Real or Fake? Far-out Fibs, Fishy Facts and Phony Photos

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Real or Fake? Far-out Fibs, Fishy Facts and Phony Photos by National Geographic Kids is a fascinating book that helps kids to see through information and identify what is true from what is contrived, faked, tweaked or downright false. With the advent of the Photoshop era and the proliferation of exaggeration on-line, in print and in advertisements, truth competes with persuasive, authentic-sounding lies and fakes. Even adults can be fooled by these stories, “news” reports, photos, and zany factoids and find it difficult to discern the difference between what is real or fake.

It is essential that we help kids develop the ability to see through the trickery and deceit and… Click To Tweet

The book uses a fib-o-meter to help display the range of falseness that an item may contain. Some lies are broader and more serious than others. The bottom line is that it still represents an untruth. We all must be alert for the tricks that people use to fool, confuse and manipulate us. Sometimes the deceit is unintentional, sometimes it is for fun. Many times, however, the intention is to control and trick kids (or us) into doing something or believing something we would not otherwise do or believe if we knew the truth.

Adoption-attuned Lens magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300One of the most demeaning questions posed to adoptees and their families centers of the concept of REALDo you know your REAL parents? Do you have any REAL brothers or sisters? In addition to your adopted children, do you have any REAL ones?  Yikes! These questions strike deep. They doubt the validity of our families, cast us as less than biological families and ask us to defend our “inferior” status. At some level, the REAL question causes kids to worry that perhaps they are right.

This book offers the perfect gateway to discussing what makes a family real. As adoptive families, we know that our families and our relationships are all real. The choice is not binary; both adoptive and biological parents and relatives are real. For a more detailed discussion, read this post on GIFT Family Services blog.

Daddy, Papi, Gramps–Whatever the Name, He’s Important

Gator Dad.51aBozfnGOL._AC_US160_Here in Florida, June conjures thoughts of hurricane preparation. (Hurricane season begins on June first.) But for most of us, June brings thoughts of Father’s Day.

Today our first review is Gator Dad by author/illustrator Brian Lies. This delightful book depicts an extraordinary dad engaging with his children. The exuberant illustrations wonderfully fulfill the text. The story opens with dad’s shadow looming over his sleeping children. This iconic image usually evokes fear in kids but these baby gators are EXCITED not afraid. Clearly they associate dad with fun and when he invites them to  “squeeze the day,” they are willing conspirators.

Trips to the grocery store, the park, etc all unfold in rollicking adventures. Kids will delight in the high jinks while adults will identify with the exhausted dad’s periodic suggestion that the little gators need a rest. Imaginative, descriptive language convey a mood of fun and affection. Gator Dad, is a book that every family can enjoy. What comes across clearly is the joyful bond that connects this dad with his kiddos.

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300AQ* Lens Dad understands that making fun together intensifies the affection they feel for one another. This presupposition is an important concept for all families, especially adoptive families. Too often we can get caught up in balancing school, homework, behavior, etc that we forget to have fun. But fun is integral to attachment; it must be a strong feature of family life. Fun doesn’t have to mean $$$. This story shows dad having fun even while doing chores!

 

Daddy Calls Me Doodlebug.51+5L5d0OQL._SY424_BO1,204,203,200_In the board book, Daddy Calls Me Doodlebug little ones–human and animal–announce the pet names their fathers call them. Each spread affirms the connection between child and parent. Children delight in knowing their father “sees” them and enjoys spending time with them. The nick names bestowed by the dad’s hold a story-within-a-story. This invites conversation between the reader and the child which adds an extra layer of fun.

 

 

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300AQ* Lens The inclusion of multiple species helps convey the idea that families can look different from one’s own and still be a family that love and and care for and about one another. It also offers a way to talk about how each creature–like each person–is unique and has talents and abilities of their own.

 

Daddy Calls Me ManDaddy Calls Me Man.51mCcu-yd+L._SX419_BO1,204,203,200_ written by Angela Johnson and illustrated by Rhonda Mitchell depicts a happy, functioning family. The cover shows Noah and Ad sharing a deep belly laugh which appeals to the reader and makes one want to turn the page for more.

The illustrations are wonderful, full of energy and radiating emotion. The story opens with a spread of shoes: “Big shoes… all I want is big shoes.” Clearly the little boy aspires to fill his papa’s big shoes. Noah imagines many ways in which he can walk in shoes.

At day’s end nestled under his bed covers, Noah peers at the moon, thinking big thoughts “Asking why…” Perhaps he trying to figure out how to make room for his new baby sister. The story concludes with a spread featuring the boy standing beside his father who is seated at an easel. Obviously, dad is an artist, Behind them on the wall are several of the illustrations that appeared throughout the story. This is a delightful surprise which explains the various “styles” of art that grace the pages. Daddy Calls Me Man evokes a warm and tender mood that captures the blessing of family.

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AQ* Lens: This story pictures an African-American family that is happy and successful. It is not an “issues” book. It’s simply about joyful moments in the ordinary parts of a family’s days. The dad is an artist–a novel choice of occupation to be included in a children’s story. One of the things I like best about this book is that it shows a family being happy, being ordinary. This is an important message to children of color. All too often the stories focus exclusively on the struggle, on poverty, on the urban experience. It is refreshing to see this family of color simply being family.–Gayle H. Swift, “ABC, Adoption & Me: A Multicultural Picture Book”

 

My Mountain Song.51zUwnNvFeL._SX416_BO1,204,203,200_In some families without a dad, granddad serves as the primary loving father figure, so I’ve included My Mountain Song in this post. This story captures a distinct, rural flavor as a child visits here grandparents’ farm. Brenda Gail is looking forward to her stay–no pesky little brother to trail her, no big one to boss her around. But life delivers surprises–in the form of her cousin Melvin–and spoils the little girl’s plans. He teases her. They fight and Brenda Gail ends up injuring her granny’s favorite chicken.

Guided gently by wise but firm grandparents, there’s a lovely life lesson tucked into the story about unexpected consequences following impulsive choices. In the end the two children make peace. They come to understand the importance of becoming one’s best and true self, of learning to sing one’s “mountain song.”

AQ* Lenmagnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300In addition to the obvious affection that the grandparents have for their grandchildren, they also have standards and traditions which they cherish. This offers an easy digression to the diverse traditions of both of a child’s families–birth and adopted.

The plot point about impulsive behavior, unintended consequences and making amends can resonate with kids who have difficulty with impulsivity.


Diverse Children’s Books is a new book-sharing meme designed to promote the reading and writing of children’s books that feature diverse characters. This community embraces all kinds of diversity including (and certainly not limited to) diverse, inclusive, multicultural, and global books for children of all backgrounds.

We encourage everyone who shares to support this blogging community by visiting and leaving comments for at least three others. Please also consider following the hosts on at least one of their social media outlets. Spread the word using #diversekidlit and/or adding our button to your site and your diverse posts.

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We hope this community will grow into a great resource for parents, teachers, librarians, publishers, and authors! Our next linkup will be Saturday, June 18th and on the first and third Saturdays of each month.

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

The most clicked post from our previous #diversekidlit is The Importance of Author’s Notes in Some Picture Books by Charnaie of Here Wee Read. Her post is a reflection of a recent conversation she got into with other book bloggers about the recent released Thunder Boy, Jr. by Sherman Alexie and illustrated Yuyi Morales. The questions raised by Charnaie and others serve to underscore the importance of author’s notes in helping readers to understand or even interpret a story.

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Jack & Emma’s Adoption Journey

Jack & Emma's Adoptee JourneySince November is National Adoption Month, I wanted to highlight a book that speaks about adoption through the adoptee’s personal lens. Jack & Emma’s Adoption Journey does just that. It is a short yet powerful book. Written by Pam Kroskie, an adult adoptee, the story focuses on the thoughts and feelings of Jack and Emma. The text on each page is accompanied by an author’s note addressed to the adoptive parent. This side bar clarifies the moment/issue for the parent and shines light on Jack and Emma’s action or thought being depicted on the page.


magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300 (1)Although this book is brief, it touches on some important adoptee issues, e.g., identity questions, yearning to fit in, anxiety, fear of rejection, wondering about birth parents, ambivalent feelings about birthdays, self blame, anger  and longing to understand biological ancestry. All of these thoughts are common to adoptees. Mentioning them in the story, helps to normalize their thought processes and opens the door to important family conversations in which parents can listen, validate and support their child’s feelings and concerns. Jack and Emma’s Adoptee Journey would be an excellent addition to the family adoption library.

When parents share such conversations, they reassure their children that their love is unconditional and does not require kids to choose between their two families. It affirms that each is an integral and treasured part of the child, and by extension to the entire family.

Pam KroskiePam Kroskie served as the past President of the American Adoption Congress, is a Congressional Angel in Adoption Award Winner, the current president of H.E.A.R. (Hoosiers for Equal Access to Records,) and for many years has raised her voice on behalf of adoptees. She hosts AAC Adoption News and Views on Blog Talk Radio.

The Adoption Summit Experience 2015: Come Climb With Us, An On-line Summit

This post is reprinted from the blog which I wrote for the Long Island Adoption Support Group last week.

Adoption Summit

As an adoptive parent, I know what it is like to feel challenged by the unique and complicated demands of life as an adoptive family. As an adoption coach, I know how other families struggle to locate resources that understand adoption and are attuned to the needs of child and parents–both adoptive and birth parents. Living as an adoptive family has often felt like a trek up the steep slopes of Mt. Everest. I suspect other adoptive families experience similar moments of overwhelm and confusion.

Imagine finding and talking with a knowledgeable guide who’s also walked that path and survived. Imagine feeling heard, understood and supported, with empathy not judgment. Imagine being able to know what will best serve your child, yourself, your partner, and, your child’s birth parents. How might that kind of unified resource help your family? Imagine no more.

On Nov. 10-12, 2015 and Nov. 17, 2015 a collaboration of adult adoptees, birth parents, adoptive parents and adoption professional join together to present “The Adoption Summit Experience.” This free, on-line summit is unique as the three individual perspectives join forces to become one voice—a voice that speaks with respect and compassion for all individuals involved in an option.

 

Our goal is to create an opportunity for anyone, anywhere who is interested in adoption to lean in and listen to conversations from different perspectives,” says Parsons, creator of the event. “Every presenter volunteers their time and energy to make adoption better in some way. These are people who have transformed their relinquishment and adoption challenges into action for positive change. This event is a first of its kind.”

—LeAnne Parsons

adoption both and.6 Summit presenters will address adoption from all “sides” and will share the insights and learnings that we have acquired along the way.  We want to take our hard-won wisdom and infuse it with purpose to create a more collaborative and mutually supportive understanding of adoption. All presenters are directly living adoption either as first parents, adoptees or adoptive parents.

As listeners hear the “other” viewpoints, we hope to awaken empathy and understanding of how we are inextricably and permanently interconnected. Instead of compartmentalizing adoption into adoptee issues, birth parent issues and adoptive parent issues, we accept this interconnectivity as the reality of adoption. By understanding the needs of each part of the adoption triad, we can work together to make adoption better for all involved.

Are you in an open adoption, trying to determine how to make it work? Do you wish you knew how to enjoy and balance your happiness against a backdrop of the grief and loss of your child’s birth parents? Do you wonder how to handle your own triggers? Do you ever wish you could chat with several birth mothers to ask them questions to help you relate better with “your” birth mother/s? Then this summit is for you!

Are you struggling to handle the challenges of adoption and yearn to speak with parents who have “survived” similar events and whose family remained firmly attached and thrived? Do you wish you knew alternative parenting strategies—ones tested by other adoptive families? Then this summit is for you!

L is for LoveAre you looking for guidance on good resources? How do you evaluate which therapists, coaches, social workers, etc. understand adoption and are properly prepared to guide you? Do you know which books truly serve your family and which perpetuate outdated social myths? Then this summit is for you!

Imagine learning from adult adoptees what worked, didn’t work or what they wished their parents had done for them. How might that knowledge help you be a better parent to your child?

Have you ever wished you could talk honestly about your family struggles with no fear of judgment? Imagine confiding in peers who understand the joy, frustration, fear and commitment that adoptees face? Then this summit is for you

Watch this welcome video from Adoption Summit sponsor and adult adoptee, LeAnne Parsons as she invites you to “Come Climb with Us” at the free, on-line adoption summit. All who are interested in adoption are welcome and urged to participate. Register today: http://www.adoptionsummitexperience.com/register

 

Your Family’s Adoption Library.v8.10.07.2015Gayle’s presentation at the summit will focus on books as an ideal resource for introducing and sustaining healthy adoption conversations both within and beyond the family. It will include three bibliographies: one for children, one for parents and one of books written by adult adoptees.

Gayle is a co-founder of GIFT Family Services which provides adoption support before, during and after adoption, an adoption coach, adoptive parent, former foster parent and co-author of the multi-award-winning, “ABC, Adoption & Me: A Multicultural Picture Book.” She blogs regularly at “Growing Intentional Families together” She also writes an Adoption-attuned blog titled, “Writing to Connect” which reviews books through a High AQ lens. While some are specifically about adoption, most are not. She strives to help parents notice teachable moments in whatever books they share with their children.

http://www.adoptionsummitexperience.com/register

Watch this welcome video from Adoption Summit sponsor and adult adoptee, LeAnne Parsons as she invites you to “Come Climb with Us” at the free, on-line adoption summit. All who are interested in adoption are welcome and urged to participate.

What Makes a Family? Connection and Difference in Adoption

who's in my family

Children will be delighted as they search to find themselves reflected in Who’s in My Family? by Robbie H. Harris and illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott. The spirited illustrations include families of every stripe, color and arrangement. Even the locales, cuisine and activities are diverse, accepting and positive.  The simple story line follows a brother and sister through a day at the zoo. While there, they observe a variety of families—human and animal.

The tone of the story is upbeat and accepting and emphasizes that, regardless of the specific people who make up a family, it is created through caring and love. Readers will enjoy spending  time studying the illustrations and hunting for details–both those that reflect themselves as well as those that highlight differences. This exploration lends itself to conversations about what makes a family and how differences enhance our lives.

AQ Lens: The most obvious benefit that Who’s in My Family? offers is the normalizing of differences. Each grouping is accepted and respected. Love is accepted as the definitive requirement to be a family. Young adoptees will be reassured to see that adoption is not the only way that families can be different.
heather has two mommies Heather Has Two Mommies  by Lesléa Newman is a twenty-fifth anniversary reissue and re-visioning of the groundbreaking story of a family with two moms. Both the text and the illustrations have been updated to reflect current understanding of adoption.  The subtle watercolor illustrations by Laura Cornell set a warm mood for the upbeat text. While Heather’s family–and her two moms is a central part of the story, the nucleus of the story is about the wide range of families that are reflected among Heather’s classmates. By establishing this tone, the uniqueness of Heather’s family does not seem startling. Instead it exists as one of many family constellations. Heather’s classmates also include many ethnicities so it is another nod to inclusion.

AQ Lens: This  book offers a chance to discuss the idea of how families can look  very different but still be a family. By having books like this on a child’s shelf, they can freely select it whenever they feel the need to explore this theme; thus the child doesn’t have to wait for adults to raise the topic first. The mere inclusion of such a book sends a clear message that it is a permissible topic. This is important for all adoptive families, even those who are more normative because all adoptive families are “different” by virtue of the fact that they grew through adoption. We have a fundamental vested interest in tolerance and acceptance.

 

 

We go togetherWe Go Together  by Todd Dunn and illustrated by Miki Sakamoto provides a delightful collection of “pairs” in a child’s life. Think: “socks and shoes, “ice cream and cone,” and “dog and bone.” Some obvious pairs are absent, like peanut butter and jelly,  so readers will have fun brainstorming their own pairs. I included this charming book based upon it’s final lines: “We go together because you love me and I love you.” Love, after all, is what links a family together.

AQ Lens: Take the opportunity to discover links of commonality beyond the obvious one of appearances. Just as adoptive family members don’t necessarily look similar, other commonalities do exist. We just have to deepen our noticing skills to help us identify them. Equally important, we must convey to our children that the way we are different is also validated and appreciated.

The Power of One …

One by Otoshi borderSo often, kids (and adults) think, “I’m only one person. What difference can I make?” The power of one is deceptive. One quiet voice, one brave stance, one impassioned believer can shift the moment, the life, the course of history. Perhaps the situation is reversed for them and they are the child who needs that one friend,  that dependable adult, that supportive teacher.

How can we as parents/teachers/adults encourage this belief in the individual’s power to take a stand and help grow children willing to be “The Difference.” make a difference?

One tool resides in the brilliant book, “One” by Katherine Otoshi. In fewer than 500 words, Otoshi captures her powerful message: “It just takes one to make everyone count.”

I enjoy the play on words. In addition to the obvious meaning, that a person can “count” (be a meaningful influence,) this book also operates as a simple counting exercise. When the colors join together, one plus one becomes two, etc. The reader feels the effect of teamwork, the isolation and loneliness of facing a larger, scarier individual.

Otoshi’s bright, spare illustrations enhance her message in a succinct and easy to absorb package. This book is the perfect anti-bullying book for young children. (In fact, anyone who reads “One” will resonate with its important theme.”

“One” has received many awards (all of them merited!):

  • E.B.White Read Aloud Honor Book
  • Teacher’s Choice Award
  • Young Voices Foundation Award
  • Moonbeam Children’s Book Medalist
  • Mo’s Choice Award
  • Nautilus Gold Winner
  • IPPY Book Award
  • Hicklembee’s Book of the Year\NCIBA Best Illustrated Award
  • Reader Views Best Children’s Book
  • Flicker Tale Award

AQ* Spin:Many adopted children experience a sense of being different, of feeling like the odd one out. (Author, adopted mom, Carrie M. Goldman calls this as feeling “othered,” a complex emotion that parents need to acknowledge and assist kids in processing. Parents enjoy highlighting the similarities between themselves and their adopted children.

It is equally important that parents acknowledge the ways in which our children are different from us as well. Work to help them see their differences as enriching the family. Do encourage them to express any feelings of “otherness” without trying to minimize these feelings. Their honesty leaves them vulnerable and it invites you in to their real perception of their life experiences. By listening to all of their children’s emotions about adoption, parents become a safe harbor when they can find safety and security.

“One” offers an easy segue into conversations about their being adopted and how their friends and classmates respond to that knowledge. This is another area where parents will want to be available to hear their child’s whole story–“the good, the bad and the ugly.” Avoid the temptation to minimize; this will invalidate their expereinces and feelings. That’s not the message you want to share. We don’t want to push them into expressing only the happy thoughts and feelings about being adopted. .

I rate “One” a  starstarstarstarstar

Decoding the Puzzle: Social Interaction, Personal Space and Appropriate Conversations

Social cues puzzleMastering the subtle, non-verbal social cues is a daunting task. For kids with a less than smooth start in life, often this skill is poorly developed or is overwhelmed by hyper-vigilance. Unless children are taught how to read the “secret” messages of body language, some kids will never learn it. This will leave them confused and often can lead to social isolation.
When they don’t speak the language of behavioral cues children remain on the outside of the emotional/social conversation. The subtle hints other kids give may quickly become far less kind and patient and become mean and lead to bullying. A growing gap will arise.

Without adequate social skills, a child will struggle to mirror the emotional states of others and may respond inappropriately to the overtures of other children and adults. Instead of feeling “mirrored” they may misinterpret other people’s responses and feel mocked and unsupported. Even worse, they may feel threatened which might trigger a complete meltdown, and/or a flight/flight/freeze response. How can you assist your child in mastering the complex task of emotional literacy and the language of social cues?

 

Personal Space CampOne excellent resource is a marvelous book by Julia Cook titled, “Personal Space Camp.” With a deft sense of humor and zany illustrations by Carrie Hartman, this book tackles the complicated concept of personal space. Louis, the confused main character loves the world of outer space. But when it comes to personal boundaries, Louis is clueless. His frustrated teacher arranges for him to attend “Personal Space Camp.” This thrills Louis. He is surprised to learn that he will not be an astronaut exploring.

Louis is, however, entering unexplored territory: the world of personal space boundaries. “Personal Space Camp” is entertaining and informative without being preachy. It conveys important information that will assist kids that lack an understanding of social cues.

 

I Can't BelieveJulia Cook has written several other books that delve into the confusing world of social cues and interaction. One that is also quite helpful is, “I Can’t Believe You Said That.” (Illustrated by Kelsey De Weerd, it features multicultural characters.) The story helps kids discern the difference between saying something true:  ”You are fat,” versus something that is appropriate: “You are a good cook.”

Photo © Ilike – Fotolia.com

I wrote this article for Growing Intentional Families Together (GIFTfamilyservice.com ) and have modified it slightly for this blog.

Helping Kids Size Themselves Up

you are not small

To a child, size matters. Much emphasis is placed on being “big.” How often have you heard a child boast, “I not a baby! I a big girl (or boy)!” Children love to place their hands and feet beside a parent’s limbs and assert that they are almost as big as Mom or Dad. What I love about  You Are (Not)Small  by Anna Kang is that it taps into this touch point of childhood. With delightful illustrations by Christopher Weyant, it deftly and humorously, highlights that size is relative. The story follows a conversation between an ostensibly small character with a visibly larger one. The tiny one resists the label that the large character applies to him. The little one responds by turning the statement around: “I am not small. You are big.”

Which is true? Like so much in life, neither is absolutely true; each is relatively true. Compared to one creature, the main character is tiny. But, compared with a different one, he is huge. Thus, both statements are true. He is both little and big!

This is an important lesson for children to learn: comparisons depend on the metric being used. Like statistics, they can tell a different story depending on what is emphasized and what is ignored. They do not change; only the measuring scale differs. Labels can hide as much as they highlight and divide as much as unite.

This story can be used to help children see how comparisons can lead to feelings about themselves that are based on illusion. Parents can discuss what things about a child are consistently true. The story opens conversation about bullying as well. As a writer who focuses on adoption issues, I know adopted children are often told that their families or parents are not real. This book provides an easy way to address that question. Just as the characters are both big and small, families can be both adopted and real, just like birth families! Enjoy this book for its story, sense of humor and colorful illustrations. This is a book children will want to read again and again.

 

 

12 Benefits of an Adoption Lifebook

Portrait of pretty mixed race girl playing super heroLast week we discussed how books can be a useful tool for the adoptive family. This week I’d like to examine a particular kind of book that many of you may be unfamiliar with: the lifebook.

This is a unique and completely personal book that tells the story of your child’s life from the beginning. It includes the details from his birth and information about events before he was born.

Beth O’Malley, M.Ed, an adoptee, adoptive parent and adoption social worker,  wrote “Lifebooks: Creating a treasure for Your Adoptive Child,” one of the best “how to” books on creating lifebooks. Their value to an adopted child can be huge. Taking the time to gather, save and record information, memorabilia, and photographs of the important people, places and events of a child’s life clearly conveys a vital message: his life story is valuable, worth remembering and worth retelling. A lifebook says, “Your story begins before adoption and because we love you, we value the history of your life from the beginning. We do not expect or require you to wipe the slate clean in order to embrace our joint life.”

Without these life-details, adopted kids report feeling rootless, at sea, hatched or alien. When parents capture the information and save it, they provide an affirmation and a tool that helps a child piece together their identity. Even in situations where almost no information exists, it is still possible and worthwhile to create a functional lifebook. Beth provides templates that will guide you through the process. She advises making it a family project. Here are some of the top reasons why your child deserves a lifebook.

1. Ground child in her history & beginnings Like all human beings, every adoptee was born, has a birth mother and birth father. Some adoptees were adopted at birth while others experienced lengthy intervals. Regardless of the amount of intervening time, every experience she faced and every person that walked through her life is an important element in her history.

2. Testimony to her history Beth O’Malley states that a lifebook“ honors every minute of … children’s lives.” It affirms their existence and allows parent and child to imagine being there together, celebrating her birth. It acknowledges the events that occurred in the child’s life and helps a child see what they faced, experienced and in some cases “survived.”

3. Physical tool A book is a neutral tool that allows a child to initiate adoption conversations. It gives her something tangible to frame her story and provides structure to her narrative.

4. Creates a normalizing effect Lifebooks document her life journey and identify ways in which she is just like other kids.

5. Provides Constancy and security The lifebook creates a permanent repository of children’s lives. Therapists and parents report that kids refer to it throughout their lives—even into adulthood.

6. Affirms the importance of her life from birth onward Asserts that her story deserves recording, repeating and revisiting. Intuitively, a child knows it takes time and effort to create a lifebook. At some level, a child infers that this means “she is  worth it.”

7. Addresses difficult experiences Affirms the child’s survival of any difficult (sometimes horrific) circumstances and reiterates that the child is blameless for the events that led to his adoption. This helps a child to see himself as the hero of his own life.

8. Eliminates the temptation to “protect” a child from the tough facts of her life Information should always be shared in age-appropriate ways; tough stuff should not be withheld from a child. Secrecy generates shame and eventually secrets come to life. This revelation inevitably damages the trust relationship“Unfortunately such well-meaning avoidance … leaves the child alone with his fantasies … and these are often more frightening, self-blaming and damaging than the actual facts.” Instead of hiding information, lifebooks allow parents (sometimes with the partnership of a therapist of social worker) to share it while being supported in the family.

9. Opens adoption conversations between child and parent Lifebooks provide a concrete place to start a conversation. A child can choose to read from the part of the book that connects with his current need.

10. Establishes a truth base which builds trust. Neither child nor parent has to put on a mask and pretend that adoption is loss and pain free or that certain events did not occur. This builds the family relationship on truth and encourages genuine connection.

11. Tracks the facts of her history and validates the emotions connected with them Lifebooks operate as a neutral container of the child’s life story line.

12. Builds foundation for attachment When you value my history, recognize my journey through difficulty and show I’m a survivor, it establishes that parents are strong enough to know the my story, accept it and love me–the real child who lived that story.