Lifebooks are tools that can be useful in working with children in out-of-home care and children who have been adopted to record memories and life events that occurred prior to placement as well as when the children were in placement. Lifebooks can help children retain connections to people who have been important in their lives and may help the children integrate past experiences with their present circumstances in a healthy, constructive manner. The resources in this section provide tips for creating lifebooks.
Resources and tips for creating lifebooks
Before You Were Mine: Discovering Your Adopted Child's Lifestory
TeBos & Woodwyk (2007)
Guides parents in developing a lifebook for their adopted child. Chapters suggest themes of imagination, truth, honor, and exploration and includes reflective questions and writing exercises.
The Child's Own Story: Life Story Work With Traumatized Children
Rose & Philpot (2005)
Describes strategies for conducting life story work and applying it to therapy for children affected by trauma. Techniques can be used by adoption and foster care workers, social workers, psychologists, foster parents, mental health professionals, and other people who work with children.
Here I Am! A Lifebook Kit for Use With Children With Developmental Disabilities
Schroen & Halleen
Outlines strategies and provides simple pictures to help developmentally disabled children understand why they do not live at home with their families. The kit may be used by social workers, therapists, residential and mental health staff, foster parents, and adoptive parents.
Kids and Lifebooks: Tips for Social Workers
Discusses using lifebooks as tools to help adopted and foster children work through difficult life transitions.
Lifebooks: A Lifebooks Course
Adoption Learning Partners
Explains the purpose of a lifebook and the need for parents to start or to continue to develop one. The course also identifies the components of a lifebook and the situations that may benefit from its use. The free course also helps parents develop pages of a child's lifebook.
Lifebooks for Children and Youth in Foster Care (PDF - 1679 KB)
Annie E. Casey Foundation (2011)
Presents selected resources to assist children in creating lifebooks, including books, websites, tools, and journal articles.
My Foster Care Journey
Describes the process of creating a lifebook for children in the foster care system. Instructions are designed to help CASAs and agency workers. Suggestions are provided about including children's activity preferences, things they like about themselves, characteristics of their birth and foster families, happy memories about home, and feelings about their lives.
Adoptive Families (2009)
Offers tips and resources for adoptive and foster families for making lifebooks, memory books, and digital and paper scrapbooks.
Iowa Foster and Adoptive Parents Association (IFAPA)
Helps create opportunities for talking about the circumstances of the foster care and/or adoptive placement. IFAPA created these pages to allow a child to choose the pages that fit his or her style. They are available for free downloads.
Life Books: A Creative and Fun Way to Express Yourself (PDF - 251 KB)
Adoption Resources of Wisconsin (2008)
Describes how to use lifebooks to document personal history and express individuality.
This is My Story (PDF - 497 KB)
Washington State Department of Social and Health Services
Links to a downloadable and printable sample lifebook that collects birth, medical, and family information to help a child make sense and feel good about his or her history.
For When I'm Famous: A Teen Foster/Adopt Lifebook
Elicits personal information and thoughts from teens in foster care. Adolescents are asked what they would like their next birthday party to be like, their favorite things to do, information about their birth, baby pictures, family facts about their birth parents and siblings, why they are in foster care, and where they have lived.