Next up in the “Small Business Spotlight” is Holly Marlow, author and creator of some beautiful adoption notebooks.
One of the hardest parts, I think, about being an adoptive parent, is not always being able to answer our children’s questions about things that happened before we knew them. Notes on scrap bits of paper are better than nothing. But having a notebook filled with anecdotes, facts and information about their time with foster carers, is such an amazing life story tool.
That’s exactly why Holly she created her notebook range. They’re a great way for foster carers to record our children’s time with them and a wonderful tool to use for life story work.
Who I am
Hello! I’m Holly Marlow, parent to both biological and adopted children and author of various children’s books about foster care and adoption, including “Delly Duck: Why A Little Chick Couldn’t Stay With His Birth Mother.” My husband and I have two amazing children – a 6 year old biological daughter and a 2 year old adopted son, who has been part of our family for about 18 months. I also sell adoption and fostering related notebooks.
What inspired me to create notebooks
Our foster family gave us a contact record that was essentially a little notebook that she put in the bag for every contact session that my son had with his birth family. The foster carer wrote notes to his birth parents to say what time he was likely to need a nap, milk or food, whether his nappy had been recently changed, and what kind of mood he had been in that morning.
She also included little snippets of information about milestones he had reached and particular games and toys that he was enjoying, to help them to have the best possible experience in their contact visit. The birth parents replied in the book, sometimes asking questions or just saying how the visit went.
I think this book will be a real treasure to my son when he’s older and can read things that his birth parents and foster carer wrote about their time with him.
An adult friend who was adopted as a baby told me that he wished that he had contact with his foster family, as he felt that an important part of his story was missing. It occurred to me that a simple notebook could be a wonderful tool to support life story work and help fill these gaps in the stories of adoptees.
First I created a notebook for foster carers to record anecdotes about the child’s time in foster care, then another that adopters can use during the introductions process or early weeks together, when getting to know their new child. There are so many emotions during that time, I felt that a diary or journal to record special moments, anecdotes and feelings would one day be precious to a child and perhaps help them to understand another important part of their story.
I then decided to create some more notebooks that could be used as gifts for social workers and foster carers, because I found it difficult to find anything that seemed quite right for ours! I just love the illustrations that my sister created for Delly Duck and hoped that some people might like to see those familiar characters on their notebooks.
I recently decided to donate the profits from sales of my Delly Duck themed notebooks to a charity. I ran a poll on Instagram so that people could vote for their preferred charity from four options that I felt were really worthwhile adoption and fostering related charities.
It was a landslide! 79.7% of the votes were for Home for Good, a charity registered in England and Wales that exists to encourage people to foster and adopt, and inspire and equip churches to welcome and support families that foster and adopt. It’s wonderful to see that so many people feel it’s a worthwhile cause.
Plans for the future
The notebooks available at the moment simply have lined pages, but I am thinking of creating some with guidance – headers to help the person filling it out, so that they remember to record the key things that might be important to a child reading it later.
I am also working on some workbooks for adopted children, to help them to process their feelings about being adopted. I’m taking my time with these and waiting until I’ve had more input from adoptees, to make sure they are as helpful as possible.
Holly Marlow’s “Delly Duck” themed notebooks are available to buy on Amazon now!
This post includes affiliate links to Amazon. That means if you click on the links to the book and notebooks, and then buy them, I get paid a fee from Amazon.
If you’d like to read about more small businesses who’ve created adoption products, click here.