The adoption baby book application Our very first 1095 steps is the first interactive commemorative album for adopted children. It is based on a adoption baby book also titled Our very first 1095 steps. The album captures the first 1095 days of the child’s life and of the parents, it also includes moments from the preparations for the adoption until the first days of kindergarten and school.

The adoption baby book application is written by an adoptee. She uses her own experience of being adopted to identify the questions of adopted children, which remain relevant in their adult life. That is why questions regarding the child’s first home – an orphanage – and the social worker who conducted the adoption are included. The answers, entered by parents in the adoption process, may play a crucial role in the child’s search for his/her biological origins. It gives the parents an opportunity to provide the child with answers to questions that he/she might become interested in at some point that would otherwise be forgotten over the years. The application is also a great tool that helps parents tell their child that he/she was adopted in a relaxed way. The main goal behind the development of the application was to provide a child with his/her own unique album that demolishes the stigma of adoption and destroys the feelings of being left out. In this way, every child can have a baby book and won’t feel sad about not knowing how to fill in the parts about the first ultrasound and many more events that remain unclear.

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Adopted children may experience many situations in which they feel "different". Receiving a frequent gift of a baby book and not being able to fill it in with more than a few sentences is hard for the parents of adopted children as well. All marketing is basically directed at childbirth, which leaves us and our families somewhat deprived. I will never forget how much I wanted to have a beautiful baby book, just like the ones my friends have. However, a baby book with answers to my questions didn’t exist. I didn’t know when my biological mother felt the first kick or when she saw me on the ultrasound for the first time.

The moment you first met definitely represents a milestone for both parents and the child. Those who have experienced adoption would say that it’s similar to childbirth. It’s a moment when parents memorize every little detail. That moment eventually becomes the child’s favourite bedtime story.

The application captures the first 1095 days of a child's life with the adoptive family and there is hardly anything that remains unrecorded: preparations for the adoption, the first meeting, the journey back home, the first winter, new year, Easter, family celebrations, the first visit to the dentist, the first steps in kindergarten and the first days of school,...

All adoptive parents try their best to help their child discover his/her roots and thereby reduce the possibility of "identity crisis". This application is a great tool because it helps record priceless memories and information that could otherwise be forgotten over the years. The child will someday be immensely grateful to you for preserving them.

We, like many other parents, received baby books as presents upon the arrival of our two sons. Baby's first year, memories for life was written on one of them. This well-intentioned gift almost made me cry.
We became parents to two boys in the period of fourteen days. Our older son is adopted from Africa and is currently ten months old. His first photo in dirty yellow flannel pajamas was taken in a dark room in an orphanage. The only data we have on him up until the ninth month consist of his vaccination records. He missed out on the first forty-seven pages of the baby book. Luckily, we were at least able to document his first tooth and the first birthday.
The younger son was born three months premature. I doubt it very much that he’ll ever want to open a baby book in order to see his first photo in an incubator with eight tubes and the alarm machine that goes off if you forget to breathe.
Our first family photo was taken by a nurse on duty who had to thoroughly disinfect her hands after taking it. The photo consists of us three standing around the incubator in the intensive care unit for premature infants.

All this talk of diversity and treating children as individuals remains theoretical. In practice, however, we still follow the common and mainstream way. Typified memories of families, perceived as ideal, prevail: mother, father, two children and a dog in the front yard, accompanied by two pairs of grandparents. What about the single-parent families? Unmarried parents? Mothers who keep their last name? Or people like us who have two grandfathers and four grandmothers? What about same-sex families? Or families with many children? And families who have children with special needs? Or bilingual families? How about racially or culturally diverse families? Perhaps we decided not to talk about it on the referendum on Slovenian family law in 2012; however, children won’t cease to exist and grow up in these types of families despite pushing the subject aside.

I always resort to books when I find myself in distress or in a dilemma, which is why I began to research the field of adoption. I only found one scientific study on the topic in Slovene , a few master's degrees and doctoral dissertations, one picture book, a children's book about the different types of families and the first baby book for adopted children Our very first 1095 steps by Katarina Tomšič.
This is a wonderful book that supports and confirms the existence of different concepts of family life. It is made from personal experience and deep understanding of the need to "normally” integrate. The book provides my children with the opportunity to have their own version of memories. It gives the power to memorize key moments in an individual way which allows diversity among children, their upbringing, childhood and families. On the other hand it demolishes, normalizes and shows that same diversity in a positive light.

Katarina took it a step even further and developed a bilingual interactive baby book application for adopted children and an interactive baby book application at birth. That way she made the book accessible to all families outside of Slovenia. It wasn’t possible to print ten different versions of the book but this new technology enabled Katarina to develop her project in this direction.
The applications Our very first 1095 steps and Our very first 367 steps, united in the project Tody's Baby Book by Katarina Tomšič, are a step in the transition from words to action on the subject of recognizing diversity.

Ivana Djilas, mother

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