Miss Gioia

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Lifebook (version 1.0)

One of the things that social workers encourage you to do for your child is to create a lifebook, a book to help tell the story of her early life. Research has shown that is good to encourage open and honest communication about a child's adoption, about her story, even from a very young age. Little ones will spend quite a while just listening to you, but one day they will start to ask questions and have a real discussion about some pretty deep issues. It is our job as parents to help our kids learn about their story and to feel safe in asking all the questions they need to ask.

Adopted children have some pretty big holes in the story of their life. We cannot answer all questions, not even most questions. We only can try to tell her what is known. How much she was and is loved: by us, her parents, by the ayis at the social welfare institute who bathed her and fed her, by the person who placed her near the gate to be found instead of killing her.

I have been meaning to make Gioia's first lifebook for quite a while. This is hopefully the first of many, as she will need a deeper and richer story as she gets older. Perhaps one day she can help assemble her own lifebook.

For now, we started with the basics: a blank board book, some pictures from her time at the social welfare institute, and a simple narrative of her life from birth to the day she officially joined our family. A book to foster a conversation about who she is, where she came from and how much she was loved and cared for, by God and by man, even in the bleakest of times.

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