I was thrilled to read that THIS month’s Katelyn’s Fund support meeting is on lifebooks. This is something I have dabbled with now since we brought our first daughter home almost 5 years ago now. I have never made a "true" lifebook though, but still want to! For Chloe I made two albums when we got home – one was of all of the little girls in our travel group – there were 11 adopted out of the same orphanage, just months apart in age. I made an album with all of their pictures and then update it yearly, or as we get new pictures. Then, I built an album for her of all I had up until we got her – pictures of her orphanage, her province in China, pictures we were given from a camera we sent in a care package, her finding ad, etc. I put everything I had together, found a bit more on the internet, and built her a small album up until the day we got her. I just wanted for her to have SOMETHING from those first 8 months in China. I have to say, although it’s not a typical "lifebook", for her it’s her favorite choice of a bedtime story. She pulls her little album out and tells me stories of all of those pictures. Now, I know she was only 8 months old and probably has no recollection of those pictures or events, but it’s ok with me, it’s her story and I let her tell it! 🙂
Our second daughter, Jada, who we just brought home four months ago is a whole different, and yes, extremely sad story to this mom! I have nothing before age 2 – I mean nothing – not one baby photo, nothing. I cried about that – I sobbed about that for her – my heart aches for the day when she asks me what she looked like as a baby. I wrote to her orphanage and asked for any more pictures to help tell her story – and they were gracious, they did send me two more pictures – but both were after that 2 year mark. At that point I felt like the album was a waste – I had some pictures- not many though – and they were only from the last year of her life. I could hardly make that into an album, and to my simple mind, I felt like it would never be meaningful. How wrong I was! To our 3 1/2 year old daughter, this is her treasure – we don’t even have it printed yet, but she goes to my laptop and points to the file of her little album. When I open it, she is all smiles – she points to each and every picture of herself and says "mine." I am glad I could do that much for her – give her a small treasure of her first 3 and a half years of life.
I want to encourage you – it isn’t the fancy lifebook or the amount of pictures you have – it’s just that you have SOMETHING, ANYTHING. It may seem small and meaningless to us compared to what we have for our biological children, or compared to what others may have, but to our little ones – it is their story – their past – and it means more than we know. I will leave you with a few resources I have found that have helped me in building my albums for our two adopted daughters – and I want to encourage you to attend the January support meeting if you are able – your book/album does not have to be fancy, but even if you glean one new idea – it’s so meaningful to our little ones!
Lifebooks: Creating a Treasure for the Adopted Child by Beth O’Malley – absolute MUST-HAVE – this one is fabulous!!!
Adoption Lifebook: A Bridge to Your Child’s Beginnings by Cindy Probst
My China Workbook by Beth O’Malley (available in many other Country formats as well)
Ten Questions – Adoption – this is a series that Creative Memories is putting out "Ten Questions" – it is a digital download that you just drop in your pictures, add some text in the boxes they give you, and you are DONE! I love the whole concept and I am thrilled they included adoption in this fabulous series!
Adoption Lifebook Digital Scrapbooking Kit – I can’t speak to the quality of this product, but I have ordered other digital scrapbooking items from them and have been happy with them.