Adoption Life Books: Digital or Traditional?

Adoption Life Books: Digital or Traditional?

In last month's article we began our journey of lifebook construction with the following goal:

Build your child's lifebook by December 2008.

This month we will explore the different types of choices families have in designing their child's lifebook. This month's assignment is the following:

Make the decision to either build your child's lifebook in the traditional way or through a digital process.

Typically, lifebooks are formatted in a scrapbook format, with loose pages, created using scrapbook type embellishments and $5 off when you spend $15paper. An entire industry is built around scrapbooking, with supplies available in local big-box stores, craft stores and online. There are even country and adoption-themed ideas and pages offered on a few specialty websites, such as Scrap and Tell.

In addition, there are now a number of companies that offer Online "Scrapbooking " services, such as or Kodak gallery, each allowing users to build photobooks with captions. These services are much more limited in their variety of creative backgrounds and embellishments, but do offer the advantage of being quick, simple and easy. These websites allow you to upload and customize images, share your book online, or have a soft or hard bound book sent to your home.

A third option is to use a software program to build and print your lifebook pages from your computer. There is also a lot of software made specifically for scrapbooking, such as scrapbook factory deluxe or Creating Keepsakes Scrapbook Designer. These software programs can help you create quick and easy pages, however, your customization and creative options are reduced.

If you love using the scrapbooking software, but are ready to be fully in charge of all the creative aspects involved in digital scrapbooking, you may want to move up to the more professional desktop-publishing software such as Adobe Photoshop Elements

Deciding what personally works for you is what is most important. Some people, this author included, are simply never going to qualify at a functional level in the creative arts. Others may love the process of physically creating each page and layout using papers, scissors and other supplies. A comparison of materials needed follows:

Materials Needed in ScrapBooking

Digital Scrapbooking:

  • digital images
  • computer
  • software of choice
  • printer (optional)
  • photo paper (optional)
  • album (optional)



Traditional Scrapbooking:

  • photographs
  • album
  • scissors
  • adhesive
  • journal pens
  • paper trimmer
  • embellishments
  • die cuts
  • stamps
  • colored card stock
  • patterned papers

Baby PhotobooksWhether choosing digital or traditional, making an adoption scrapbook or lifebook has some common starting points to explore. Beth O'Malley of Adoption Life Books has a great website with many resources and tips to get started. Her monthly e-newsletter is popular with both domestic and international adoptive families and is well worth using as a starting point. In fact, exploring the links and considering your options are the very first step in this journey, but knowing how much time and skills you currently have may be the final deciding factor in creating a lifebook for your child.

One sure way to get in the mood for building your child's life-story is to choose an inspiring poem that expresses the love, longing, or other emotions surrounding the adoption of your child. For your enjoyment and use, we have compiled seven of the most popular adoption poems below.


Heaven's Very Special Child
May You Be Safe
The Gift of Life
Adoption Creed
Today I Kissed an Angel
Legacy of an Adopted Child
The Waiting Child

In February it is important to make the choice of building your child's lifebook digitally or traditionally.  Please explore your options and start accumulating your thoughts and photos.  In March we will move forward with building text and photo pages.  You can do it!

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