Intended for expectant parents who are considering adoption, an adoption profile is basically an autobiographical letter or storybook that describes your lifestyle, interests, and family, as well as your thoughts about parenting and adoption. Along with photos, your profile is aimed at creating an emotional connection with prospective birth parents. One that could eventually lead them to place their baby with you.
Next to word of mouth, it’s probably the best tool you have to reach out to expectant parents and make that all-important strong first impression. So how do you do it? What should you say in your profile and how do you say it? Before you sit down and start the writing process, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Address the Prospective Birth Mom personallyAcknowledge that what she’s going through is super hard. What could be the best day of your lives could very well be heartbreaking for her. Let her understand that she is appreciated and respected and not just a means to an end. Realize that when she reads this for the first time, the baby is still hers and she probably hasn’t made up her mind as to what to do, but is just considering all her options.
- What will your life be like with her baby?Your past is worth mentioning, but won’t really affect a prospective birth mother or her baby. You can mention if you went through infertility, but details aren’t necessary. She really wants to be able to picture what her child’s life would be like with you. What are you looking forward to? What kind of parent(s) will you be? Do you have special traditions you are looking forward to sharing? Think future.
- Organize your thoughts (no tangents)It’s easy to get distracted working on such an important document. You might want to tell it all, or have no idea what to talk about at all. Your space is limited, so plan before you start and consider outlining what aspects of your life you want to share.
- Speak directly to the birth mother from both of youIf you are a couple, it’s important to the birth mother that you are both fully invested in this. One of you can write the letter if you’re more comfortable, but write it as if you are both sitting at the desk together. Use “we” instead of “My wife and I”, for example.
- Be descriptive (show don’t tell)As mentioned, prospective birth mothers want to know what life is like, and descriptive writing can make a huge difference. Consider, “Alice likes to cook and read.” It may be the truth, but it’s not memorable. How about, “Alice’s favorite weekend afternoons are spent in the kitchen with granny’s cookbook trying to perfect her lasagna. When it’s cold she loves to snuggle under a blanket on the couch with a good novel. She’s looking forward to sharing these moments with a kitchen helper and a snuggle bug to cuddle with.”
- Existing pictures (special occasions, vacations, holidays, etc.)Start your photo project by going through your existing photos. Look for fun ones that show special occasions, vacations and holidays. Don’t just pick the ones where you look the best, they might not show your personality or the fun you had as well. (the birth mom doesn’t care if you’re beautiful; she’s looking for a fun, kind, happy parent). Collect the pictures you might be interested in sharing.
- New pictures especially for this project (everyday life)If you stop with just the special occasion pictures, your profile will limit what your prospective birth mother learns about you. Think about your normal, day-to-day life. This is where you spend most of your time, so it’s important to give her an idea of what it’s like. Think about your hobbies and activities on a given weekend and make a list of the ones you’d like to share (skip the laundry and vacuuming parts). Consider your hobbies like hiking, gardening, walking or playing with any pets you might have, baking, golf (any sport), visiting local attractions, etc. Then ask a friend (a fun, patient one) to come snap some pictures of you. Participate in the activities and have fun. Don’t stand in the kitchen holding a pan, go ahead and whip up a batch of your favorite cookies. Don’t show us your golf bag, go hit a bucket of balls and take a ride in the golf cart.
- Show the activities (not just selfies)A picture or two of just your face(s) is important so a prospective birth mom can see who you are and what you look like. However, selfies in the car don’t say much. Avoid selfies that don’t show a fun, interesting background. It’s best to have someone else take the pictures so the whole activity can show, along with your personalities; most of us don’t have arms long enough to show a lot of background detail.
- Remove identifiers and distractions from the backgroundThink about what the pictures will look like to someone who doesn’t know you. Make sure your counters aren’t cluttered, laundry has been picked up and the trash can isn’t in the shot. Close cupboard and garage doors. Also check the area for items that might be a turn-off, like alcohol, cigarettes and guns.
- Have fun – it shows in the picturesThe best pictures are the ones that elicit a reaction from the viewer, and the best reaction is a smile. The best way to get that reaction is to have fun in the pictures. Enjoy yourselves and participate in the activities. If you don’t get through all the pictures you wanted to take in the time you gave yourselves, don’t worry. The quality of the pictures is more important than how long the process takes.
Take your time, but don’t let your momentum slow you down. This is a really important project; give it the time and energy it deserves! If you’re ready for birth parents to see your profile, contact Adoption Choices of Kansas and Missouri to get started on your adoption journey!