This is the first picture we ever received of E. He's 4 months old here. I can't even handle the cuteness!
I'm really glad I have that lifebook for him. I can tell it's really helping him process things. I just ordered a new lifebook for J-Man that I made through a photo website. J-Man has his really intense story that we used in EMDR therapy and he has a little baby photo album I made him, but I felt he was a little jealous of E's book because I took a lot of care to make that and it has words in it to really tell his story. I felt like J-Man needed something more similar to that.
I think that lifebooks are so very important for kids from hard places. Years ago I read the idea of a 3-picture-story. I love this idea because lifebooks can seem overwhelming and time-consuming to parents (especially parents with newly placed children) and the 3-picture-story is so quick and easy. I did these for both of my boys after we brought them home. All you do is find 3 pictures that sum up your child's story. The 3 pictures are:
1.) The earliest picture you have of your child. This can be them with birthfamily, with first foster family, a baby picture, or just the youngest picture you have.
2.) "The handoff". This is a picture ideally of the previous caregiver handing the child to you. It can also be a picture of the day you met, the day your child was placed with you, a first picture of you with your child.
3.) Your family. Parents and children together. Forever family.
Pretty easy, right? Just put those 3 pictures on a piece of paper and go through it with your child with simple explanations of each picture. You may not have the exact pictures I mentioned above, but as you can see there are a lot of options that will work. Do the best you can with what you have. You could also draw a picture of your child as a baby if you just don't have any photos that will work.
What have you done to help your child understand his/her story? Please share your ideas with all of us!