Ask AF: Age-Appropriate Adoption Books

Are two adoption books better than one?

Q: I’d like to create an adoption book for my three-year-old son, but how much information should I put in? How can I compose the book so that it will be appropriate now and when he’s older? Or should I make more than one version?


A: Three-year-olds can understand only a very basic version of their adoption stories — but they love hearing it told over and over, in a happy tone of voice. Kids this age also like looking at pictures of themselves and the people they know. If you’re game to make two versions of an adoption book, this might be the way to go.

For now, compose a simple storybook with one photo and one line of text per page. Ideally, you’ve already been talking with your son about adoption. Follow the same storyline. Make the book kid-friendly by color-photocopying the pages and laminating them or by putting them in clear page-protectors in a slim binder.

When your son’s older, and asking many more questions about adoption and his birth family, you can create a more detailed book. You may want to include copies of letters from his birth parents, adoption papers, mementos from the hospital and the trip you took to adopt him, and other documents.