Sunday, August 7, 2011

His Story Didn't Begin With Us


"Joseph Michael Wenxin: This is your story. It is all about you, your life in China and how we became a family." - from the opening page of Wenxin's lifebook.

This summer I've been working on Wenxin's lifebook. It's a book with photos and text that tells what I know of the story of his life.

Wenxin's life didn't begin the day Mike and I met him in China.  While his lifebook will have lots of photos from our adoption trip to China, there's more.  I'm including pages about his birth parents, his life with his foster mom and his time in the orphanage. There's important information about his Chinese culture and the province where he was born.  My hope is that his lifebook will be a tool for us to use to help him process his unique history.

What a daunting task!  It's been made way easier with the help of Kristen from My Story Lifebooks.  I'm using the template I purchased from Kristen to make an 8X8 hardcover book on Shutterfly. The pages are all laid out and much of the text is written.  All I have to do is add photos and  tweak it to make a lifebook that is uniquely Wenxin's.

Kristen has pre-made pages that she can include for all China adoptions.  Things like a country map, a fun page about Chinese zodiac, and a page of things that came from China.  She's already thought through how to communicate sensitively about birth parents and China's one-child policy. 

I was impressed with the level of personal service Kristen provides.  She asked  if Wenxin had any special needs, and designed a couple of pages with sensitive prose explaining some medical issues he faced while still living in China.  I had not intended to include that info in Wenxin's book.  I just didn't know what to say. Kristen's suggestions were perfect.

It's coming right along.  If you need to make a lifebook for your adopted child, check out, My Story Lifebooks.  On the website you can see samples from templates for China, Korea, Vietnam and Guatemala.  And if you don't see what you're looking for, just contact Kristen.  She can make a template for any type adoption.

P.S. - I don't get a kick-back if you purchase a something from My Story Lifebooks.  I'm just so fired up about this I had to pass it along.


  1. Great tip. I have fallen woefully short on Lifebooks. What a treasure for Wenxin. Simply acknowledging life before adoption is incredibly important. It's funny that the children often assume that we don't want to talk about it.

  2. thanks for the tip - I am woefully behind on this for both girls.....

  3. Jennifer and Karen - Once you purchase a template from My Story Lifebooks - it's yours. She asks you not to pass it around to all your friends - but you can use it for multiple kids and just personalize it. At least I think that's right.

  4. My girls LOVE their life books (I just did an ordinary scrap book for each of them). They love having baby info like my birth kids do, though we don't have any baby pictures. They pore over those books. I wish they would say whats going through their minds. There is still information they are not ready to hear, I've written them letters about their birth mother and abandonment, just the facts.. but haven't included it yet. One day they'll want to know. Its so worth recording.


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