It’s Never too Early (or too late) for Creating a Life Journal
If your aim as a Foster Parent is to really make a difference in a Child’s life; and for them to feel that in you they have security, acceptance and unconditional love; then this is one of the surest ways to establish just that. Your Foster Child will forever be grateful to you, for all the time and effort spend in monthly documenting his/her progress, milestones and events into their own unique Life Journal.
Should the Child be re-united with his/her birth parents it will also be an irreplaceable source of information that has been documented, during a period that they were unable to be a part of their child’s life.
It is recommended that the Children help with creating their life journal, which results in some Foster Parents wondering when to begin the process when fostering a baby. Remember the main goal of a life journal is to help foster and adopted children hold on to their history which is often lost in the foster care system through various moves. So it is never too early to start. In the early years they will just be involved in providing artwork, hand and foot prints, etc. As they grow, so their addition to their Life Journal will also grow.
Author Beth O’Malley stated the following, “A Life Book/Journal is a collection of words, photos, graphics, artwork, and memorabilia that creates a life record for a child who was adopted/or in foster care. It should be a simple, truthful story written through a child’s eyes. A Life Book/Journal is more than a life story. It is a unique opportunity for adoptive/foster parents to honour every minute of the children’s lives. It is the single most meaningful piece of “paperwork” that anyone can ever complete.”
Ideas to Include when Creating a Life Journal for a Very Young Child:
- Lots of Pictures: First hair cut, First taste of baby food, Stroller rides.
- Stories about cute things baby does: Making raspberries at the family dog, Falling asleep while eating cereal, etc.
- Dates of Milestones: Rolling over, Sitting up, Eating solid food, Crawling, etc.
- Pictures of Important people: Birth parents, Birth family, Foster family, Foster siblings, Pets.
- Important Items: Hospital wrist bracelet, Lock of hair from first haircut, etc.
Ideas to Include when Creating a Life Journal for a Older Child:
- Lots of Pictures: First Day at School (new school/or grade R), Outings with foster family, etc.
- Stories about sayings they have or things they do: Saying “Yip” when asked a question (instead of yes), Favorite song they sing, etc.
- Pictures of important people: Birth parents, Birth family, Foster family, Foster siblings, Pets.
- Important items: Birth Certificate (or a copy), Immunization chart (if available), School Reports/progress charts, etc.
Most importantly make the Journal a bright, fun filled and personalized account of the Child’s precious years with you!