A Life Book is a child's life story and the best gift you can give the child in your care. It contains photos, artwork, memorabilia, stories and more.
It helps a child:
understand his/her past
feel good about themselves
prepare for the future
When to begin:
A Life Book should be started as soon as a child joins a foster family. If a child has been in care for a while and a book hasn’t been started yet - start NOW!
Birth Parents or extended family members
Foster Parents past and present
Anyone who knows the child well
What goes in the book?
Birth Information and information about child’s birth family
Social Workers – names and their role
Information about every family they’ve lived with
Letters, Awards, Achievements, Report Cards
Anything they have received from birth parents – cards, notes, gift tags, photos of gift
of child at every age
of everyone involved with the child, including pets
Comments by the child regarding the pictures – include how child feels about the person or event, dates, etc.Anything that’s important to the child
Life Books can be very simple or a scrap booking masterpiece. The content is far more important than the style.
Life Book models are available. Ask your Foster Parent Coordinator for some examples or there are Life Books available online.
You can find printable Life Books at Iowa Foster & Adoptive Parents Association, http://www.ifapa.org/publications/IFAPA_Lifebook_Pages.asp
You can purchase a Life Book from www.adoptionlifebooks.com
If a child is preparing for adoption the Adoption Social Worker may provide a Life Book for the child
Make it special:
Let the child choose the album, scrapbook, or binder
Visit a scrap-booking supplies store. Let the child choose stickers etc.Lots of photos! If you don’t have a photo of a person or item, have the child draw a picture
Label all photos and date each page
Listen to what the child wants to put into their book
Give creative teens the tools to design their own books - perhaps a “For When I am Famous” book
There are several “about me” type books available in book stores, especially for teen girls.Give a teen a camera or video camera and have them record their life
Interview your teen: use a voice recorder; a video camera; or take notes and write a “magazine” article
What about the bulky stuff?
Use a photo box, decorate a shoe box, or build a “treasure chest”.Large folios are available for those big art projects
Photograph large items or scan them and put the image in the life book
Make a felt banner for pins, ribbons and badges
Cut a small sample from old shirts, gift wrap etc and include
You can make scrapbook pages on-line
Make copies of the Life Book. Color photocopies work very well, or scan each page and save on disk.Laminate copies for young children
Give the Social Worker a copy for the child’s file.