Nova’s Adoption Story Photo Book

I cried six times while working on this photo book (yes, haha, I counted!). It’s impossible to sum up in words all of the emotions we felt throughout our adoption. It was truly the most magical, painful, surreal, wonderful and brutal time in our lives. All of those emotions are real. I put off starting this book for nearly five months because I was so intimidated to try to capture all of that. In the end, I kept it pretty simple—mainly photos—and told the story as truthfully as I could.

For this post, we partnered with Canon USA to create a custom photo book. It was my first experience with their hdAlbum PRO photo books, and it won’t be my last. The software was super easy to figure out. I decided to make a 10×10-inch album with a photo cover. It’s super high quality with glossy pages. I used a mix of high quality and low quality images in my book (some of it is actual screen shots, but they are still important memories I wanted to include) and it worked out seamlessly. If you want to make your own custom photo book, visit and you can use the code ABM18A for 40% off all hdAlbum photo books through 6/3.

Start to finish, our adoption process was 18 months. We kept a private Instagram account for so much of that time to document our process. I pulled images from that for all of the stories of the adoption process before we met Nova. One of the most important things I wanted to include in this book was all of the photos we had of Nova while she was in China. Recently, we were able to receive even more photos, which are such a treasure to us. I’m happy they are all now safely together in this album.

One of the best memories of our life. I wrote all the text from us to Nova. I hope that when she’s old enough she will see how loved and wanted she was, even before we were together.

The adoption process is so full of paperwork, notary appointments and post office visits. So this obviously needed to be included in our story.

This is from when we first found out what our official "family day" would be!

I also included a lot of little things in the book, like the fact that we consciously knew we were decorating our tree for the last time as a family of two.

There are no words to describe how excited we were.


 Our family day.

Nova’s first nap in out hotel room. We were just staring at her sleep.

I included as many full-page photos as I could. I really loved that about these albums! The full-page photos go all the way to edge and make the book look so beautiful.

Probably my favorite photo from our first day with Nova.

Our first plane ride.

This was one of the only family photos we were able to get in China.

The big moments are all there, but the little ones like this are what really tell the story. I got the maximum number of pages (100) so I could squeeze in as much as possible.

Flying to the US with Nova.

Our first morning at home—in Nova’s new home. I did a full page of text on the opposite page.

Even though this is a grainy phone photo, it’s one of my favorites and I love how it looks blown up full page.

And a few days after we arrived home we celebrated our first Christmas as a family of three. It was slow and quiet and very chill.

I ended the book with just a few family photos from around that time.

Here you can see how the book looks fully open. It’s nice and big, but still fits perfectly on our bookshelf.

And here’s the back of the book.

I already can’t wait to make another book. After seeing this book in person, I think I am going to do one large book for Nova every year. I think that’s a reasonable goal I can keep up with and then I may do some random book like vacations and stuff for my own collection, too.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on photo books and memory keeping with a young child! I’ll be honest—it’s a lot of pressure! Everything is SO CUTE and going SO FAST. I think that these books will be a simple, realistic way for me to keep up with documenting her childhood.

Thanks for reading! Elsie

Credits//Author and Photography: Elsie Larson. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.


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