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Life Story Book

(16 Posts)
ConfusedInBath Tue 23-Jun-15 13:39:56

We've recently become permanent guardians of our 3 year old GS. He's not lived with his BM for about 16 months, he was with a FC during the time in between coming to us.

He's obviously confused to why he's not with his FC now. We are trying to explain that he lives with us and this is his new home etc and I've been advised about the Life Story Book.

I've been in touch with his SW and she tells me there isn't one and its best to do one ourselves.

Can anyone tell me the best way to go about it please?

Do you start at the present day? What do you finish on?
I've got photo's from the minute he was born through to now which is good. I'm just looking for someone who has done one themselves, for any tips or hints.

Thanks.

Penfold007 Tue 23-Jun-15 14:23:49

What a lovely idea. I'd just tell his story and put as many photos and mementoes in as you can. Concentrate on the positives such as the wonderful FC family who looked after him until he could come to his forever family.

fasparent Tue 23-Jun-15 14:40:00

Would ask SW too provide history and too contact FC's too help with photos, and life story work , they should have kept a daily record diary of his life with them , (a statutory requirement) together with all health and medical record's, appointments etc.
They belong too you, We do this for all our baby's and children no matter what the outcome., is complete with a photo diary and a PowerPoint presentation. We now pass all this on too the next placement be it long-term carer's , BM, Family, or Adoptive parents direct. Used too hand over too SW but stopped doing this year's ago., for best reasons.

ConfusedInBath Tue 23-Jun-15 14:45:31

Thank you both.

SW is coming tomorrow to see how we are so I will ask her about it.

Tbh I know everything that needs to go in it and the FC has given me a memory box that she's done for him plus a huge amount of photo's, I was just a bit worried about the best way of laying it out.
Thanks again.

iwishkidslikedtomatoes Tue 23-Jun-15 15:01:30

I'm in a rush, sorry, but this is order of ours. We have adopted our children. I'll be around later tonight if you have any questions and no one can answer you before then, as below is literally a list of what is on each double page spread:

all about child X's family (us!) family photo of us all together

close relatives of adopted family but outside the home

photos as a baby of child and birth certificate

birth siblings

birth family trees for both parents sides

bit about why removed -the wall and the bricks removed for why they couldn't stay

foster family

contact with birth family during foster care

what a social worker is and what a judge is and why they made the decision they did

coming to us (all happy positive statements)

pics with us with what we like to do together

celebration hearing

The 'why removed' and 'judge/sw' bit, if you decide to add, I'd definitely get some advice on wording. Ours is very age appropriate.

ConfusedInBath Tue 23-Jun-15 15:05:58

I'm in a rush too but thank you so much! Will read properly later smile

Mondsey Tue 23-Jun-15 16:52:06

Joy Rees' 'life story books for adopted children' will give you step-by-step guidance on format and content. I personally did not like what our SW gave us for our daughter and so started one from scratch a la Joy Rees.

ConfusedInBath Tue 23-Jun-15 17:10:30

Brilliant will look at that too.

JamHoneyMarmite Tue 23-Jun-15 17:19:43

Another vote for Joy Rees here - you can see examples on her website, but I really like that she structures it "present, past, present, future" and keeps it very focused on the child.

iwishkidslikedtomatoes Wed 24-Jun-15 08:23:24

Didn't have time to come back to it last night but did miss out that birth family tree bit also had pictures and a few bits about BPs - what they liked to do and with BM, cravings etc. during pregnancy. Foster carer bit focused on just things they all did together and what a foster carer's role is. There's not too much writing, each page is mainly photos.

I've never read the book mentioned but obviously never had any need to as we were very happy with our books and they've worked well with our AC, even at a very young age. However, it seems to come highly recommended! smile Ours seem to follow same pattern of present, past, present and we can add to it, so I suppose future follows smile

While the photos really help, the best bit for us in terms of explaining is the visual of the brick wall with the specific blocks removed that their BP's were not providing and the picture of the wall falling down. They got that more than any other explanation we have given.

Hope some of that helped smile But sounds like that book is a good one to read! smile

Kewcumber Wed 24-Jun-15 11:17:22

Joy Rees thirded here...

DS hated anything which started in the past with him being a different person (in his mind) it just confused him and alarmed him with it strated with him living somewhere else.

We always did the Now, then, now, future Joy Rees style. Obviously different things work for different children.

At three I would make it VERy simple though lot of photos of his current room, you, his freinds etc - anchor him in the present. Then foster carers, and birth parents then back to today and emphasise the permanence of today.

Good luck

ConfusedInBath Wed 24-Jun-15 11:20:40

Wonderful advice.
Yes that's what we are going to do.

Regarding the future what did you all do/put for that part?

fasparent Wed 24-Jun-15 12:55:01

Found making photo books useful, can make several chapters can introduce when appropriate at different stages, also useful for other things
reminders of holidays , birthdays, etc.
just Google Photo books, some can be made pretty well indestructible. Great for disabled children, Records, trip too the Zoo, best memory's, is endless.

UnderTheNameOfSanders Wed 24-Jun-15 20:59:18

My younger DD as 2 life story books.

She has an A4 file containing 60+ pages with lots of details and a few photos. This is pitched at about age 8-12. This was created by the SW with some feedback from us. It is so long as it contains lots of info regarding life before she was born as she was adopted with her sister. It is very comprehensive.

However, we also made her a LSB for when she was 3. We used a scrapbook album with pockets to insert pages. It contains 10-15 pages almost all with 1 photo and 1 or 2 simple sentences. There is one double page with no pictures and a paragraph on each, this is the page that explains why she had to be in care.
We started with who she is/was 'now' (ie age 3), with our surname.
Then but when you were born you were ....
Pictures of BM and BD
Why went into care
foster carers
SW finding a forever family
Ending back with pictures of us all

She still prefers the simple book to the full one (age 10 now).

JamHoneyMarmite Wed 24-Jun-15 21:31:05

For "future" it can be as simple as outings you've got planned, or that you're sure they will soon be able to run faster than you at the park, or that you're sure your lives together as a family will hold lots of love and cuddles (I am slanting this a three year old, clearly!)

Velvet1973 Wed 24-Jun-15 21:38:30

Thank you for the recommendations on Joy Rees, we've just received the draft of our lo's life story work and it's disgusting! If they spent 10 minutes on it I would be completely amazed unless that included a tea break! It's absolutely appalling the lack of care that's gone into it for something so important. Shameful!
I shall be looking up Joy Rees and doing something ourselves with the care and attention it deserves.

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