This week I have started making a lifebook with S. This is a different experience. We are on our own with his memories and my computer. I have put out a request to all of the professionals involved with him. Asking for stories about him and especially for photos. I haven't received any replies yet but I'm hopeful that some of them will be able to contribute to his lifebook. Yesterday was fun. S was born in Puerto Rico and we spent some time in virtual exploration of the area where he was born and printed off photos of two hospitals where he may have been born. He liked seeing the national bird and fun facts about Puerto Rico. He made four or five pages of this information and couldn't wait to share it with all his sisters and his dad. He was very proud. It felt good that he was learning all this information for the first time and that it made him so happy. Today we added a copy of his original birth certificate. After his adoption is finalized this birth certificate will become null and void and a new birth certificate listing Michael and I as his parents will replace it. In addition to the birth certificate, today I gave him photos of his birth mom. That was a big surprise to him. He is quietly working on these pages now. Because he was so excited to share the pages he made yesterday, I told him he doesn't need to share anything further unless he wants to. I wanted him to feel free to write whatever he wanted on these pages with photos of his birth mom. We will also start taking his lifebook to his weekly therapy appointments so he can show it to his therapist and hopefully create an atmosphere for open conversation about things in his book.
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So he finished today's pages. I won't lie, there were tears. He misses his birth mom and he worries about her. We had a little chat about her and I told him again how it is okay to talk with us about her anytime he wants to. We try to encourage him to tell us stories, happy, sad, scary, whatever. We just want him to feel free to talk about his life with her. Most of his memories are scattered. I asked him when he last saw his birth mom and he said he didn't know, but he thought it was before he went to his last foster home. I'm thinking he still had supervised visitation with birth mom up until February of this year. I'm not sure if either of us is right but hopefully someone can shed some light on his visits with her. Tomorrow I hope to get him to write a memory page - just one very short story about when he lived with his birth mom. There's not much he detests more than writing so I'm going to offer up my computer for him to type a memory of his birth mom.
If you have adopted or you are thinking about it - here is a very basic introduction to lifebooks. Because of his age S will have much more to contribute to his lifebook if he chooses to. I hope he will have pages for each of his foster home placements, and a few mementos like this sweet little note his teacher wrote to him at the end of the school year.