Adoption Life Book – Documenting the Moment of Adoption

Adoption Life Book - Starting to Tackle the Tougher Questions

In my prior posts I have talked about including all the known facts into your child’s Adoption Life Book. Now we start to move more into some of the feelings behind the why of adoption.

You are still working with little information so you may need to extract and interpret so the child gets somewhat of a picture of what was going on at the time of their adoption. You are also going to have to address some of the tougher questions. Why did you adopt? How did I end up being adopted?

Let me share how I tacked this.

*** Disclaimer: I am by no means an authority on adoption or child development. These thoughts are my own and are from my personal experience. ***

Being Put Up for Adoption

Most children will have some sort of social worker report noting specifics about the child and approving them for adoption. Some reports will have more information than others so pull what you can.

But the important thing to share with the child is that through vague details someone saw they were worthwhile for adoption and that unnamed people thought they deserved a happy future. This can address some self worth doubts down the road.

We were lucky and our son had a wonderful social worker that put this statement into her report:

  • “We do hope he will be matched with good adoptive parents as soon as possible and grow up happy and healthy in a more affectionate and secure environment.”
  • In previous pages I did try to answer why his birth mother put him up for adoption. But having an ‘official’ also want the best for him is very important.

    Adoption Life Book Page Layout Idea - Recommendation for Adoption

    Developmental Milestones

    Hopefully the social worker report will also include an update on the development of the child. Again, this is most likely going to be clinical so you can try to explain it in a softer manner.

    But details like ‘you took 2-3 naps per day’ or ‘you liked tapping the floor with your palms’ are little things that most children are told about by their parents that raised them. For adoptees that are older when they are placed these details are just lost. Having little nuggets of daily life recorded gives them a sense of history.

    And as a parent all we can do is try to give that too them. No matter how small.

    Why Did You Adopt

    This is a loaded question that you will probably have to answer many times during your child’s life but take the opportunity to address it before or at the time of placement in your album.

    You can mention just a few words now or tell a full story. It really is up to you. In our case it was just a few words about making our family complete.

    I loved matching the timing up and it was right about the time his social worker recommended him for adoption that we made the decision to adopt. So we were really thinking about each other – we just did not know it yet.

    You can also include facts about how your were referred. Was it a letter or a phone call? Where were you when you received it? How did you feel.

    In our case I was extremely lucky. Right after we found out I headed to South Korea on a business trip. It was so interesting to look at the country through my ‘to-be’ child’s eyes.

    I also had the chance to talk to people in South Korea about the adoption. I will tell you I was received with nothing but warm congratulations.

    Adoption Life Book Page Layout Idea - Adoption Referral

    The State of Adoption

    Each country or state has different rules for adoption and you may want to think about including these nuances in your child’s Adoption Life Book. After all these rules and customs had a direct affect on how your child was adopted.

    The entire adoption process is an intregal part of their own story. Helping them to understand how the process worked and the steps along the way could give them a bit of peace and even some clues later on if they decide to research their birth parents.

    During our adoption story there was a significant change in the adoption process in South Korea called the Special Adoption Law of 2012. What was a law meant to reduce inter-country adoption, change the stigma of adoption in South Korea and support single mothers unfortunately resulted in the opposite.

    Adoption Life Book Page Layout Idea - State of Adoption and Why We Chose to Adopt

    The number of ‘un-adoptable’ (a word that should NEVER exist) children has increased and waiting time to bring inter-country adopted children home has increased over a year. Children used to be referred to their new parent at 5 to 7 months and brought home around the age of 1 to 1 and a half. Now it is not uncommon to see these same children that are referred at 5 to 7 months turning three still in country.

    We all know this does no good for the children as they are now firmly bonded with their foster families. What was supposed to be a good law has only added grief to these child’s lives that they were trying to help.

    Our son came home at 2 and a half and we had to deal with extreme grief. Like the books say the first year is the hardest and I agree!

    I’ll get off my soap box now about the new law. I keep hoping they will rethink it keeping the children in mind.

    Final Thoughts

    So a couple of simple pages held some really serious topics. As you can see I glossed over them in the book as I wanted to give our son clues but now dwell on it.

    I can see where you may want to do something different based upon your child or your personality. I think staying true to yourself and to the child are the most important things when building an Adoption Life Book.

    I am not going to hide anything from my son.

    So what do you think? What will you do differently?

    Adoption Life Book - Starting to Tackle the Tougher Questions
    Adoption Life Book - Starting to Tackle the Tougher Questions


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