A lifebook is a book that tells your child’s story before and after their adoption, and helps your child to place their adoption story in the context of their life experiences.
Many parents worry about how exactly to go about creating a lifebook, and Adoption Learning Partners–with whom many adoptive parents take courses prior to completing their adoption–has an online course you can take to help you get started.
Personally, I used a basic scrapbook and used it to tell my daughter’s story from birth to the day we arrived back home in Colorado (I also put together a movie of video and photos from our time in Ethiopia). We included photos from our travels to her birthplace in Ethiopia and of the hospital and orphanage where she lived, and included information gleaned from her referral and our own investigation in country, as well as information about her tribe we were able to learn from our guide. I struggled for a long time with the words to tell her story, and in the end left it basically wordless–using images instead. We are constantly elaborating on her story as she gets older, is better able to understand the various components, and asks us specific questions.
She loves to read her “Epia Book” and does so almost daily. I put each page in a page protector so it could handle all the handling it gets. She’s also been very proud to take it out and tell her story to extended family members and her friends when they come to visit. This has led to some really interesting conversations between her and her other little friends who were also adopted from Ethiopia–especially the older ones from the same tribe who are able to tell her even more about what life was like in Ethiopia–something we cherish, because it’s not something we can convey the way they can.
A lifebook can be hard to get started on, but it’s definitely been very useful in our family. What types of information did you include in your child’s lifebook?