While my work on a life book is not sponsored, educating people on what life books are and why they are important is sponsored thanks to Shutterfly and Stonyfield.
Childhood memories are essential to who we are and who we want to be. As the holidays come up, we anticipate and groan at our parents’ and grandparents’ stories of us as children — being goofy and insolent and adorable. We remember our first time riding a bike or we laugh that our first word was “cat” since we now own three. Who doesn’t appreciate an afternoon flipping through old pictures for a school project, which ask for photographs from different years of our lives, or to be able to create a thoughtful Christmas present for our grandparents?
But imagine no one there who knew these stories. Imagine having no baby pictures of yourself. Or have months or years missing.
Children in foster care often have these gaps, which is why the Department of Social services all over the country encourage foster families to create “life books” for children in foster care.
Life books are an important way foster parents can support the children in their care. By documenting a child’s time with us, we help them know their history and find joy and pride in the people they were, are and will become. We give them stories to hold in their hearts until they, too, can pass them along at the Thanksgiving table.
These books are similar to baby books. They include photographs, milestones and memories for a child to look back on and know the details of their lives with us as we often have the only pictures and knowledge of this time in their childhood.
Life books can be done by hand with scrapbooking materials or online with site such as Shutterfly. It’s not about being fancy, it’s about preserving the joy and laughter and pride in a child’s history. Since I don’t have a lot of time for buying fancy paper and gluing lovely doodads, I’ve been using Shutterfly for the baby’s life book. I chose the the “Inspirational Quotes” theme because you know I’m a sucker for quotes, but there are adoption themes in foster-to-adopt situations and heritage themes and pretty much any way you would want to present a life book. If a child is old enough, they can work on it with their foster family starting with choosing a theme that suits them.
Most of us try to make some pages every month because a child can return home or move to relatives with only a few weeks notice so we have to be able to quickly order it. My family has taken a LOT of photos so I may be ordering multiple books as I have only been able to narrow the pictures down to sixty-three over the last 10 months and that took all my willpower. But I don’t the book to weigh more than the baby so we may create a trilogy.
The best part about doing this online is that I can order a copy of the book for us as we cherish our time as foster parents as well. These memories will carry all of us into a joyful future.
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Stonyfield in partnership with Shutterfly. Purchase any Stonyfield YoBaby or YoTot yogurt 6-pack and enjoy $20 off your order at Shutterfly.com. Learn more and redeem your offer at: shutterfly.com/stonyfield. Offer ends February 29, 2016 and is only good for 1 per household.