In the last issue of Adoptive Families magazine, there was a lengthy article about making life books for your kids. Basically, they are books that tell their adoption story. It was something I was already planning on doing, but the article had great ideas and really motivated me to start working on it.
On Tuesday, I got an e-mail coupon from Shutterfly for a free 8x8 photo book. I had never used them (or any other online service like them) before, but it seemed like a good idea. There wasn't any big catches. I didn't have to buy anything else or sign up for something. There was, however, a huge catch for me--the certificate was only good until Thursday. Yeah, that's technically three days, but it wasn't like I could drop everything and start working on it the moment I got the e-mail.
I stayed up late the last two night, working very hard to get it done. I won't tell you how many hours I spent on it, but that wasn't just because I had no clue what I was doing. A big reason was that both of our computers are ancient in computer years. (I think that one year equals ten computer years, which means that mine are way past middle age!) The laptop couldn't handle the software, and the desktop wasn't the greatest. Mark finally came in and helped me with some of it. If he hadn't, I would have never finished it.
Anyway, it brought back a lot of memories of what it was like only 16 months ago. The book is relatively simple, since it's for him when he's young, but as I pulled up pictures of his interim care parents and the first time we met him, it really came back to me.
I included pictures of us before he joined our family, pictures of the first time we met him, when we brought him home, pictures of my family and Mark's family, a ton of cute pictures of Steven, pictures of him being a big brother, pictures of his birth family (even one of his birth grandmother once I cropped Michelle out of it), and finally, one of us, his forever family.
I'm going to make him another one, probably on cardstock and then have it laminated and bound at Kinkos. Steven LOVES looking at pictures, and I want him to have a book that he can use right now.
If you have an adopted child, you seriously need to make a life book for him/her. I know that Steven is going to read this book over and over and over again, and it will provide many opportunities to talk to him about his adoption. I'm sure that I'll be making more as he grows up--ones age appropriate and that gives him answers to the questions he has then.
I'm so thankful for the relationship we have with his birth family and all the little stories I've collected to share with him. We are so blessed!
P.S. A great book for kids (adopted or not!) is Tell Me Again About the Night I was Born by Jamie Lee Curtis. It's a life book for a little adopted girl, and the story and illustrations are both amazing!
P.P.S. Adoptive Families is a great magazine. It's more than I would usually spend on a magazine ($25 for 6 issues), but it's completely worth it. . .and you'd be helping us out too :)
P.P.P.S. (Last one, I swear!) I have Steven's life book on our new shutterfly site, but it's password protected since it has pictures of his birthfamily. If you want access to it, let me know, and I'll send you the info.