Life Story Work
Life story work helps to build a record of a child’s history including information about their birth family and why they couldn’t remain with them, a celebration of their life with their adoptive family and hopes for the future.
Adopted children can often struggle with their sense of identity and belonging due to the loss, separation, neglect or abuse that many adopted children have faced in early life and may blame themselves for what happened in their past. Life story work is an important part of modern adoption as it can help to build a child’s sense of identity and promotes attachment with their adoptive family. By gathering information as to why they could not remain with their birth family, children begin to understand they are not to blame for their early life experience.
All children being adopted, regardless of age or circumstances will have some form of life story book when they come to live with you. Whilst it may be difficult to discuss the past with your adopted child it’s important to remember that acknowledging it can be therapeutic and can help them to heal.
Their life story book should contain positive messages, acknowledge all parts of their life and can include photographs, memories, achievements or copies of documents (letters, certificates etc.). The life story book is something that can be added to throughout the child’s life when they create new memories or achievements. Working together with your child on their life story book can be a special experience to bond over.
Due to their early life experience involving loss, separation and often neglect or abuse, adopted children may experience trauma, developmental delay and attachment difficulties. This can have a negative impact on their well-being and may lead to emotional and behavioural challenges. Therapy helps to support their emotional development and improve their well-being.
There are a number of support services and therapies available to adopted children which can be accessed through our agency’s adoption support team, the NHS or independent providers. You may also be eligible for funded support and services through the adoption support fund.
The support available to adopted children can include art therapy, play therapy, psychotherapy, mental health support services and family therapy. Adopters for adoption can help to identify your child’s support needs and can help you to access the support your child needs.
You can find out more about adoption support services and therapies by visiting first 4 adoption.
As part of our safeguarding practice and support package, we provide all of our children with an age-appropriate children’s guide when they move in with their new family.
This gives them information about who they can talk to, who we are and how they can speak to us.
You can view the guides by clicking on the guides below:
Preschool children’s guide to adoption
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