Life books tell a story ...preserve history
About five years ago, a cousin wrote and asked if we were related.
MILFORD About five years ago, a cousin wrote and asked if we were related. He was researching his family tree and did not know who his grandparents were because his father was not raised by them. I told him his father was not officially adopted. He was raised by an aunt after his mother had died in child birth.
Although we might think these types of family mysteries are a thing of the past, future genealogists may learn otherwise. Children who are adopted or have moved from one family unit to another may not remember their life history.
Jocelyn Firth, the mother of an adopted two-year-old, wrote after reading the recent column on baby books. In 2005, she adopted her daughter, Fenway, from China. Since then, she says, I have been trying to piece together the mysteries of her life.
We dont have a baby book for her, or even the names of her birth parents, but through doing a life book, I have been able to discover amazing things about her past. Jocelyn adds, I wanted to create a tool to help discuss her past and how she came to be a member of our family. I wanted her to know we were proud of where she came from.
Life books can include adoption papers, discovery location (orphanage, foster home), first meeting and gotcha day stories and photos. If the child was adopted international, information about that country and cultural traditions make great additions.
At first, Jocelyn believed the book would be given to Fenway when she was older, but that plan changed when Fenway wanted to see the pictures and hear her life story.
After spending months creating a life book at a scrapbooking workshop, Jocelyn decided there had to be a better way. She began Workshop in a Box and in December 2006 launched My Jiangxi Girl (http://myjiangxigirl.com/) to help others create life books. Life books arent only for adopted children. Theyre for every child who is not raised by their biological mother, including foster children.
A foster childs life is complicated by the many living locations some experience. Accomplishments and mementoes can be lost over time. Their artwork, report cards, achievement awards and ribbons from sports and school events, photos, first hair cut clippings and anything of sentimental value can be placed in the book. Information about their biological parents, the circumstances surrounding their birth and the reasons for their foster placement can help them through life.
Life books travel with the child from one placement to another to help them remember where life has taken them. Social workers, foster parents and the children help create the books.
For more information on Jocelyns Workshop in a Box, write: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Researchers File Who were Frances Pierces parents? Frances, born March 25, 1824, married Joseph Craig on February 5, 1846 at Wilmot, Annapolis County, NS. Contact: Susan Napier, 17 Ascot Way, Lower Sackville, NS B4E 2H7; email: email@example.com
Editors Note - Diana Lynn Tibert is a freelance writer living at Milford, NS. Submit genealogy queries by writing: RR#1 Milford, Hants County, NS B0N 1Y0; or email: firstname.lastname@example.org