Life books provide foster and adoptive youth with personal connections to their past. A life book is a personal narrative account of a child’s life. Foster and adoptive parents play an important role in providing support in the creation of life books.
Creating a life book may feel like an overwhelming task. You may feel like you do not have enough information or enough personal items to include in the child’s life book. Or your child may be reluctant to share information or want to visit his past.
Do the best you can with the resources that you have. Gather as many additional personal items and mementos that you can. Be open (when appropriate) to contacting family members, past and present social workers, extended family members, siblings, mentors, and others who have been involved in the life of the child. Ask for their help in gathering pictures, school records, awards, certificates, milestone achievements, etc.
Engaging Youth in the Creation of Life Books
A child’s life book is exactly that—a child’s life book. Foster and adoptive parents can provide support and assistance in helping a child create his life book but, ultimately, the book is all about the child’s life.
Therefore, encourage your children to take an active role in preparing and creating their life books. Have a heart-to-heart discussion on the importance of life books in honoring who they were, who they are now, and who they may become in the future.
Children of all ages play an active role in creating their life book. Infants can share their hand and foot prints, a toddler can choose the color scheme, a pre-teen can add personal stories and artwork, and a teenager can add poetry or personal journal entries.