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What Not to Put into a Foster or Adopted Child's Lifebook

Lifebooks Are an Important Part of Foster and Adoptive Parenting

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It may seem like a daunting task, putting together a lifebook for a foster or adopted child. It may bring up emotions of past grief and loss issues for the child as well as for the foster or adoptive parent. One question that seems to come up a lot is, "Are there things I shouldn't put into a child's lifebook?"

I contacted Beth O'Malley, author of LifeBooks: Creating a Treasure for the Adopted Child and got her take on that question. Here are her suggestions on what not to put into a child's lifebook.

  • Do not include pictures of the child's abuser, if the abuser was not the child's birth parents. Sometimes birth parents are abusive, but it will still be important to include them in the lifebook. But if the abuser was an uncle or next door neighbor, for example, leave them out.
  • Too much adult detail is not important. Make sure that your interpretation of the child's story does not take over the lifebook. It may be great to have a page where an important adult in the child's life writes their take on why a child was placed in foster care or for adoption, but the entire lifebook should not be along this line.
  • Too much on a page may be overwhelming for a child. A lifebook needs to be easily read, with lighter ideas and concepts and age appropriate for the child.

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