Yesterday I took Daffy to therapy where she received a scrapbook her birth mom created for her 3 years ago. This scrapbook, along with one for her brother, sat in the closet collecting dust at the state offices. This really distresses me. How could someone’s life be so meaningless as to carelessly place it on a shelf never to be looked at or shared in 3 years? Is this what our case workers think of our foster children?
As an adoptee, I know first hand how important those early pictures are. I lived my life for 24 years wondering if I was as homely as an infant as other people around the world. Somehow, without pictures, it felt like that time never really existed, like I was nothing until that first photo was taken by my adoptive parents at 6 weeks old.
For this reason, scrapbooking has always been close to my heart. I created my first “real” (read: acid-free-hobby-as-we-know-it-today) scrapbook in 1998, but I have been a photographer since my adoptive Dad bought me my first Minolta when I turned 14 and I was a collector of momentos long before that. Pieces of life…. moments caught in time…. the tiny bits of reality… these are the things that form the true memories of our lives. I have created, literally, thousands of scrapbook pages. My work was published in countless scrapbooking magazines (some were even international!) and I even co-authored a scrapbooking idea book. I maintained a scrapbooking related blog/website for 6 years. And then it became my job. I went to work for a scrapbooking manufacturer and my zest to preserve of family history subsided. I switched to digital scrapbooking for a while as a diversion from traditional scrapbooking in my day job. Eventually, the company I worked for jumped on the band wagon with digital scrapbook supplies, too, and crushed all personal scrapbooking for me.
When Donald & Daffy were first placed with us, they would often look through my scrapbooks. Donald would even take several huge binders into his room to look through in the mornings when he woke before everyone else. I felt pangs of guilt. I certainly didn’t want to keep our “past” a secret, but I could only imagine the sadness they both must have felt as they looked through the memories of our lives. We lived a normal life. And being in foster care for the past 8 years, they did not.
I’m so happy that she now gets to experience the simple pleasure that so many of us take for granted, of looking back at photos of her earlier years and saying, “Hey, that was me. Wasn’t I adorable?”
I have felt a growing need to begin scrapbooking again. These children need to know they are appreciated, celebrated and loved. Daffy has the scrapbook from her birth mom, now it’s time for me to tell the story of her “happily ever after” …