It's Your Life!
Several companies now offer fill-in-the-blank lifebooks, but how do you know which one will be best for telling your child’s adoption tale? AF readers give us the inside story on four of the top picks.
Our Chosen Child
amazon.com /// Price: $18.95
Suitable for: Two-parent families, different-sex
“It’s a bound book, so you can’t add or subtract pages, but I did not find that to be a problem. I would have liked more room in the areas given to tell our story, however, and fewer lines where we only needed to fill in a date. My son is eight months old, so he didn’t really ‘help,’ but he enjoyed looking at the pictures and hearing me tell his story.”
—Cathy Jo North, mother of Samuel, adopted from the U.S.
This Is Me
adoptshoppe.com /// Price: $29.95 (domestic); $32.95
(international, customized by country)
Suitable for: One- or two-parent families, different- or same-sex
“I love journaling and hate scrapbooking, so I enjoyed answering the open-ended prompts. The plain cover, lack of interior art, and few spots for photos meant that my five-year-old son wasn’t too interested in it, though.”
—Skila Brown, mother of Gustavo, adopted from Guatemala
“My four-year-old son was very excited when he saw this book, and filling it out got us talking about some things that he hadn’t been as interested in before, like his adoption ceremony. It was nice to put all the information I have about my son’s pre-adoption life in a neat package—much better than folders stuffed with court papers and such.”
—Carol Vargas, mother of Jesse, adopted from the U.S.
I Am Chosen
iamchosenonline.com /// Price: $29.95 (bright colors or pastels available), +$6.95 (book extender)
Suitable for: One-parent or different-sex, two-parent families
“Many pages seem designed for international adopters (the ‘Anticipation’ page talks about ‘red tape and mix-ups’). The colors and design of both cover options were pretty and cheery. A little more insight into domestic adoption (or a domestic version of the book) would have been great.”
—Ann Hohenshell, mother of Emily, adopted from the U.S.
“I’m by no means finished and the one-inch binder rings are already too small. The pages came preprinted with ‘cutesy’ quotations, and I found myself covering up a lot of them with photos. Then again, photos are what really hold little ones’ interest. I had two little girls hanging over my shoulder the entire time I was compiling this journal. It prompted many ‘while I was in China’ thoughts. Now my seven-year-old biological son wants to know when I’m going to write his lifebook!”
—Anne Grab, mother of Helen LiQiao and Madeline WenNi, adopted from China
The Story of Me
adoptshoppe.com /// Price: $44.95 (book with adoption insert); +$24-$29 (fabric cover); +$10 (two-moms or two-dads insert)
Suitable for: One- or two-parent families, different- or same-sex (with insert)
“The book’s topics—with a concentration on ‘firsts’—correspond more to a traditional baby book than to a lifebook, which aims to tell a story. And many of the adoption-specific pages were limiting. For example, there was a page called ‘All about my birth mother,’ but no place for information about a birthfather.”
—Susan Harrington, mother of Sofia, adopted from Russia
“The interior of this book is really cute, but cutting pictures down to fit in the available spaces was time-consuming. The lack of photos meant that my three-year-old wasn’t very interested, but I enjoyed filling it out. Basically, it was great to look at everything again, and the book asked a lot of questions that I hadn’t thought of.”
—Robyn Ratcliffe, mother of Elizabeth, adopted from Viet Nam
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