A Life Book is a combination of a story, diary, and scrapbook that has information about a foster child’s life experiences. Many children arrive without any mementos, pictures, or stories on their past. You can help them create on when they arrive in your home.
Life Books have two important goals. The first goal is to help preserve memories and help kids in foster care make sense of their lives The Life Book is a place where foster children can express their feelings creatively, put their thoughts on paper, and keep different mementos from different experiences they have had. This can include pictures, poems, drawings, arts and crafts, report cards, stories and more.
As a foster parent, you will often need to take the initiative, prompting the children in your house to save items for their Life Books and setting aside special times each week to work on them. Life Books should also be kept in mind when you are taking photographs or getting the photos developed. Be sure to take enough pictures or to order enough copies so that both you and your foster child can keep pictures of special events such as birthday parties, holidays and more.
The second goal of a Life Book is to provide foster children with a connection to their past. Foster children often lack the family history that most of us take for granted. Many foster children never get to know their birth family members or hear birth family stories, and they often know almost nothing about their infancy. This is why the Life Book and proper documentation can be so important to them.
Every piece of a person’s life is valuable. Pieces come together to make a whole, and foster children often have lots of pieces that they need assistance and support in putting together.
Many people have adapted a format that resembles a scrapbook. Involve your foster child in the process and help them decide what type of Life Book best fits his or her personality. Many foster parents also choose to make an extra copy of every Life Book for their own personal memories, or add to one main one on their foster children, so that they can later reflect back on all the foster children who have been placed in their home.
Here are some ideas for assisting foster children with their Life Books.
1.Set aside a specific time period each week as a time for everyone to sit down and work on the Life Book. This is even a time that you can take to organize your own photos.
2.If you have a teenager who is being resistant to working on his/her Life Book, encourage them to help a younger child that is in the home.
3.If you have a foster child who is having difficulty coming up with different ideas for what to put in their books, remind them of any activities they have been involved in.
4.Start current and stay current. Sometimes things in the past are still too painful to recall. When the time is right, the foster children will put past information in their Life Book.
It is also very normal for children to not want to participate in creating Life Books, because many children do not yet realize the value in recording memories. It is our responsibility to encourage our foster children to work on their Life Books, but please remember not to put a lot of pressure on them. The Life Book is supposed to be a source of fun and building self-esteem.
Here are some ideas to help you and the foster children when looking for information to put in the Life Book.
1.Take pictures of the school they are attending or schools they have attended in the past.
2.Ask schoolteachers if they have any pictures of the foster children that you can make copies of.
3.Take pictures of the foster home(s) the foster child has been placed at. Take pictures of the foster parents and foster siblings.
4.Take pictures of any churches that the foster child has attended.
5.Write down the foster child’s likes and dislikes (food, drink, pastimes, music, books, activities, etc).
6.Write about funny things that have happened during your time with them.
When a foster child leaves your home, ensure that the Life Book goes with him or her. They will, someday, appreciate your efforts to help them create a memory of their past