From the Cover of Life Work with Children Who Are Fostered or Adopted by Joy Rees:
“This new book from life work expert Joy Rees explains the value of effective and meaningful life work with children who are fostered and adopted, and how best to carry it out.
This book will help social work professionals, foster carers and adopters understand the many aspects of life work, and to consider the important contributions they can all make to this task. Life work is about helping children know and understand their personal stories and the life experiences that have shaped them. Enabling children to reach their potential and achieve the best possible outcome is the common goal, and this is best achieved by using the collaborative approach to life work advocated in this book.”
Transfiguring Adoption awarded this book 5 Hoots out of 5 based on how useful it will be for a foster/adoptive family. [Learn more about our Hoot grading system here]
What Our Family Thought:
This book provides caregivers and professionals with information about life work (also known as life story books, life journey work, etc). The author breaks down the specifics of the definition of the term life work, as well as going into clearly understood purpose for the importance of a life story book. She states, “The fundamental purpose of life work with all children in care is to help them understand their history and to gain a sense of their identity.” Next, Rees explores theoretical framework, having “thorough knowledge of child development, including brain development, attachment theory, and developmental trauma.” Each stage of developmental age is explored in relation to how to tackle life work at the different developmental stages, what is developmentally appropriate. The next section in the book discusses the importance of the child’s team and their knowledge of their story/development/life details. These important people in the child’s life can help make sure every detail they know can be recorded and documented for the child’s life work. The information gathered can really help the child put the pieces together in the future, pieces of their story that they may not have any information about. This section of the book seems to have the most detailed examples of what can be used to create life work for a child: Preparation and processing, observation, listening, and play, memories, memory books, and boxes, photographs, life journey work, therapeutic stories, child appreciation days, life story books, later life letters, contact, and finally, adoption and care records. The appendix in the book has sample questionaires for caregivers/case workers to fill out, sample later life letters, and suggested reading lists for adults and children.
This book has done a wonderful job of explaining the why’s as well as the how to’s to help professionals as well as caretakers help create life work for children in foster care or adoption. It stresses the importance of coming together as a coordinated team for the sake of the child’s story, helping the child have a more thorough documentation of their past, for them in the future.
A quick and easy read, this book is for sure worth sharing with others in the adoption and foster care community. It isn’t just perfect for the foster/adoptive family but also therapists, case workers, judges, teachers, etc.