Thursday, 4 April 2013

Life Story Book

We've done it.... the book is complete. I was determined that it would happen this week, and we've done it a day early.

Boy-o now has a life story book, which starts where we are, and ends where we are. In the middle there is a lot of information and pictures about all sorts of things. His birth parents, his birth siblings, those he does see and those he doesn't. His foster carers - both sets. Contact. Meeting us. Our court date, his Baptism and adoption celebration. It's all there... in a form that my boy can understand.

We first had sight of a life story book for him, shortly before we went to court. Our social worker had asked his, not to glue anything into it in case it needed changing. His social worker turned up with a complete book and obviously expected to be congratulated....

Our names we were wrong in it.

Across a picture of his birth mum, the word 'Mummy' was written. Same for birth dad.

There was incorrect information in there about his birth family.

It included a genogram (family tree) taken straight from his report - which is also wrong.

And that was just the start of it....

Our social worker, offered help, she offered training. It was all refused. His social worker took the book away, to redo...

She changed our names!

The facts were still wrong. The pictures would have confused him. The information would have worried him - even the stuff that was correct would have left him confused and worried.

In the end his social worker came back with the book, and we accepted it, knowing we weren't happy. We showed it to our social worker who was appalled and offered to redo it, but knowing how pushed for time she is, we said we'd do it. And we have... finally.

It's important for adopted children to have accurate and useful life story books. It tells them about where they have come from, and helps them start to understand what has led to adoption. Our boy's book glosses over the deeper darker stuff, and there is deeper darker stuff, but that's because he is 4. When he's 10, or 14 or 16 he will be better able to cope with some deeper explanation...

We talk about his birth mum - well now he has a photo. We have spoken briefly about his birth dad - now he has a photo and an explanation. We've talked about his birth brothers and sisters, we've looked at photos, now he can see how they fit in age. It's got reminders all the way through, that we love him, that his foster carers love him, that his birth mum loves him. He is lovable.

We have the information that is suitable now in a book, we have more to add as he gets older.


Vicki TBB said...

Although I understand parents having to do their children's life story book is not uncommon, I do think it's shocking that more social workers can't do them properly!

It sounds though, like you've done a grand job, and Boy-o will find it useful and helpful for years to come.

Thanks for sharing with the Weekly Adoption Shout Out x

Handstitched Mum said...

Yes, it's sad that some social workers aren't given the time and resources to put together a correct and useful life story book. I know that in some LAs, they have support staff who do this.

Lindsay said...

Your book sound wonderful, I hope to make one for our boy one day as well:) What a great mum you are!

Suddenly Mummy said...

Good job on making the book - things like this bring up a lot of mixed feelings for me, but are so important for our little ones.

Honeymummy said...

Your book sounds lovely. Originally our eldest had a dreadfully inappropriate Lifestory book but we have been fortunate enough to have a brilliant PASW whose passion is getting life story books written and tailored to each child individually. Now both my boys have wonderful books but without her hard work, I would have had to do the same as you.