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Life story book and a advice on how to use it, please?

(10 Posts)
Italiangreyhound Tue 30-Dec-14 02:06:53

Hi all

Can anyone give me some advice on the life story book and advice on how to use it, please?

Our wonderful son got a wonderful life story book from his wonderful social worker. It really is nice and created with care.

We have not shown it to him yet as it arrived a short while before Christmas and we wanted to wait. It contains some photos which ds will either not have seen or not seen for a while and some information which will not be something he is concious of. So I really am not sure how to go into all this with him. He is 4. Of course as he cannot read yet we can just look at the pictures and not read the text to him yet. Which I think I will do.

The other thing I am not sure about is whether to include dd (10, our birth daughter) in looking at the book at some stage.

I have been very concious of the whole 'it's his story to tell or not tell' but of course dh and I are privy to the information about him. Giving him a choice in sharing the facts of his early life with his sister, dd, or not seems to be giving him too big a responsibility in a way. When dh and I are long gone dd will still be there and for her to really be there for him I think knowing about his early life would be helpful for him.

Maybe I can ask his permission, whether to show it/share it with her while he looks at, or not, but he is four - is he really able to make that decision at four anyway?

Italiangreyhound Tue 30-Dec-14 02:07:03

Thanks.

Buster510 Tue 30-Dec-14 04:16:09

DS (4 when placed) didn't have a life story book put together. But a memory box. The idea being that as a family we would build his life story book with him. Using snippets of his memory box from FC etc. So he created the front cover with his name on & decorated it, and chose which photo from the family he wanted to go on the main page.

Our SW put the "bones" of the pages together (early life photos etc) & then came back to work on it again with DS & me. We then stuck more photos in together & produced family trees, making the leaves & writing the names of who is who (a FC one too).

It was more of an ongoing explanation from day one really, & won't be finalised, with DSs input until the final adoption has been granted. The stage it is at the moment is early life, FC & lots of photos of him & us since being placed. Hopefully to be completed early next year!

So not sure if that helps at all really Italian!? Has he seen or have you discussed any of it with him so far? Could you expose him to the bits he is aware of possibly? Then use his reaction as a lead from there?

DS from day one wanted to look at & show us his memory box so luckily he was quite familiar with a lot of the pictures & detail in there.

AdventuringAbout Tue 30-Dec-14 17:50:52

There is a long time yet before you need to make the joint decision about sharing information with your birth DD, in my opinion. I would keep it as something that very much belongs to your DS, and when he is considerably older he can choose what to share with your DD. He may or may not feel it would be supportive for his sister to know things; he might want to be a private person.

Once something is told, it cannot be untold, and the age-appropriate info in the book for your DS is bound to prompt loads more questions if shared with your older DD. Also, with absolutely every respect for your DD, she is young and may not be able to keep the information as "family private", which could cause more problems later on.

Having said that, we've only seen the draft life story book for our LO so far, and I am apprehensive about how best to use it!

Italiangreyhound Tue 30-Dec-14 19:17:31

Thanks Buster and AdventuringAbout.

The issue of how much to share and when and who whom is such a big one! sad

excitedmamma Tue 30-Dec-14 22:47:25

Gosh Italian.... you're lucky to even have it..... ours is over 12 months overdue and if it ever comes Will probably be crap !!

stillwearingaredribbon Tue 30-Dec-14 22:53:57

We got a nice life story book
It was loose leaf and I have removed some pages for the future
I added pages to it from our introductions and I have carried on but now I use photo books and I have 1 for every year. Its more like a photo album of course now
Ours is freely available for dd to look at but we had a decent settling in period before I got it out
We did chat a lot about adoption. Not big serious talks just little drip drip chats
She has never gone through the book from cover to cover and she is 8 now. We just dip in and chat about the bits she wants to look at
Very much led by her. Sometimes I suggest getting the book out and she doesn't want to so that's fine
I would advisr not to make too much of a big deal about it

Italiangreyhound Wed 31-Dec-14 00:04:39

excitedmamma we are lucky our sons social worker was a gem. But ds had had a long line of social workers I think so he just got lucky that when the music stopped XX was holding the files!

Thanks ribbon good advice. How long after she arrived did you get it out first?

stillwearingaredribbon Wed 31-Dec-14 21:24:01

I would guess about 6 months. We put new pictures in together of introductions and stuff we did in the early days then ended the book with court pictures
We were at court 7 months after placement
Your LO is older though. She was only 15 months at placement
Could it be introduced in a very low key way, perhaps along with other photograph albums and let it develop

UnderTheNameOfSanders Wed 31-Dec-14 22:12:18

What age is the book pitched at?

Our DD's books were both pitched at 8+ (the age of DD1). They were very comprehensive 50+ pages with a lot of detail.

So for DD2 (age 3) I made an additional cut down book with some pictures and only very short text. Age 10 she still prefers the cut down book, but we have the longer one there for when she is ready for it.

Personally I would also share the basic facts with your DD in an age appropriate way, so she understands whether it was neglect, violence or whatever, but only if you know she won't share this with her friends, but not go into the fine details.

Definitely low key approach; maybe get book out when reading others, but be ready to put away if DS doesn't want to know.

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