Baby books are a great way to keep track of all those milestones and memories for your little one. It is nice to be able to look back, especially when you have another one, and to help you remember what milestones to expect next. Obviously, it can make a wonderful keepsake for your child as they grow up as well. Many of these baby books even have places to record details of your pregnancy. But what about an adopted child? How many of those pages would be left blank? Can a baby book celebrate an adopted child—both their birth parents and adoptive parents?
There are different baby books available for adopted children. Some have more room for journaling and others have more space for photos. You can look through to find some that work well for you. I wanted to share some of the details of my favorite baby book for adopted children and the one that I have used for both of my children. You can add to it, and it is fully customizable so it will work for every child! That means no blank pages for your little one!
This book is available as a digital download. That means no waiting and you can get started using it right away. Because it is a download, you can customize it for what you need. If there are pages that you want to omit, you simply leave those out when you go to print. You can print on your own computer or send it into a print center. You can print on regular paper or cardstock, or white or colored paper. You can simply add it into a binder or have it professionally bound. You can add embellishments if you like to scrapbook or keep it simple for a more classic look. If you are tech-savvy you can add in the entries and photos digitally, or print out the pages and use your handwriting and printed photos. The combinations are endless, but I love that no matter how many people are using this book, everyone’s is unique.
I personally like to fill out the information in my own handwriting. I like that it adds a little personal touch. I was scared to bind mine in case I wanted to add some pages. So I used a regular notebook for my son, but for my daughter I went with a disc-bound idea. I purchased some discs similar to these, and I already had a hole punch like this. For my son’s book, I kept things pretty simple and did not add very much. But for my daughter, I have added some washi tape and might add some other embellishments. Since I had used this book with my son already, I realized it was easier for my daughter’s book if I printed the pages off in smaller sections. Then, I could add or subtract pages as necessary as we went. I thought about completing everything digitally, but it’s easier for me to just handwrite things here and there. If I was better about keeping up with things and stayed more organized, I would fill things out digitally and have it printed in a completed bound book from a photo company.
Their Previous History
The first section contains information before they were born or placed in your home. I find that the adoption baby book mainly has open adoptions in mind. But remember that you can leave any pages out that don’t apply to your child.
It starts with sharing about how you came to adopt and the adoption process. It gives some brief prompts or questions to record some information that your child may want to know in the future. You get to share about the phone call you received and meeting the birth family. Then there is a section to share about his or her birth family. I love it because it is open-ended, and you can include as much or as little information as you want. You can also include a photo or two if you have those.
There is also a page to write a letter to your child. I found I needed more room so I simply added an extra page to continue our letter. I have also asked the birth mothers of our children if they wanted to include a letter in the book. You will also see pages to share about mommy and daddy. There is some space to share about your marriage and relationship and what life looked like before your child was placed in your home. This is very open-ended so we just included some photos of the two of us as a couple for my son’s book and for my daughter’s book, we included photos of us as a couple and a family of three.
Then, there is an ultrasound page, but that may not be relevant depending on your situation. The last page of this section is about his or her birth story. I really enjoy this whole section because it allows us to include the birth family and celebrate their heritage if you have that information. We were privileged to be a part of my son’s birth and can share the details of his birth story and photos. But with our daughter, we were not aware of her birth until after she was born. However, we have an ongoing relationship with her family and have other information to share about her story. I love that this section can apply to both of them, and I did not have to go searching for another option. I think this section was one of the hardest for me to find something I liked in other books. But since this is so easy to customize, I was quickly drawn to it.
Your Baby’s Birth
The next section breaks down more of the birth and all those things with a new little one. This is more standard in baby books, and I did not find I needed to change much with an adopted child. It has a whole page on birth statistics with cute little icons. It has a place for handprints and footprints. We packed this page in our hospital bag and asked the nurses to add footprints for us. There’s a page to talk about the day he or she was born that contains the president, prices for things, news headlines, and pop culture items. One of my favorite pages is the name page. It has a place for you to talk about his or her name and why you chose it. You can also include other names that you considered and nicknames. This was such an important part of feeling like our child was ours, and so I love that this page is included. I am sure our children will hear stories of their names, but I really like to put things in writing and this allowed a perfect place for that.
There’s a page to attach a birth announcement too. There are a few extra photo pages here too, but you can include any or all that you want. We included a photo of their nursery and one of us leaving the hospital. We also have a page for the baby dedication at church. This section closes out with a page for official adoption day. It is pretty open so we just included a photo from the day and recorded the date. Our son’s court date changed because of a hurricane, so we added a little note to share about that. We did not do anything fancy, but you can be as detailed as you want. We then used a blank page to include our adoption announcement from social media. We never printed those, but I wanted to include it since that is how most people heard about the official addition to our family. I knew it would probably be buried in the social media world by the time our children were old enough to care too.
Your Child’s First Year
The next two sections follow your child through the first year. These are months and milestones. There are two pages for each month. One page has a large spot to include a monthly photo and the other page has information to keep track of. I love the little icons that are included throughout the book to break up all the text. The monthly information page includes height, weight, number of teeth, number of hours of sleep, diaper size, and clothing size. It also has little prompts for what he or she loves and dislikes, along with firsts that he or she experienced and daily routine. They remind me of the photos some families take with babies and a chalkboard with all the information to write in. This follows the child up through his or her first birthday. I like that these are pretty simple, but cute, and that I can refer back to them to compare my daughter to my son and what to expect next.
Then, there is a milestone page. This includes a list of first things and a place to record dates and such. I like this page in looking ahead at what to expect with our second child. Everything is all on one page so it easy to reference. You can stop with the dates and it still feels complete. But, with the additional pages included, you can attach photos for any or all of those milestones. I love that I can include photos of the kids for some things, and I did not feel pressured or guilty if I didn’t capture something on the camera. No blank pages! I can even include different photos for each of the kids and both books are still full without missing information.
This book includes several blank pages and you can include more information as you wish. They also offer expansions, add-ons, and other books for biological children. You can add on additional milestones and monthly switches to yearly pages through the age of 18. They also have labels that you can print on clear labels to fit nicely into the blank pages for titles and to keep the cohesive feel. When you purchase the download, they also include the names of the fonts they used. You can purchase and download those from a third party if you are tech-savvy and want to do a little crafting.
There are more adoption baby books available and even more regular baby books, so feel free to check things out. This was just my favorite, and it worked perfectly for our expanding family. I really like the idea of a journaling baby book, but I knew that I would not be able to keep up with it. This book provided me the opportunity to journal or fill in some prompts or keep things super simple with just information along the way. I really did not want my children to see blank pages as reminders of things that were different or unknown. I like that I can include any information I have, but can print only the pages that we need. I liked how simple and modern the feel was, but also knew I could dress it up with washi tape or scrapbook materials if I ever had free time with two little ones. More than anything, I loved the flexibility this book provided. One book, but I could use it for both of my children, despite not knowing the same information. I could bind it differently or add some colors too. Of course, I was eager to get started when I purchased and received an automatic download which allowed me to have no waiting time.
What type of baby book do you like? Or what are you looking for? Is there something you would like for this book to include?
Sara Graham is a wife, mother, educator, and business woman. She met her husband while living in England and moved back to the States where she became a middle and high school teacher. After struggling for years with infertility, her and her husband adopted two children within 18 months. Sara and her husband currently live in Central Florida where she stays at home with their children and owns and operates a few businesses. You can read more about her infertility and transracial adoption journey at MikeandSaraGraham.com