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How to Design an Adoption Scrapbook for Your Child
The best way to tell your child’s adoption story is by recording a wonderful scrapbook that you can share with each other for many years, all the way into adulthood. As a new mother, however, good intentions are often put aside just trying to keep up with the daily tasks of parenting. Our best memories and photos are stuffed into a closet, while we wait for the time in our lives when we have enough hours to make the story for our children’s justice.
Don’t put off your child’s adoption scrapbook any longer. It is important that they get through this book and share the pictures long before they go to university.
Here are some ideas to guide you in recording your child’s adoption scrapbook (or “lifebook” as some call it):
 Write everything down. As a new parent it’s easy to believe you’ll remember every special moment, but in no time you’ll be making a lot of memories and some of your favorite things will fade.
 Record what you know for your child that is appropriate for his little ears. Perhaps you were able to spend some time with the birth mother and have a personal reflection on how kind she was. Or you may not have any information if your child was adopted from an orphanage. It’s important to be honest but it also needs to be something you can read from your book to your 5-year-old. If your child’s birth mother has many other children that she is still raising, or if your child was the result of abuse, this is not appropriate for the book.
 Export the photos you want to use. You don’t have to use all of them, just the most important ones. Are you arranging the book chronologically? Make sure everything is in order.
 Decide what table size to use. They are usually 8″ x 8″, 12″ x 12″ or 8.5″ x 11″. The 8″ x 8″ tablets are a great size for little hands to hold.
 Try to find any material you want to use. When I had a hard time finding anything but a couple of stickers that mentioned adoption, I finally designed my own 8″ x 8″ overlay transparencies. I really like overlays because they give the book a classy look, there’s no mess (no glue or tape needed) and anyone can use them (no instructions needed either).
 Keep it simple and don’t be tempted to put every idea you have in the book. Also consider your child’s attention span. Add more pages later as your child asks questions and you want to answer them in the book (what kind of car did my birth mother drive?) You may want things represent another, such as your child’s country (or even city) or birth.
 Add some poems and quotes. When you lack information about your child’s birth or you are overwhelmed by writing down all your thoughts, it is a good way to add some adoption statements. But be sure not to be completely dependent on them. Words are nice and can add to the record, but it’s your own personal thoughts that will be most valuable to your child as they get older.
 Use child-friendly language. For example, never write, “Your birth mother loved you so much.” This could scare your child into believing that you will soon love him too much and take him away too. Keep the wording simple: “Miss Clara wanted you to have both mommy and daddy and she knew we were excited to be your parents.
Too often we get caught up in creating a masterpiece of a baby album that includes all the baths, haircuts, smiles and tears. Instead, focus on just the adoption story for this little book and put a lot of the baby or family pages in other books. The sooner it is ready for your child, the longer their childhood will reflect on it.
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