You want to adopt a baby. You do an internet search, and you’re suddenly inundated with 2,000 profiles from smiling people who want to adopt a baby. “Well, that’s…overwhelming.” You mutter as you close your laptop and go try to process what you’ve seen. How are you going to stand out among all of those people? They’re so pretty and put together. They look perfect. Who would pick you out of those people?
Perhaps I’m projecting. I tend to overshare—y bad, guys. However, I don’t think I’ve missed the mark when I say coming up with an adoption family profile feels overwhelming. I don’t think I’m out of line when I say that the almighty Google is not our friend in this. You don’t want to see other people’s profiles right now. You want to know what to put in yours. That, my friends, is what I’m here to help you with.
What should you include in your Adoption Family Profile? What should you leave out? Does it matter? Will anyone even look at it?
The point of an adoption family profile is to attract an expectant parent to your family. This seems obvious, but what you might not know is that so many birth mothers said small details that seemed insignificant at first made them feel connected with the prospective adoptive family. For example, maybe the couch in one of the photos reminded them of their grandma’s couch. They loved their grandma and sitting on that couch. They decided to contact that couple and loved them right away. Maybe it was a dog in the picture or a cat. Maybe it was because the family didn’t look “too perfect.” Maybe it was the mom who planned to be a stay-at-home mom, which felt important to the birth mom. So, you never know exactly what will attract a birth mother to your family. Here are some guidelines to think about.
The adoption family profile is your introduction. It’s your way of saying hello to a bunch of people at once and hoping that one of them will want to say hello back. Make your hello as welcoming as possible. One way to do this is to have nice pictures. You don’t need to have perfect pictures but do have some professionally taken if you can. You need several different shots: you, your spouse (if you have one), your kids (if you have them), pets, your home, including bedrooms, toy rooms, living room, the front yard, back yard, and vehicle.
You need to include information in your adoption family profile about who you are. Is church an important part of your life or not? Are you an active family of mountain bikers, rock climbers, and runners, or are you happy couch potatoes? Are you active in your community or homebodies that love nothing more than to hang out and read books together? Let expectant families know that. They are trying to find a family for their baby, and they want to know all about you.
Unfortunately, if you make a bad first impression, you don’t really get a second chance here. You may have no idea that your profile was even viewed, depending on where you choose to have it broadcast.
Things to Avoid
Polarizing Political Statements. You are absolutely allowed to share your opinions in person, but sometimes you can scare people away by being too aggressive too soon. You don’t want to be deceptive, but you also don’t want to be offensive.
Being Condescending. No one appreciates being spoken down to. Avoid language that infantilizes birth parents, discusses their maturity or lack thereof, talking about their child as if it is already yours.
Promises You Can’t Keep. Don’t promise once-a-week visits or skype visits every month. You don’t know what their schedule looks like, what your schedule will look like with a new baby. Don’t start off on the wrong foot by making a promise you both know will not be kept.
Things to Include
Cute Pictures of everything important to you are a must. Go crazy with your creative side. There are templates you can download to organize your pictures. If you are making a physical copy, a cute photo book can be brought together fairly inexpensively on many different apps and websites. While old-school scrapbooking has fallen out of vogue, this is also an option.
Your Parenting Plan. How will you parent when the baby is in your care? Will you use daycare, or will one parent be staying home. Will you use public school or be homeschooling? How do you plan to discipline? Will you want to adopt again or have any more children?
Why You Want to Adopt. Do you want to adopt because you are suffering from infertility? Do you want to adopt because someone special to you was adopted? Were you adopted and want to do the same for another child? Your answer to this question could be a big reason someone chooses your profile.
What Can You Offer a Child That Others Can’t? Their own bedroom? Three sisters, who will dote on her? What makes your family different from the thousands of others vying for the same attention from birth parents?
What Kind of Parent Will You Be? Do you believe in attachment parenting, in strict discipline, or that kids will be kids? You need to have an idea, and you need to be able to explain your parenting philosophy.
While looking at all of the adoption profiles online will be counterproductive and overwhelming, looking at several to get some ideas is a good idea. Here are a few that are well put together and make the families stand out.
The sweetest thing about this profile (besides the adorable schnauzer in the pictures) is the “Matt described by Ashley” part of the profile. Listen to how she describes him, “There are so many wonderful things I could say about Matt, but I will try to keep it short! Matt is a deeply intellectual, easy-going, analytical thinker who enjoys traveling, teaching, and spending time with our friends and family. He is constantly learning new things, whether that involves researching financial investments, scuba diving, or how a specific kind of jet engine works. He is kind and generous, which I see every day by how he treats me, how he cares for his patients, and how passionate he is in providing medical care in underserved places like Kenya and Ethiopia… nephew and Macy is any indication, I know Matt will be an amazing, invested, joyful, and excited parent to our child.” Isn’t that the sweetest thing!
Gosh, guys, I kinda want Matt and Ashley to adopt me, okay? I love the super sweet way Ashley describes Matt and the creative way they introduce one another that doesn’t feel like bragging. It feels like pride and appreciation, which is different than if Matt had said, “I’m a good Doctor who does XYZ.” And while I understand the whole point is to make people fall in love with them, I think this profile does a great job of not overdoing it. Or maybe I can’t stop staring at the cute puppy Macy. No telling.
Okay, I changed my mind. I want Tommy and Brenda to adopt me now. They are the sweetest, and their baby girl looks like she’d make a great sister. She’s adopted, and they are hoping to adopt again to expand their family! As a two-time adoptive mom, I think that’s pretty special. I hope this family is found by a birth mom who chooses them to parent.
Something I think they did especially right was the letter they included. You don’t have to include a letter, but a lot of people choose to. If it’s overdone, it can come across wrong, but I don’t think this one is. Here is a quote from their letter:
“We believe that every person has a unique light shining inside them, and we hope to allow that light to shine as brightly as possible in our children.
We will lead by example so they learn kindness, confidence and courage. We want to teach
them that every single person is doing their best, and every person deserves to be respected and loved. We also understand that we’re relatively new to this parenting thing, and we’ll be learning just as much as our kids do along the way. 🙂 We want to hold beliefs lightly, take each day in stride, and trust that love will guide us.”
How perfect is that?! Looking through all of the very precious pictures leaves me with a sense that they mean what they say.
I thought I’d include one more profile to give an example. Three seems like the right amount to get a good idea but not feel too overwhelming.
Scott and Katie
I don’t think I want Scott and Katie to adopt me (not that anyone wants to adopt a 39-year-old), but I do feel an overwhelming desire to be their friend. They look like they really enjoy one another and their son. I’m also a bookworm like Katie, so I feel like we’d connect really well. Or maybe it would be weird since I’m endorsing her adoption profile, and she doesn’t know me. Maybe.
Scott’s sister wrote, “Scott and Katie are two of the most genuine people and parents that I’ve known. Their love of life and family is something I wish everyone could experience.” I love that they included kind things that people have said about them. Again, it doesn’t feel like bragging, but it does give a good impression of who they are as people. I think that’s a good call.
So there you have it. There are three very different adoption family profiles. Some have children already, and some don’t. Some have pets, and some don’t. They all varied in length and the type of people in them, but they all shared important characteristics. They promote prospective parents without bragging in an unattractive way. They showcase the best parts of their families. They have cute pictures and fun information about the families in question. They give a good snapshot answer to the “who are you” question.
I hope these families and yours are able to be matched with their adoptive children, and everyone can have the greatest lives together. I really love adoption, and I think it is such a great thing when done correctly.
All of these profiles and so many more can be seen on Adoption.com. If you’re interested in contacting an agency to begin the adoption process, Adoption.com is a great resource. There you can find other people on the same journey you are on. You can connect with caseworkers who will help you craft your adoption family profile in a way that screams, “I’d make an excellent parent for your baby.”
Adoption family profiles are a huge part of what will help you be selected as a potential adoptive parent. Make sure you take the time to consider what you want to say to a birth mother. Think about what you might like to hear if you were in that position. Getting to hear the hearts of birth mothers has made me painfully aware that for a few different turns in my life, I could have been in their shoes. In fact, most people, had things worked out differently, could be in a similar place. While writing to them, be aware that they are struggling to make the best decision they think they can for their child. Don’t be condescending or preachy but do let them know you care about them as much as you care about their child.
Good luck on your journey in crafting your adoption family profile.Are you ready to pursue adoption? Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98 to connect with compassionate, nonjudgmental adoption specialists who can help you get started on the journey of a lifetime.
Christina Gochnauer is a foster and adoptive mom of 5. She has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Letourneau University. She currently resides in Texas with her husband of 16 years, her children ages 3, 3.5, 4.5, 11, and 12, and her three dogs. She is passionate about using her voice to speak out for children from “hard places” in her church and community.