog. Forever Parents stayed active, helping thousands of people for over ten years. I’m in the process of updating and moving all the posts to this blog, in the Forever Parents section. This post was originally published on April 12, 2007 and updated since.
What is an adoption life book?
An adoption life book is usually created for children that are adopted through foster care, but children adopted through private or international adoption can certainly benefit from having one.
Adoption life books serve to fill in the blanks of their life before they were adopted and can include many different things, depending on the age they were when adopted and the type of adoption.
I enjoyed the process of creating my children’s life book. It helped created a timeline that they, and us also, could use in filling in the gaps.
My husband and I adopted three siblings. In creating their life book I decided to make one main book. The timeline started when they were born and the final page is from the first day we met them. I later created a second book that starts that where the first one ends, and the final page is the day we finalized their adoption.
Their caseworker started their life book with all the photos she had in their case file. I then transferred it to a new photo album and added a lot of information, including the 12 adoption life book ideas listed below.
I’d love to hear what you included in your child’s life book.
To get a printable list of these ideas, click here.
Some readers keep it in the life book while they’re working on it and use it as a checklist.
Blog readers can use the code blogfree to get it free.
- Information on where your child was born.
I requested brochures on the visitors’ website where my children were born. I used fun state facts and various landmarks in their city of birth.
- Print out an “On the day you were born” time capsule. I printed mine from this site but there are various places to get one. It shows the prices of items, popular movies, and top songs when someone was born. It’s a fun addition especially for older kids who may not have enough information for a whole book.
- Photographs of those who were involved such as caseworkers, agency staff, foster parents, etc.
- Photographs of the birth family, if you have it. We only have a mug shot of their biological mother so that’s what we used.
- A page of your thoughts when you saw them for the first time.
- For those in foster care, an explanation of why they were removed. Make this age-appropriate but don’t sugar coat it.
- Include a journal entry on why you decided to adopt.
- Report cards, school work, certificates, etc
- Photos of your child that you received during the process. I hung the very first photo I saw of my three kids in our living room. I also put a copy in their life book.
- Your first photo together.
- Details and photos from the finalization.
- Include photos from your adoption party or adoption shower. I ended up having so many pages that I included this in a separate post-adoption book.
If you have any other adoption life book ideas, please list them in a comment or link to your blog post on the topic.
Related: 13 Ways to Celebrate an Adoption Anniversary