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Before You Were Mine: Discovering Your Adopted Child's Lifestory Paperback – October 29, 2011


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Before You Were Mine: Discovering Your Adopted Child's Lifestory + The Connected Child: Bring hope and healing to your adoptive family + Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (October 29, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031033103X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310331032
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #100,590 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Susan TeBos (M.A., Western Michigan University) is the mother of three adopted children from Siberia. She has led many workshops for adoptive organizations and for adoptive ministries in churches. She and her husband, Michael, and their children live in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Carissa Woodwyk is a Korean adoptee. She holds a master’s degree in counseling psychology and is a licensed counselor and marriage and family therapist. She enjoys speaking on relationships, marriage, personal growth, identity, and adoption. She and her husband have two children and live in Hudsonville, Michigan.

Customer Reviews

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If you are an adoptive parent, PLEASE read this book!
Nicole Renee
This book would also be wonderfully used as a group study for adoptive families, and has simple homework/questions for pondering at the end of chapters.
Jennifer Vines
I read Before You Were Mine excited because I saw Carissa speak at an adoptive mom retreat.
K. King

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nicole Renee on March 14, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I recently heard Carissa Woodwyk speak at an adoptive mamas' retreat and felt compelled to buy this book immediately afterward. I have to be honest - even though my daughter has been home with us for almost two years, I had never put much weight in creating a Life Book for her. I naively did not understand. As an avid blogger, her entire life after she came became our daughter is documented in great detail. But her life before us? Not very much of it is known. Although we are an open book about her past for her, she's still a little too young to be asking many questions. Her time before us is an important part of her life that she needs to know about, as much as she can. How can she learn how to tell others about her past (if she wants to) if we don't teach her how to do it?

My eyes have been opened to the need of a Life Book for my daughter, in part because of this book. This is a project that I am now excited to work on! "Before You Were Mine" has been a tremendous resource in planning for it. It offers so much information ... all of the reasons WHY a Life Book is important ... a Biblical perspective of their life as an adoptee and scripture references to help you show your child that they ARE important and they are NOT a mistake ... many outside-the-box ideas for finding out information about your child's past when there isn't much to go on ... and so much more.

If you are an adoptive parent, PLEASE read this book! It is the only one you will need to get your child's Life Book created. The book is a wealth of information and will truly help you on your quest to write a Life Book for your child! Blessings to you on this journey!
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By K. King on November 30, 2012
Format: Paperback
I read Before You Were Mine excited because I saw Carissa speak at an adoptive mom retreat. I identified with her ways of thinking about talking with your children about adoption, race and how to talk to your children about their life and challenges. I just felt there was so much I could learn from her as an adoptive parent.
As I started reading Before You Were Mine, I felt I had addressed many of the issues it would be talking about. I was lucky that my adoption agency provided us with a pre made life book while we were in Ethiopia. It documented our daughter's life in Ethiopia once she came into care. Our daughter has this book in her possession and looks at them occasionally. I have also made books of our trip to Ethiopia and pictures of her friends from the orphanage and care center. I basically felt like I was done. I still wanted to get all of our paperwork organized for her to look through at some point but I felt pretty accomplished.
Before You Were Mine has made me realize I am not done. I need to keep going. I have so much more of her story to tell. And I saw her in the personal stories that the authors shared. I saw that she needs to hear all I can tell her about her life before me, what I know of what happened and why, and see the faces of the people who continue to love her from another country. It will help her in ways that I can't even define at this point in her life. I am so glad that I got to read this book and have it help me be a better mom!
I liked this book for so many reasons. I really enjoyed the personal stories that were told, how the lifebook can work in your life and your child's life, the different ways scripture was shown to incorporate into the lifebook.
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Format: Paperback
I heard Carissa at an adoption conference last year and was moved by her honest story and wisdom as a transracial adoptee, a family counselor and a mom. It's a privilege to be able to review her book and share what an encouragement it has been. I believe Before You Were Mine can benefit every adoptive family. I am recommending it frequently to my many friends who have adopted or are in process. I only wish I had read such a great perspective when my adopted son was younger, but am now eagerly anticipating completing his life book.

So much of TeBos and Woodwyk's book is practical, real encouragement to parents wishing to explain the story of their adopted children's lives before their adoption. I loved the beach ball analogy, though it was also a difficult visual to face personally. The authors remind us that as we push down feelings of loss or grief, or at the least, do not encourage release of them, it is like pushing a beach ball under the water; the harder we push down, the greater force with which it will erupt later. The loss of an adoptee is of great impact in his/her life, and must be dealt with - by both adoptive parent and the child who has suffered the relinquishment or abandonment. I greatly appreciated the tips on journaling our children's stories - keeping entries into the life book simple for younger kids and adding information verbally as they age and we share time together, reviewing their books. There was great encouragement to use teachable moments to validate feelings and encourage openness throughout the book, as well as examples of entries, how to handle difficult information, and Scripture to incorporate faith and the truth of God's Word as it applies to our children's lives.
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