Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ever After: Encouraging attachment with lifebooks and family albums

If you haven’t already started a lifebook, memory book, or a new volume of your family album when you decided to adopt or got your referral, now is the time to catch up and get active with this important project. You may decide to also tell the story of your adoption trip itself. With an older child you may be able to use joint work on a lifebook as an enjoyable shared activity that reinforces your child’s place in the family and in your heart. For a younger child, such a book will also capture so many little details and feelings about your adoption journey and your child’s arrival in the family that are easy to forget later on.

You can approach this creative task in many ways, depending upon your own skills and perspective. Many adoptive parents put together a lifebook for their child that includes information, details, photos, and a narrative or little story about the child life before and after adoption. Some parents use a photo album or one of the ready- made lifebook albums available, others more try more elaborate, scrapbook-style approaches.

Whatever you choose, your efforts are a heart-felt gift from you to your child of your child’s own story: beginnings, the work towards adoption, arrival home and beyond.

Lifebooks can help adoptive parents feel more comfortable, more matter of fact in talking with children about sensitive issues in adoption. We may not know all the information about our child’s birth and time in care, but we can sensitively present and reframe the thrust and possibilities. For example, rather than use the work “abandoned” when birthparents could not parent a child, we can focus on how birth parents’ difficult decisions assured that their child would find a safe place and a new family. In addition, lifebooks communicate the message that being adopted and being part of an adoptive family is a positive thing. Adoption is “just another kind of normal”, another strong and healthy way parents and children come together.
Here are some practical resources for lifebooks:
  • Adoption Lifebook: A Bridge to Your Child’s Beginnings by Cindy Probst (a Workbook for International Adoptive Families)
  • Lifebooks: Creating a Treasure for the Adopted Child by Beth O’Malley
  • Adoption Life Books
  • Adoption Shoppe
Also check out the following children’s books for ideas
Attachment and International Adoption. From Choices and Challenges in International Adoption by Joan McNamara ©2009

No comments:

Post a Comment