Saturday, October 22, 2011

Waiting and Preparing the Adoption Lifebook

So I thought I was a fairly patient person...I am learning otherwise. The good news is that we have completed absolutely every piece of paperwork, participated in every homestudy meeting, even paid most expenses (minus travel expenses, and boy are they a wammy). The bad news....what on earth do we do now? Well, through reading others blogs and our adoption agency's Korea forum I have discovered the absolutely incredible adoption resource, the adoption lifebook.

It is basically (in the words of Beth O'Malley, creator of the lifebook), "a record of a foster/adoptee’s life that uses words, photos, graphics, the child’s artwork, and memorabilia. An Adoption Life Book includes information about the child’s birth parents and reason placing them for adoption...An Adoption Life Book is more than a life story. It is a unique opportunity for parents to honor every minute of their children’s lives."

It is an invaluable book that explains their lives before adoption. I have bought the book Beth O'Malley's book "Lifebook: Creating a Treasure for the Adopted Child" that gives wonderful tips for creating the lifebook, as well as great ideas for gathering useful information and items while traveling in S Korea that will Taylor can treasure for the rest of his life! The idea is that we will talk with Taylor about his life prior to Gotcha Day (adoption lingo for the day he will join our family) in age-appropriate ways so that he will never not know that he was adopted but that this lifebook can allow us an avenue for giving Taylor a complete personal history and is also a way to maintain completely open lines of communication so he always feels comfortable asking questions as he gets older. It is also a private book that only Taylor gets to decide who he wants to share it with outside Michael and me. Some of the cool ideas in the resources book are to gather special items from S Korea when we are there, including local newspaper on Gotcha Day, some Korean soil in a little ziplock, an outfit worn while with his foster family placed in an airtight bag to retain the smell, and, of course, tons of pictures, videos and documentation of his early life by his foster mom. I know some of these things may sound silly, but it will provide him with tangible items to represent life before adoption. I am so grateful that someone thought of this! So that is what I am looking to start now. I say 'looking to start' as in, I haven't yet. I have already bought the stuff I need to get started but will have to carve time out from work to make sure I get this book going so it does not get lost in the shuffle. Rumor has once we are parents we will now have time for anything else but being parents!

So that is what we are doing now. Not very interesting for the everyday reader but, well, that is what I am up to. Hope this post is helpful to any 'in process' adoptive families for ways to prepare for traveling and capturing memories that can be treasured forever by your family and, most importantly, your child. This is a picture of our lifebook materials...

Lifebook - Taylor's Story

And, of course we are getting ready to capture each step from travel and throughout Taylor's first year home. Below are the fun scrapbooking things to make sure we don't forget to take tons of pictures while we are in Korea and after getting home. Jungle animals is the theme!

Scrapbooking Taylor's 1st Year Home

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Seoul South Korea