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A Birthparent’s Book of Memories

by Brenda Romanchik; 62 pp. R-Squared Press. $19.95 Adoption Lifebooks With So Many How-To’s, How Do You Choose? 

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Adoptive parents hold in their hearts precious bits of information about the earliest days, months or years of their children’s lives before joining their families. We understand this information to be invaluable to our children, yet often wonder how to organize and share it with them. A child’s life book documents—in a sensitive and developmentally appropriate manner that emphasizes the child’s resilience—all that is known of his or her life before adoptive parents came into the picture. Equipped with this truth, our children are better positioned to claim their beginnings and move forward on their paths to self-understanding.

A Birthparent’s Book of Memories focuses on the child’s background and beginnings.  Brenda Romanchik provides thoughtful fill-in pages that birthparents can use to give background information to children with whom they share open-adoption relationships. Children benefit from understanding more about themselves, and birthparents may experience greater peace of mind knowing that they have shared their wishes and thoughts. Romanchik’s book could also benefit families who do not have ongoing contact with birthparents. As with lifebooks, such information can be invaluable to a child’s self-understanding and should be presented at the discretion of the adoptive parents. Overall, this book fills a special niche in the field.

The stories of our children’s beginnings deserve special treatment in a separate book dedicated to conveying strong, positive messages about their lives before adoption. Therefore, my own belief is that it is best to avoid juxtaposing the child’s beginnings with, for example, names of elementary school teachers or favorite birthday gifts, and thus trivializing sensitive early information.

I encourage parents to share with their children the stories of their beginnings. For more information about lifebooks, contact other adoptive parents, workshops sponsored by parent support groups and some adoption agencies.

By Cindy Probst, an adoption social worker, adoptive mom, and leader of lifebook workshops for the FCC-New England lifebook project.

Copyright © 2001 Adoptive Families magazine. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited

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