I used Microsoft Word and a free digital scrapbook set for the papers. The book is a heavy-duty duotang and the pages are in plastic holders. To get a better quality photos/colours I printed on photo paper. I gave a copy to my homestudy worker and my social worker may take a copy as well.
Next they made a All About Me page. I thought this was a cute way to get across some random information. I also have plans to do a similar page or book with a future child.
I don't have anyone else in my household so I did a page about my pets and their dislikes. I snuck in some things about how we don't hit or say mean words. I think this can tell the children that they will be physically safe with me and also so the expectation that they should not hit as well.
I have three pages describing my house. I have some generic pictures of my house as well as pictures of the two bedrooms the child can choose between. I also included a QR code of a video tour of the house because I like seeing those when I go on holidays. (When I asked if there is anything not allowing me to do a YouTube clip as stumped my social worker and she said there was nothing stopping me.)
My friend laughed at me and we joked about my being Dora with the questions I asked on the page and in the videos. Asking questions such as "what kind of pictures will you hang?" can let the child know that they have choices and that their opinion matters.
I included two pages about where I live . The first page introduces my town and the second has photos of things that we could do in our town.
One page has a list of family Rules and possible chores. I don't imagine this matters to younger children but perhaps older children will find reassurance knowing what potential expectations may be.
I included a page about the school they will likely attend. It's not a lot but maybe a kid would have questions about it.
All my pages:
- Pictures of me
- All about me
- House- general
- House- bedrooms
- House- layout
- Town introduction
- Town things to do
- Family rules & chores
- My family
- More about me
Some general tips:
- Rough out your ideas before starting the good copy.
- Have pictures where your faces are clearly visible
- Think about how the words you choose could reflect on a child with trauma.
- I originally had a family rule example that we would use gentle touches but to a child that may have been sexually abused that could have a different meaning than intended.
- Don't include many pictures with extended family. Focus on your household and perhaps grandparents briefly.
- I read somewhere that it's better to have individual pictures than group photos as it makes it easier for a child to see how they might fit in the family.
- I kept a list of pictures I need on my phone
- Easy to view and track what pictures I had and still needed.
- Bad weather or wrong season for a picture you want? Try Google, it might not include you but it might be better than nothing.
- You likely won't be able to personalize the book to each match that is offered so try to be as general as you can with your interests and layout.
- You can bind the book however you want.
- You can use a duotang, a photo book company, a scrapbook, etc.
- Just remember to think about durability when a child handles it. Staples may not hold up.
- Use more recent photos without a lot of other people in them
- I tried to use inclusive words like "we".