Why does your child need a life story book?
Children brought up with their birth family are surrounded by their history. Who they are and where they come from is reflected back to them on a daily basis in all kinds of different ways.
Children who are not living with their birth families, especially those who have experienced multiple moves prior to their adoptive placement, will have a very disjointed sense of their history and a very fragile sense of who they are. A life story book will begin to address this, and it opens the door to further communication.
Life story books should provide answers to the many questions children are likely to have about their life prior to their adoption – what happened, when and why? Having a clear understanding of their history will enable your child to live more comfortably in the present and to plan for their future.
- Who am I?
- Why am I here?
- What will happen to me?
How to use your child’s life story book
It is important that you are familiar with your child’s life story before you share it with your child.
Sharing the content of the book with your child is vital. It will reassure the child that you know all about them and their past, and that you still find them loveable, so they don’t have to carry any ‘secrets’.
Let your life story worker or social worker know if you are finding it difficult to talk about the information in your child’s life story. We want you to feel able to share your child’s story with them.
We can’t change history but we can re-word it. For younger children, you may want to read only a few words and the child may be more interested in the photographs and the illustrations. Later, the words will become more significant.
Use your child’s questions as an opportunity to access their life story book. For example. if your child asks, “Why have I got curly hair?” this is a natural opening for you to say, “Let’s look in your life story book as I think your birth mother had curly hair too.”
You should make sure your child’s life story is available for them to access when and if they want to.
The life story book will not ensure that your child has a clear and complete understanding of their history, but it is a good starting point for you as adopters to build on, at your child’s pace.
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