Adoption Profile, Adoption Letter, Dear Birthmother Letter, Adoption Brochure . . . these are all terms currently in use within the adoption community for the “letter” or “booklet” that prospective adoptive parent(s) (AP) are required to create. The adoption professional (attorney, agency, facilitator) uses this to present the AP to a potential birthmother, i.e. a pregnant woman who is considering placing her baby for adoption. Although most adoption professionals have or use a website with parent profiles on them, the basis for those online profiles typically starts with a hardcopy profile.
The adoption profile has two major components: photographs and narrative. The AP starts with writing their text for the narrative portion of their adoption profile. This includes things such as an introduction, how they met, hobbies, careers, family and friends, their neighborhood, a description of their personalities, pets, other children, and more. Once the narrative is drafted, the AP then collects and/or takes new photos to support the text, and selects a “main photo” which takes up a large portion of the front page of their profile.
When one thinks of creating an adoption profile that will be sent or taken to a woman considering placing her baby in another family . . . it kind of boggles the mind as to what details and photos should be included. It makes it feel very much like marketing yourself, and, in some ways, it is. But how do you figure out what is the most important information to include?
The key to preparing a good profile is to be as genuine as possible. Make sure to present a good representation of who you are and what being a part of your family might look like. This is done through descriptions in the text. If you live a “simple” life and enjoy curling up in front of a fireplace, playing board games on a Friday night, or strolling along the beach, that would have as much appeal to some people as the family who loves to hike, goes skydiving, loves riding ATVs in the desert, or plays softball in a local rec league. For a potential birthmother to connect with you, something in your profile must resonate with her, and it is impossible to know what that is. I once had a client whose child’s birthmother was excited that they loved Pringles potato chips, which the adoptive mom just happened be holding in one of the photos. That’s why having supporting photos of the things you typically do in the profile is important.
It is also important to depict yourself with children (show some experience with babies or young children), being active (show travel, hobbies, on the job), and with other people who will also be a part of your child’s life. If you are open to transracial adoption, then showing some diversity in the photos is also a good idea.
While your adoption professional may have specific guidelines for you to follow, you will also most likely be working with a graphic designer, preferably one who has experience in this area, who can guide you through the writing, and especially assist with photo selection.