Adoption Lifebook: A Bridge to your Child's Beginnings is an invaluable workbook for international adoptive parents wishing to document their children's early life for them.
A Workbook for International Adoptive Families

by Cindy Probst, MEd, MSW, LCSW

New 3rd Edition


Photos by Debra Samdperil

The Reviews


“This is a great idea and you have done it beautifully. I can recommend it to adoptive parents and children!”

- T. Berry Brazelton, MD
Professor Emeritus
Harvard Medical School

“Virtually all adopted children report intense longing for information about their early days or months. Cindy Probst has done a tremendous service to adoptive parents and children alike with this sensitive and practical guide to compiling information and writing about our children’s lives before they joined our families.

By helping parents acknowledge the difficult emotions surfaced in this process as well as by providing practical tips for how to document our children’s first months even when little or no apparent information exists, Probst will help a generation of children find some of the answers to their questions. This is a book no adoptive family should be without.”

- Susan Caughman
Editor and Publisher
Adoptive Families Magazine

(more reviews . . .)


About the Book


About the Author


Adoption Lifebook: A Bridge to Your Child's Beginnings is a new, easy-to-read workbook for international adoptive parents and waiting parents who wish to document their children’s early lives for them, in the form of a lifebook. Through exercises and the text, readers become more comfortable telling children the truth about their beginnings while emphasizing their strengths and resilience.

Adoption specialist Cindy Probst guides parents through such topics as talking with children about their birth parents and orphanage or foster care experience, answering “why was I adopted?” questions, and using empowering adoption language.

Adoption Lifebook: A Bridge to Your Child's Beginnings is an invaluable resource for helping children feel good about who they are.


Cindy Probst, MEd, MSW, LCSW, believes that the stories of children’s beginnings belong to them. She has a particular talent for framing difficult truths in ways that are empowering to children, and for teaching their parents to do the same.

Cindy works with parents to help them think about how to share the stories of their children's early lives with them, in ways that nourish the spirit, while also honoring the truth.

Cindy, an adoption specialist formerly at Concord Family and Youth Services in Massachusetts, is also an adoptive parent.


Purchase the Book


Contact the Author


Adoption Lifebook: A Bridge to Your Child’s Beginnings 3rd Edition (Softcover, 88 pages, 2007, $14.95) by Cindy Probst can be purchased at
Barnes & Noble
EMK Press
Emily’s Books
and other places where adoption books are found.

A portion of proceeds from the sale of the book is donated to international orphanage projects.


For more information about Adoption Lifebook: A Bridge to Your Child’s Beginnings or to make arrangements for a lifebook workshop in your area, contact or Boston Adoption Press, P.O. Box 623, Boston, MA 02134.

“Thank you so much for a WONDERFUL workshop. I feel so blessed to have attended. I feel as if some of the weight that I was carrying in my heart has been transformed into a basket of feathers... I feel lighter... I feel as if I have increased skills to help Mia on her journey. When I connect with how to reframe a situation that seems painful or hurtful, I am so thankful. Life is easier.

You have a loving and sweet approach which is full of skill and experience. I have received a few emails and people LOVED the workshop and report that they are putting what they learned into action already.......which I can also report.”

workshop participant


What is a Lifebook?


Additional Resources and Links


Adoptive parents hold in their hearts precious bits of information about the earliest days, months, or years of their children’s lives, before they joined their families. Parents understand this information to be invaluable to their children, yet wonder how to share it with them.

“Is it all right to tell her she was abandoned?”
“Do I need to talk about her birth parents? If so, how?”
“Can I stretch the truth or leave out painful truths?”
“What can I say when I know so little?”

Lifebooks allow us to share the facts, however few we have, sensitively and honestly, to help our children understand their beginnings. Through the process of creating lifebooks, parents become more confident sharing the truth while emphasizing their children’s strengths and resilience.


To learn more about Cindy's lifebook sessions for Families with Children from China, go to

Cindy will be speaking and signing books at the annual spring conference of the Adoption Community of New England (

Ethiopian Kids Community –

Families for Russian and Ukrainian Adoption –

Families with Cambodian Children –

Families with Children from China -

Families with Children from Vietnam –

Guatemala Adoptive Families Network –

Korean American Adoptee Adoptive Family Network -

Latin American Parents Association -

Our Chinese Daughters Foundation ( is a non-profit foundation that supports families with children adopted from China.

Adoptive Families (, is an award-winning national adoption magazine, and a leading adoption information source for families before, during, and after adoption. See book excerpt and review in May/June 2002 issue.


More Reviews


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“I am so glad that there is now an easy-to-use guide for families to make their specifically international lifebook. Cindy’s approach is warm and supportive, while imparting a wealth of knowledge about adoption and child development. This will be a valuable tool for adoptive families for many years to come.”

- Joan Clark
Executive Director
ODS Adoption Community of New England Inc.

“Sensitive, thorough, and extremely useful. This workbook is a superb resource for international adoptive families and waiting families. The author's detailing of the process of preparing a lifebook is invaluable to parents in becoming more comfortable and articulate talking to their children about difficult or unknown parts of their adoption story.”

-Janet Surrey, PhD
Stone Center, Wellesley College

“Adoptive parents recognize the importance of recording, preserving and talking to their child about their early history but often express a loss about how to do it. Ms. Probst’s step-by-step guide does a lovely job of explaining how each piece contributes to their child’s sense of worth and well being.”

- Carole Stiles, ACSW
Vice President of Social Services
Holt International Children's Services
Eugene, Oregon

“This great framework helps to breakdown the emotional barriers that many adoptive parents face when helping their children piece together their stories. It is my hope that Adoption Lifebook: A Bridge to Your Child’s Beginnings is a bestseller because I want nothing more than for adoptive parents to help their children feel good about who they are and where they came from. This workbook certainly helps all of us do just that.”

- Cindy Johnson
Adoptive Families Today, Illinois


“Are you stuck on doing a lifebook? Or scared to start a conversation about adoption with your child? Cindy Probst’s fabulous book, Adoption Lifebook: A Bridge to Your Child’s Beginnings, will inspire you to find the right path for you and your child. Cindy’s honest, compassionate book, with suggestions from the hundreds of parents who have attended her seminars, is a wise guide that enables parents to address adoption issues while strengthening a child's self image.”

- Shanti Fry, President
Families with Children from China-New England and the Foundation for Chinese Orphanages

“Cindy Probst has crafted a sensitive and fact-filled guide to lifebooks which will be of immeasurable help to adoptive families.”

- Mary Sullivan, Chair
Families for Russian and Ukrainian Adoption
New England Chapter

“Cindy Probst has provided a workbook for international adoptive families to help them create a meaningful lifebook from the perspective of the child. KAAN is happy to share this resource with its families of Korean-born children.”

- Chris Winston, Chair
Korean American Adoptee Adoptive Family Network

“This book skillfully addresses many of the difficult issues that arise when one begins the creative task of writing a lifebook for the internationally adopted child. I look forward to sharing this book with friends.”

- Kim DeAndrade
Guatemala Family Network

“Create a gift that your adopted child will treasure for years to come with this thoughtful and practical guide. Adoption Lifebook propels you step by step through the writing process, integrating their adoption history into your child’s unique story.”

- Allison Martin
National Director
Families with Children from Vietnam

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