How to Create an Adoption Photo Book

Updated February 21, 2017

An adoption photo book---also known as an adoption life book---tells the story of your child's life prior to being adopted and serves as a tool to help you talk to your child about how he became a member of your family. As children grow, they develop a natural curiosity regarding their birth and family history. An adoption photo book preserves the important details that will help you answer the question, "Where did I come from?" in a loving and honest way without hiding or minimising the adoption aspect of your child's birth story.

Determine what information you want to include in your adoption photo book. Some adoptive parents choose to include only photos, so that their child can "read" the book like a picture book. Other parents choose to include journal entries to verbalise the story. Once you've decided exactly what will be included, make yourself an outline of the "story." This will help you decide whether you want to tell the story chronologically or divide the photo book according to subtopics. For example, you may want a section entitled "Your Birth Parents" or "Where You Were Born."

Gather all of your pictures and any physical souvenirs you have from the adoption process. This includes plane tickets, adoption decrees, hospital paperwork and anything else that can be considered a physical memento of the process. If you plan to add journal entries to your photo book, this is a good time to make notes about the significance of the different pictures and souvenirs as well.

Use your outline to help you organise your photos, souvenirs, and journal entries. If you are organising your story chronologically, it is helpful to number the photos, souvenirs and pieces of writing according to how you want to lay them out on a page. If you are organising your story according to subtopics, label freezer bags with each subtopic and then collect every picture and souvenir regarding that topic into one freezer bag.

Place the blank scrapbook pages in a line on a large table or area of floor, and lay your photos and other souvenirs on the pages in the order you want them. If you plan to add journal entries, make sure you leave space to either neatly write your entries or paste in typed paragraphs. Review the layouts, reading the story out loud to make sure it flows. Rearrange photos as necessary.

Use the adhesive photo corners (or acid-free gluesticks or double-sided archival tape) to attach the photos and other souvenirs to the page. Consider making an attractive paper pocket or envelope to hold larger mementos or clippings. Attach the pocket to the front or back cover or on its own individual page.

Complete your child's photo book by personalising the cover. For example, add a photo of your child to the cover with a title like "My Story," or create something more elaborate like a collage of newspaper stories from the day your child was born (or adopted) with a title like "On This Day..." Alternatively, leave the cover blank until your child is old enough to help you create the perfect cover for her story.


If you're still in the early stages of adoption, start preparing for creating your child's adoption photo book now by taking pictures throughout the process. Every photo you can offer your child is an immeasurable gift, and you won't know how useful a photo may be until you're putting together the photo album later, so take photos of everything. Even if you decide to create a photographic story book without journal entries, consider including labels of the people and places in each picture. Over the years, details like these tend to be forgotten; labelling the pictures will guard against this.

Things You'll Need

  • Photos
  • Scrapbook album
  • Scrapbook pages
  • Adhesive photo corners, double-sided archival tape or acid-free glue sticks
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About the Author

Shauntelle Hamlett is a nine-year veteran business writer, who has written website, brochure, trade publication, and marketing collateral for industries ranging from music to neurosurgery. Hamlett also specializes in medical writing, and has developed education materials for doctors, medical staff and heir patients. Her publication credits include Unsigned Music Magazine, eHow, Answerbag, Wacom Monthly and