After you have decided you want to adopt domestically, you must create an adoption profile. An adoption profile is a book that an expectant mother can go through in order to learn about you and your family to see if she wants to place her child into your home. For some, this could be a stressful process: what do I put in it? Do I mention I am a hockey fan? How about pictures? There are so many different questions that could be running through your mind. Here are a few helpful tips for you and your family when putting together a great adoption profile.
One: It is all in your tone. While waiting to be chosen to be adoptive parents, you will come across different expecting mothers looking through your profile. One may be a 15 year old girl just starting high school, another may be a single mom in her 30s that already has 3 kids; there are many reasons why expectant mothers turn to adoption. Due to the fact that you don’t know every situation an expectant mother is coming from, you want to be careful not to talk down to her. You want to be respectful. This is a difficult time for her and you want to be sensitive to the difficulties she faces, such as lack of support from the father of the child, family pressure, lack of finances to parent.
Also, while writing the introductory letter to your profile you don’t want to use the word “Birth Mother”. That is implying that the expectant mother has already made up her mind to place the child for adoption. It is also eliminating the other people that may be helping with the decision, such as the birth father or the birth mother’s mom. A better term would be “Expectant Parent” or “Mother to Be”.
Two: Stay true to you. Your adoption profile is supposed to represent who you are and what you are like on a daily basis. Expecting mothers sometimes choose a family for an extremely random reason, such as; the type of dog you have, what your favorite football team is, or the fact that you have a big tree in your front yard. You may never know the reason for someone’s decision. Don’t hide the fact that you are a die-hard Penguins fan just because someone may not choose you; someone else may choose you just for that very reason.
Three: Be descriptive in your writing and use more pictures than words. You want the reader to be able to visualize what their baby’s home will be like and the life they might enter into. Choose the pictures of your home and family that best show off your personality and what you would be like as parents. Include also how you will be willing to keep in contact after the placement is made. Since this may depend on the situation, you might be general here and express openness for more or less contact depending on the desires of the birth parent.
Four: Don’t include identifying information, but use your first names and the general area where you live. This is to protect your privacy and because not all placements are “open”. Instead, prepare a cover letter that will be sent with the profile to the adoption agency and adoption attorneys who will show your profile to birth mothers. The cover letter should have your full names, addresses, best email and phone numbers, the type of child you feel comfortable parenting (age, ethnicity, special needs), the name of your attorney, and any other parameters that are important to you in terms of birth parents.
We talked to a family that had a very limited time frame in order to put together their adoption profile because the expectant mother was going to pick a family the next day. We asked them how they pulled this together in such a limited amount of time. Here was the outline they used:
1. Very first page you want to put an introductory/ Dear Mother to be/ To someone special letter.
2. How you and your spouse met (or just about you if you are adopting alone)
3. Two family pages, one page from wife’s side of the family and the other from husbands side
4. If you have a personal connection to someone who has adopted, you can explain why you are drawn to adoption because of that connection. This particular couple had other family members that had gone through the adoption process so they added a page that told a little bit about them, with pictures and explaining why adoption was important to them.
5. An interest page of the things you enjoy doing, as a couple, as individuals.
6. The couple wrote a page for each other. The wife wrote a page on what her husband was like and what she thought he would be like as a dad and her husband did the same for her.
7. They included a page for their dog and included pictures of him with children so it was easy to see that he relates well to children
8. The last page was a conclusion letter
Costs: Some people may think that it costs a lot of money to put together an adoption profile, but this is not the case. The couple we spoke with used Microsoft Publisher to create their profile. It was easy for them because the expectant mother wanted an electronic copy so they didn’t have to print it but even then, it doesn’t cost much to send it to a local drug store to print it out for you. Another little helpful inexpensive website to use to create your profile is www.shutterfly.com. If you have not yet located your birth mother, be sure to print out 5 to 10 hard copies of the profile in addition to the online version. You will want to give one to your adoption attorney and to other professionals who will share your profile with interested birth mothers. You may also want to post it online on a Facebook page or a parent profile type listing.
Remember to stay true to you and trust that there is a birth mother out there who will be a perfect fit. She is waiting for someone exactly like you and all that you have to offer.