Lifebook Success Stories
From an LSSI adoptive mom, adopting an 11-year-old boy from foster care:
I just want you to know that I am very thankful for the Lifebook that Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI) provided for our son. As you know, my husband and I are adopting a wonderful 11-year-old boy, Douglas, who has been in the foster care system since he was 3 years old. If it weren't for the Lifebook, we wouldn't have ever known where he had been, what he went through, where he was born or anything about his birth parents. We, as adoptive parents, missed out on so much of his life, and this was a great way for us to get to know him and for him to get to know us.
Even though some things were hard for him to talk about and hard for us to hear, this was something he needed to do to be able to move forward in his life. If it weren't for the Lifebook helping him with this transition to our home, it might have taken him much longer to open up to us and be able to move forward in his life. By working on the Lifebook together, we were able to help him understand that we love and want him no matter what had happened to him in his life.
LSSI Lifebook specialist shares about two sisters with a traumatic past and how they learned to feel safe with their aunt:
Melissa and Mary loved their Lifebooks from day one! When I went to visit the girls, they would greet me excitedly and share what they had worked on in their Lifebooks. They loved getting pictures of themselves at younger ages and laughed together, remembering happy times. The eldest, Melissa, shared difficult memories of a violent past with her birth parents. She feared that she might "turn out the same way" after she got in trouble for fighting at school. After working on her Lifebook, she was able to talk about new ways of coping with her angry feelings.
The girls live with Monica, their aunt, who was overwhelmed to learn all that the girls had been through. She didn't live near them and was distraught that she hadn't been able to protect them in the past. As we talked, however, she learned the power of providing them with care and protection now.
The Lifebook helped these girls explore their traumatic pasts and receive reassurance from their aunt that they are now safe.
Another LSSI Lifebook specialist worked with 17-year-old James:
At age 17, James had been in several foster homes, but as we worked on his placement history for his Lifebook, it was obvious he remembered one foster family in particular. He had left there under difficult circumstances and always felt bad about what happened. I contacted his former foster mother, Deb. After we discussed everything and I felt she and James were prepared, I arranged for them to talk. It was amazing. Deb told James that she had no hard feelings toward him. She told him that he was loved when he was in her home and that she still loves him, thinks about him all of the time and hopes that he is doing well. James told Deb that he has been in some trouble, but is trying to do better. Deb reminded him that everyone makes mistakes, but that good can come from challenges. She recounted fun things they had done together and many good memories she had of that time. James was visibly moved by everything that Deb told him. Later, Deb sent many photos and other memorabilia from James's childhood that he added to his Lifebook.
He looked at a picture of himself as a young boy and said, "I don't have any baby pictures... This is the closest thing to it. I'm so thankful."
Throughout the course of working with James, he used his Lifebook as a way to surface old memories and work through them. James was at a crossroads in his life, and his Lifebook was instrumental in helping him chart a new course for himself.