I have to say that putting together Zoe's lifebook was one of the hardest writing projects/scrapbooks I've ever done -- the adoptive moms I scrapbooked with can attest to the fact that I was a grouchy witch the whole time I was working on it! It was hard because it really was my process of trying to explain as best I could in language Zoe as a child could understand all about her birth parents, the one child policy, her abandonment, orphanage care -- all the hard stuff!
Beth O'Malley's book and website were hugely helpful, as was Kids Like Me in China. The Beth O'Malley stuff has step-by-step advice for what to include in a lifebook, including sample language -- a great comfort! Kids Like Me in China, by Ying Ying Fry, a young adoptee, had great kid-appropriate language.
The page above starts out stating the obvious -- you were born. O'Malley advocates very direct language, and covering the basics. Don't leave it to chance that the child will figure out that her life began before she met her adoptive parents, tell her directly that she's just like other kids in that she was born! The page also talks a little about how babies are made -- but just the "it takes a man and a woman" part. I also say that Zoe grew in a special place inside her birth mother. And the birth father is introduced, too,
O'Malley cautions against using generic photos if you don't have any actual photos of the birth parents. Even life-like drawings of generic people can confuse kids -- the photos will get imprinted in their brains as "pictures of my birth parents" even if you say they're not. So that's why I used silhouettes.
Of course, you don't have to do any scrapbooky stuff in a lifebook, but I tried to put something graphic on each page just to keep Zoe's attention.
The next page reminds Zoe that we don't have any specific information about her birth parents, but that they gave Zoe her birthday, her looks and her talents. I embellished the page with little mirrors (that's what those six circles are), and Zoe likes to look into them when we get to this page and imagine what her birth parents might look like.
So there you go, the first installment of "Lifebooks: the Series!" If you have any specific questions or if there are particular parts you're interested in seeing, just let me know.