Adoption Life Book Q&A

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Q. What is an Adoption Life Book? | Q. What are some of the benefits of an Adoption Life Book? | Q. Why doesn’t everyone know about Adoption Life Books? | Q. What’s different now? | Q. What’s the best format for an Adoption Life Book?

Q. What is an Adoption LifeBook?  

Example LifeBook Page

  1. the best gift in the world for a foster/adopted child
  2. a simple, powerful tool which promotes trust and attachment
  3. required by law in Pennsylvania for every foster child
  4. proof of ones life story
  5. something many adult adoptees wish they had growing up

All of the above:

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"An Adoption Life Book is a record of a foster/adoptee’s life that uses words, photos, graphics, the child’s artwork, and memorabilia. An Adoption Life Book includes information about the child’s birth parents and reason for leaving them. It always starts at the child’s birth.  Plus the fun part of when the adopted child first joined the family.

An Adoption Life Book is more than a life story. It is a unique opportunity for parents to honor every minute of their children’s lives. It is the single most meaningful piece of "paperwork" that any social worker can complete. And foster parents? You can give an adoptee/foster child a sweet childhood memory.

Q. What are some of the benefits of an Adoption Life Book?

An adoption life book provides:

bulletA concrete tool for meaningful conversation
bulletAn adoption security blanket
bulletAttachment rituals
bulletStructure for difficult material (such as reasons for the relinquishment)
bulletWays to normalize adoption language
bulletWays to reduce fantasy about birthparents (could this help with paying attention in school?)
bulletA front-load for adolescence
bulletOpportunities to create positive identity and ethnic identity
bulletSpace for future events

Q. Why doesn’t everyone know about Adoption Life Books?

Starting in the 1970’s Life Books were used in the public sector for foster children.Then the " crack cocaine epidemic" started in the early 1980’s and social workers no longer had time to do anything but the basics. Adoption or foster Life Books were a forgotten tool.

Private agencies placing infants didn’t think their clients had adoption issues, hence no need for LifeBooks. A social worker actually told me this last year and inspired my statement " Even cute babies have questions."

International adoptions didn’t have any specific information so what was there to discuss in the LifeBook? Lots….

Q. What’s different now?

With the Internet, information about every aspect of adoption is sweeping the country. Plus with the new adoption law, Adoption and Safe Families Act ( ASFA) foster children are mandated to have families instead of growing up in foster care.

The word is getting out about what an incredible tool Adoption Life Books are. The benefits are numerous.

Q.What’s the best format for an Adoption Life Book?

The information should be written in a story format so that it is easy to read to the child in a natural, entertaining fashion. This is one of the differences between a made from scratch LifeBook and a Memory Book. What child doesn't want to hear their story?  Again and again.

Foster parents and social workers may only have time to collect facts, save artwork, or dig for old medical records.  Save whatever information you can.

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Creating a Life Book?  Need Help?

Find help here with my FREE adoption life book tips.  You'll get 7 tips sent to your email eaddress that will get you (and keep you) on track.

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Contact Info:

Beth O'Malley
PO Box 520178
Winthrop, MA 02152
Fax: 617-846-6718
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Are You Ready for the Day Your Child asks:   "Mommy, did I grow in your tummy?"


Adoption lifebooks - sign up for free tips.  Beth O'Malley helping families create adoption lifebooks.