I swore that I would never scrapbook. I saw some amazing scrapbooks that friends had put together, but the thought of cutting into my photographs and then spending tons of money on little stickers called "embellishments?" To put it bluntly, I wasn't a cutsie, sticker kind of gal and didn't intend to change.
And then we adopted my son. We had dozens of rolls of film developed and I wanted to record all those thoughts that were going trough my head, but I couldn't find a baby book or adoption book that would do justice to his unique, precious story . And I kept hearing about "life books." Every child has a one of a kind story about his or her birth, but for the adopted child, the story is even more personal and special.
So I made my way to the craft store and tried to find some "embellishments" that didn't include pregnancy quotations or storks. I held my breath as I cut into my photographs. Eventually, not finding any adoption items, I put my graphic design skills to use and created my own transparency overlays about adoption, so I could record those memories from "the wait" to Adoption Day. Now I cannot conceive of having let the idea of a scrapbook of my son's life pass by me. I would have missed great joy.
Why did I decide to scrapbook about my child's adoption?
1. We all know how unique our own story is about deciding to adopt and waiting. Our kid's stories or no less special. Don't be tempted to use a book where you just fill in the blanks, because it's nearly impossible to since you don't have all of the answers, nor do they all apply. And what child wants to see blanks in his book? For example, even adoption books may or may not have a place for information about the birthfather or if the adoption was international or domestic.
An additional benefit to scrapbooking is that you can design is so that it is timed perfectly for your child's age and understanding of his or her adoption story, based on what you have shared. It's inevitable that your child will being to ask more questions. It's easy to add that page with the answers right into the book. For example, my son recently has been asking, "Why did God choose me for your and Daddy? If God had sent another little boy, would you have loved him?" This is an idyllic occasion for me to create a new page for his adoption album, explaining how we prayed for a little boy just like him.
2. Photos are fun to look at but I've been surprised at how quickly the memories that go along with them can fade. When I look back at pictures taken just six months ago that I didn't take the time to journal about, I realize how many cute things my son said that I've forgotten already. What was that joke we laughed about for fifteen minutes? I can remember the giggles, but not the whole story behind the photos that keep the memories alive. And every child loves to hear about all the funny things he did or said when he was young!
3. Adoption is one of the most amazing gifts we will ever experience in our lifetime and I want my son to realize that we recognize it as such. Even as he watches me put together an album, or grows up reading it on my lap, is a sign to him that He is precious to us. When you share about your child's birth family, visits you may have with them, how your family was formed, or your child's place of birth, it's telling your child their story is worth telling! Our child should never believe that her story or life before us makes us sad or threatens our role as parents. Adoption scrapbook albums are a way to reinforce that her whole life is worth celebrating, not just the time since she became a part of your family.
Now that I am an adoptive mom, I have expanded by appreciation for scrap booking. I no longer see it as a leisurely craft, but a noteworthy method to record this miracle that God gave us--the honor of being parents to our little guy.
Adoption scrapbook albums are a great deal more than what some people call a "brag book" or photo album. These books, whether called international adoption lifebooks or just an adoption book, is a special account of pictures and memories, a custom-made story book of your child's life, and a keepsake for him to always know how much he is treasured. There are always concerns about how adoption affects a child, but through an adoption scrapbook album, I hope our son will know that we have always embraced and celebrated how he made us a family--through the joy of adoption.
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