5 June 2020

Filling in the Stories

If you are parenting children who haven’t been in your home since birth, you don’t have access to their entire histories. This likely means that they don’t either. Today, Staci gives us a few tips on how to help fill in the missing pieces of our foster and adopted children’s stories.

 

 

Filling in the Stories

Good morning, welcome back to Coffee with Chosen. My name is Staci.

My mom loves to tell the story of how she was in labor with me, during a blizzard, and had to drive to the hospital in New York during treacherous conditions. She also loves to tell the story of how excited my dad was to tell the neighbors in their apartment that I had been born and that my name was Staci. I love hearing that account and seeing the pictures of that apartment and as a young woman in my 20s. I definitely took it for granted that I knew those bits of my own history.

Well, after entering the space of adoption. I realized that not all children have those beginning parts of their stories. As foster and adoptive parents, we don’t have all the information about our children’s days before they arrived in our families but it is our responsibility to help provide the missing pieces of the puzzle as much as we can.

A tangible way to do this is to make books that fill in those gaps with pictures so that our kiddos have as much information as possible about their early lives. If your children arrived in your home well after they were born we would like you to do everything you can to find pictures of their birthplace the towns they lived in and their schools. If you happen to have pictures of their biological family members gather those put all those pictures together in a life book or just a photo album.

A twelve-year-old boy we know was in his eighth foster home before he was recently adopted. He had very few pictures of his early life. His dad contacted his son’s various elementary schools so that he could try to get school photos in yearbooks. Now this young man has a much more complete understanding of where he lived and where he went to school before he was adopted.

If you’re currently living far from where your kiddos first lived, let Google Earth Street View be your friend. You can bring up various locations take screenshots on your computer print those photos out and put them in your child’s album or life book.

If you’re a foster parent and the children currently in your home are going to be reunified to, their birth parents or extended family please make sure you take photos of them while they’re in your home, the activities that they like to do, where you’re living while they’re in your care. Put those photos in an album and send that album with them when they leave your home.

While we can’t fill in all the pieces of the puzzle for the stories of children who haven’t been with us since birth, we can be intentional to find some of the pieces and document well the parts of the stories that we are participating in, doing so serves our children well and helps to give them a stronger understanding of their own histories. If you would like more information on documenting your children’s histories please reach out to us today.

Source: Staci Thomas, TBRI® Practitioner