A service of Bethany Christian Services in partnership with the Michigan Department of Human Services.

Life Books for Older Children


My kids were little when my husband and I adopted them — so little that they don’t remember details about their lives prior to adoption, such as who they were with or how they were treated.

It’s different for children adopted at an older age. These kids remember their story, a story that is often confusing, painful and sad. They can tell us about the significant people, places and events from their past. “Kids want to tell their story — it’s therapeutic,” says Stacey Goodson, an adoption specialist at Bethany Christian Services in Grand Rapids, Mich.

But for some children, knowing where to begin can be daunting. Giving your child a framework for discussing the past can be a great way to encourage him or her to open up. A “life book” is a storybook that explains and honors the life of an adoptee prior to being adopted. It incorporates elements from photo albums, scrapbooks and journals — providing structure to your discussions about the people and events from your child’s past.

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