An adopted child’s story does not end with placement. It is a lifelong journey filled with ups and downs, big steps, and a lot of special moments. Documenting important moments are special for every child, but with adopted children, the story starts sooner. The journey starts before the child is even aware. For adopted children, it’s important that they learn where they came from and how their adoption journey started. Here are three ways to help your child understand his personal adoption story.
Create an Adoption Storybook
There are great children’s books out there that serve as awesome resources about adoption for your child. However, you and your child can work together to create a story specifically for him or her. Include your child’s birth family as characters, talk about where your child is from and how he came to be placed for adoption, and chronicle the story of how he came to be your child- from the hospital stay to bringing him home. Your child can illustrate and you write, using simple, story-like language that your child can understand. Maybe your child’s favorite bedtime story will be his own.
Make a Scrapbook
An adopted child’s scrapbook should start when a child is in her birth mom’s belly and continue through childhood and young adulthood, chronicling major moments and fun memories. Unlike the storybook, the scrapbook serves as a photo album that you can continue to add to for years. And you can include more than just photos- add first-place ribbons, birthday cards, drawings, and even fabric from a childhood blanket or clothes. While your child will appreciate the storybook as an adult, a scrapbook will allow your child to look back and cherish specific memories and times in his life. Show your child how full of love and happiness his life is and has been.
Hold On to Keepsakes and Mementos
With adopted children, it can be helpful to have mementos from specific times in their adoption journeys. Something as small as a baby blanket or stuffed animal from the birth family will remind your child that her birth family is a part of her. When it comes to growing up, collect trinkets and souvenirs from the places you visit and see, giving your child memories of the time you spend together as a family.
Doing these activities with your adopted child will help you build a bond, communicate, and foster a healthy, happy relationship. And in the future, your child will thank you for creating these cherished memories he or she has to look back on.