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   Book Info

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LifeBooks : Creating a Treasure for the Adopted Child  
Author: Beth O'Malley
ISBN: 0970183275
Format: Handover
Publish Date: June, 2005
   Book Review

Mary McGuire, adoptive mother of 6-year-old Cassie, adopted from China
" ...my daughter's LifeBook has only served to bring us closer and increase her trust in me. LifeBooks: Creating a Treasure for the Adopted Child provides an invaluable service to adoptive families. Your perspective and guidance freed me up to pull this together."

Susan Soon-keum Cox, Holt International Children's Services August 2001
...your book helps adopted children learn to embrace their story and themselves...

Mary McGuire, adoptive mother of 7-year-old Cassie, adopted from China
..."my daughter's lifebook has only served to bring us closer and increase her trust in me

Dr. Gregory Keck, Ph.D. Founder of the Attachment and Bonding Center of Ohio, and co-author of Adopting the Hurt Child August 2001
"I strongly recommend this book for anyone involved in adoptions."

Dianna Calfin, adoptive mom in New Hampshire July 2001
" I just finished my daughter's lifebook... felt compelled to send you a copy...you inspired me...thank you...

Dr. Joyce Maguire Pavao, CEO Center for Family Connections, Cambridge and New York February 2000
" This book is a gift for adoptive and birth families and for professionals...

Book Description
From Alaska to Australia the word is spreading. Adoptive parents are discovering the enormous value of adoption lifebooks. But then the questions begin. Where do I start? What information should be included? Do I let my child bring it to school? Beth O’Malley M.Ed. provides the answers to these and more. In her best selling book, LifeBooks: Creating a Treasure for the Adopted Child Beth guides you though the process, step-by-step and page by page as if she were right there with you. Learn about the difference between a scrapbook or baby book and a lifebook. Or explaining tough truths, dealing with secrets and which pages are essential. Newly revised 2002 Dozens of real life stories Lists of hard-to-find lifebook resource websites Sample pages for international and domestic Special waiting parent section. If you get really stuck, there are three full-length examples in the back section, including one for China adoptions. Her life experiences as an adoptee combined with doing lifebook seminars with adoptive parents all over the country, gives Beth a special perspective on lifebooks. Most importantly, Beth has made countless lifebooks with children in her role as an adoption specialist in Massachusetts. Beth O’Malley has helped thousands of adoptive families give their children the answers and security they crave. This book is an indispensable guide to making your child’s lifebook. You will refer to it for years to come!

From the Publisher
LifeBooks:Creating a Treasure for the Adopted Child is an easy to read guide which explains all the details. Beth O'Malley offers concrete suggestions and tips on everything from tricky text to adding your precious photos. Families from all over the world are sending thank yous and copies of their successfully completed lifebooks thanks to Beth's book.If what you are looking for is an adoption lifebook guide with a proven track record, Beth's book is the one.

About the Author
Ms. Beth O'Malley is both an adoptee and seasoned adoption worker.She spent her first five months in foster care. She believes these experiences enhance her approach to lifebooks. Ms. O'Malley also provides workshops and trainings nationally.She and her husband live outside Boston on the ocean.

Excerpted from LifeBooks : Creating a Treasure for the Adopted Child by Beth O'Malley. Copyright © 2000. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
If you are an adoptive parent, imagine your daughter at age 13, sitting up late at night, going through her Lifebook. Or the glow in your son’s eyes as he reads about when he first entered his family. Quiet, special times. What if this Lifebook gives your child the edge in terms of quality-of-life issues such as intimacy? What if the Lifebook magic could help hold them through difficult young-adult times? I believe it can. I hope you share my vision. "…my 16-year-old son is a good kid. We adopted him as an infant and have always been open with him with what little information we had. Recently I read Lifebooks: Creating a Treasure for the Adopted Child. As a result, one night I brought my son’s adoption papers out, and I said he was welcome to look through them. “No thanks, Mom.” But the next night he decided to take a look. Some little pieces of information took on new meaning, like his birth mother being the exact age he is now. That evening, [he said to me,] “I love having you as my mother.” I responded, "I love having you as my son!”" –Cathy, adoptive parent Lifebooks give the family an attachment ritual: sitting together, reading the Lifebook. “Honey, do you want to get your Lifebook?” “Mom, I want to read my Lifebook. Children (and parents) will know the words by heart. This process says, parent to child, “there is nothing I can’t tolerate about your history.” Lifebook talk becomes symbolic of adoption issues discussion. But no one ever said this would be easy. "…my five year old son knows the words in his Lifebook by heart. As he becomes older and can comprehend more, the words will take on a new meaning. He will never have to “be told” and will always know that it’s not his fault.” –Karen, adoptive parent Families can either end the Lifebook at the finalization or add on throughout the child’s life. The Lifebook has the potential to be ever changing. The child and family could later add in pictures, photographs, or even postcards from favorite teachers. For example, a child could include pictures of pets, original artwork, school awards, hobbies, etc. B. The Best Way to Make a Lifebook The best way to make a Lifebook is with the child. I can’t stress how important this is. If a child is only two or three, they can participate by selecting the album type, picking out favorite photos, and doing some page decorating. From an early age, they will know about ‘their special book’ and the adoption story. As the parent, you are now completely comfortable with adoption language and questions. Everyone gains from a Lifebook. "…one of my families adopted a baby [and] began Lifebook work right away…Now at age one he can pull himself up and seems to point to his Lifebook… naturally cooing, laughing, and making appropriate baby sounds… their relationship and his adjustment has already benefited." –Celia Robert, social worker If you are making a Lifebook for an infant, then leave some of the pages blank for when they are older, age 4 or 5. Artwork is the child’s contribution for many pages where no pictures exist. Always make two copies of the Lifebook. The original photos/pages should be carefully stored away to avoid pizza stains or angry moments. The color copies allow for your child to hold on to the Lifebook and use it on a day-to-day basis. As I did Lifebook work with children or heard stories from parents, I soon realized that it was the small bits of information—like a favorite color, stories about the other children in the orphanage, what clothes they wore at the first meeting, or memories of a smell that helped ground children in their pasts. This freed them to chase their dreams for the future. It wasn’t always the major or official pieces of information that made children smile.

Life Books: Creating a Treasure for the Adopted Child


Change your child's future by giving them their past. An adoption lifebook is a pro-active and unique parenting tool.

What is a lifebook? It is a record of the child's life from birth. It uses words, photos, and the child's artwork to chronicle the critical events in a child's life in child friendly terms.


Discover the secrets to making your child's lifebook. A step-by-step guide suitable for international or domestic adoptions. Written by an adoptee.


Mary McGuire - adoptive mother of 7-year-old Cassie, adopted from China

￯﾿ᄑ " my daughter's lifebook has only served to bring us closer and increase her trust in me. LifeBooks: Creating a Treasure for the Adopted Child provides an invaluable service to adoptive families. Your perspective freed me up to pull this together￯﾿ᄑ"

Midwest Book Review

"In LifeBooks: Creating a Treasure for the Adopted Child, Beth O'Malley provides the adoptive parent with a unique, invaluable, practical, highly recommended, step-by-step guide for explaining the truth of their child's history in ways that the child can understand, accept and feel good about. Drawing upon her seventeen years of experience and expertise as an adoption worker to write clearly and informatively for a non-specialist general reader. The result will help any adoptive parent to assist their child in creating a record of his or her life from birth using words, photos, graphics, and artwork in the form of a "LifeBook" that is more effective than a general scrapbook or traditional baby book.

Susan Soon-Keum Cox - Vice President of Holt International Children's Services, author & adoptee,

￯﾿ᄑ " Every person has his or her own story. For those of us who are adopted, the story does not neatly fit into traditional baby books and journals. But our stories, even the parts that are unknown or painful are part of who we are. Beth O'Malley's LifeBooks: Creating a Treasure for the Adopted Child is itself a treasure. It is a sensitive, thoughtful, and practical guide for families to help their adopted children learn, understand, and embrace their story and themselves."


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