It’s been a while since I’ve written a new post on the blog. Courtney and I have been busy moving to a new house recently, and I’m in the process of starting a new job, so finding time to write has been difficult, but I’m still here. We’ve also had to put our adoption plans on the back burner for a while, but as we get settled into our new home we will start moving forward again. We are still trying to wrap things up for our home study (Part 4 of my home study blog post series will be coming soon), and we will soon start working on what this blog post is all about: our adoption profile.
So what is an adoption profile you ask? Simply put, your adoption profile is your introduction to potential birthmothers. It is your way of telling them who you are, why you want to adopt, and why you think you will be good parents. It is usually the first impression that a potential birthmother will have of you, and since you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, it’s important to get it right.
Adoption profiles come in many different forms. In this post, I’ll go over the basics of what an adoption profile is and what it should include. As we work on our own profile, I’ll continue to share more tips and resources here on the blog to help you write your own profile. For now, let’s start with the basics:
The Anatomy of An Adoption Profile
Every adoption profile is different, as every couple or family is different. What you decide to put in it is up to you, but most adoption profiles follow the same basic structure. Let’s look at some of the most common parts:
- Introduction: Sometimes called the “dear birthmother” letter (although I personally don’t like to call it that), the introduction is just that: introducing yourself to the expectant mother. This is where you say hello and show your appreciation to the mother for considering you as adoptive parents for her child. It should include a good professional looking portrait of you and your spouse (and children if you have any).
- About You: This is where you give some background information about yourselves as a couple or family. Tell your story and why you want to adopt. If you are a couple, tell how the two of you met. You can also use this section to talk about your values and what kinds of values you plan to instill in your children.
- About Him/About Her: If you are a couple adopting, it’s important that each of you have a brief section about yourself individually. You can each write your own section, but what I find works even better is having your spouse write the section about you and vice versa. Talk about what you love about your spouse and why you think he or she will make a great parent.
- About Your Children: If you already have kids, write a brief section about them. Talk about what they love to do and how you like to spend time with them. Potential birthmothers would love to know about any brothers and sisters their child will have, but it will also give them a glimpse at how you are already parenting your children. If your “children” are pets, be sure to include them as well!
- Family Background: This is where you talk about the families you grew up with and the relationships you have with them. This will not only give the birthmother a glimpse at the family life that their children will be adopted into, but it will also give them an idea of the family values you were raised with and will pass on to your child.
- About Your Home: Tell a little about the house you live in and also the surrounding neighborhood and town. Include pictures if you can. The mother may like to know about the surroundings their children will be raised in. You can talk about the schools in the area and what kind of recreational activities there are in your area.
- Leisure Time: Talk about what you like to do in your free time. This is where you can talk about your hobbies, what kind of vacations you like to take, and other fun stuff. Be sure to include lots of pictures here.
- Fun Facts: This part is optional, but many adoption profiles include things like favorite foods, movies, books, etc. This may seem like unimportant stuff but it might help you connect with the mother even more. It gives them a little more insight into your interests and personalities.
- Closing: Finally, wrap it all up by thanking the reader for taking the time to read your profile. Include contact information for you or your adoption professional so that they will know who to contact if they are interested in placing their child with you.
Again, the information included in each adoption profile varies. I recommend talking with your adoption professional about what information they want you to include in yours.
Types of Adoption Profiles
Now that you have an idea of what to put in an adoption profile, let’s take a look at different types of profiles.
A printed profile can take the form of a book, scrapbook, leaflet, or other printed media.
Printed profiles are easy to make yourself, although you can also hire an adoption profile service to make one for you for a fee. You can ask your adoption professional if they can recommend such a service or even if they provide a service themselves. But if you are more of a do-it-yourselfer, you can easily create your own profile book using computer software or your own scrapbooking skills. You can even create a photo book using a service like Shutterfly or Smilebox.
If you do decide to create your own, you might want to look at some sample adoption profile books for examples and inspiration. You can easily find these with a Google search.
Once you are done creating your profile, you can hand the finished product to your adoption professional, and they can show it to interested birthmothers. You may want to consider making a few copies just in case.
Digital profiles are basically profiles that are found online. You can post a profile on an adoption profile website, you could create your own website, or you could create a page on Facebook or some other social media website. Many adoption agencies offer an online profile as part of their services, so be sure to ask. The benefit of online profiles is that you can reach many more potential birthmothers across the country.
If you can, I would recommend creating a website or blog for your adoption. You don’t have to have a lot of technological know-how to do this; you can easily create one using an online service like Blogger or WordPress, or you could simply create a Facebook page. Not only is a blog or website a great place to post your profile to find a birthmother, but it’s also a great way to spread the word to your friends, family, and community about your adoption so that they can help you out. You can use it to announce news, fundraisers, and other events.
If you are not interested in creating one yourself, there are many services online that will create an online adoption profile or website for you for a fee. Some of these services can even optimize the website to make it easier to find in online search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. This can definitely be worth the investment.
A video profile can convey your message in a way that a written profile can’t. The birthmother can see your facial expressions, hear the tone of your voice, and get to know you on a deeper level than she would from a written profile. If you really want to get a mother’s attention, you should seriously consider creating a video to go with your written profile.
You can easily create a video yourself with a camcorder, a tripod, and some simple video editing software. It doesn’t have to look professional, but you want to make sure the lighting and the audio are good enough to make a decent quality video. If you would rather spend a little money to make it look more polished or professional, you can hire a videographer. Once you have the video made, you can burn it to a DVD to include with your printed profile, or you can put it on YouTube to include with your online profile. Again, there are services out there that can create an adoption profile video for you, and some agencies even do this for their clients, so be sure to ask.
A Few General Tips
No matter what you put in your profile or what form you put it in, there are some general tips you should keep in mind:
- Be yourself. Let your personalities shine through on your profile. Don’t try to be someone you’re not or make things up to impress; that can backfire in a bad way. It’s always best to be honest and genuine.
- Show genuine concern for the mother. Remember, it’s not about you. Most of the women you’ll be reaching don’t really care that much about your desire to be parents; they just want to do what is best for their child and themselves. Don’t try to pressure them into choosing you to adopt their child; be respectful of the fact that they are making a very difficult decision and allow them to make that decision on their own. Just focus on being genuine and telling your story, and someone will choose you.
- Tell stories and be descriptive. Instead of saying “We love to travel,” tell a brief anecdote of one of your favorite vacations. Instead of saying, “My wife is a great cook,” talk about how everyone raves about her homemade chocolate chip cookies. People love to hear stories. Don’t go too long, but be descriptive enough to paint a vivid picture of your lives. It will make your profile much more engaging.
- Include lots of good action photos. Also make sure to include lots of good action photos showing you doing the things you love the most. If you enjoy camping, include a picture of you pitching a tent or building a campfire. If art is your thing, include pictures of you painting or sculpting your masterpiece. Make sure your smiling faces are visible in the photos; you want to show how much you enjoy these activities.
- Look at examples for inspiration. If you are feeling stuck and don’t know what to write, look up some adoption profiles on the internet using a Google search. There are hundreds of adopting couples out there with profiles on the internet, so they shouldn’t be hard to find. Pick out a few that jump out at you and use them for inspiration.
- Have fun! For couples, this can be a fun process that brings the two of you closer together. So don’t look at this as some kind of chore that has to be done. Work on it together and have fun with it!
Question: Do you have any tips of your own to share about creating an adoption profile? What has worked for you, and what hasn’t? Sound off in the comments below!