From every perspective on adoption, there is a lot to say about adoptive parent profiles. For hopeful adoptive parents, there is a lot to know and understand about adoption before constructing your profile. For prospective birth parents, you need to know what priorities you are looking for in potential parents for your child, red flags, and non-negotiables.
An adoption profile is a document, either online or a physical book, that contains information about the potential adoptive parents, their hobbies, interests, etc., a letter for the expectant mother, and photos of the family, and whatever else they want to show about their lives.
In this article, we will talk about the things mentioned above and other important things to consider in creating, reading, and understanding adoptive parent profiles.
Hopeful Adoptive Parents
Couples and individuals may choose the route of adoption to grow their family for many reasons: infertility, same-sex relationships, worries and fears regarding the physical aspects of child-bearing, etc.
If you have decided to look into adoption, you have a lot to consider. The decision to adopt should not be taken lightly. Recognize that if you are chosen by a birth mother to raise a baby, that is an honor that, again, should not be taken lightly.
One of the first things you will need to do is create an adoptive parent profile. What is an adoptive parent profile? As mentioned in the introduction, hopeful adoptive parents construct a physical booklet or an online copy that contains information about the family and their daily life, hobbies, religion, occupations, etc. Hopeful adoptive parents (HAPs) should also add photos of themselves, their home, and other things that will give birth parents a glimpse into the potential life for their child.
As you begin to build your adoptive parent profile, it’s important to understand a few things about adoption. Adoption is life-altering and will have the standard ups and downs of child-rearing, but also the unique characteristics that happen in adoption.
In speaking with both adoptive parents and birth parents, one of the first things people mention is the vitality of presenting yourself truthfully. People have flaws, and while you maybe shouldn’t highlight them, you should recognize that you aren’t perfect.
One birth mom, who I will call Alyssa for the sake of her privacy, confided to me that the family that she chose for her birth daughter portrayed their life in a fairytale-esque manner. Looking back, she wishes she would have recognized that as a red flag and not a plus. She even mentioned how in hindsight, she wishes there would have been more candid photos, not just perfectly-posed pictures in manicured landscapes. Once the adoption was finalized, she saw the family’s true colors and wished she would have taken more into consideration before placing her birth daughter.
An adoptive mother I spoke to also expressed what Alyssa said, as well as her own considerations. Leanne, an adoptive mother to two girls, took time to write out things that hopeful adoptive parents may want to think about before and while they construct their profiles.
The first thing she expressed was the importance of acknowledging the gravity of an expectant mother’s decision. Acknowledging how difficult the decision to place a baby for adoption is and how your heart goes out to her is a very considerate thing to do.
Leanne explained that too often, adoptive parents forget that the expectant parents don’t owe them anything. The expectant mother is deciding for her and her baby and not for you.
Additionally, if you are chosen, that is not the same as finalization. The expectant mother has the right to change her mind until she has terminated her rights. Nothing is final until it is final. Leanne cautions HAPs not to assume ownership or ties to the baby, even if the expectant mother has “chosen” them, until all T’s are crossed and I’s are dotted.
She also recommended a “thank you” to be included in your profile. Just to be considered to raise an expectant mother’s baby is a huge honor and should be recognized. She went on to also say that “she is not giving you a puppy. She is potentially putting every ounce of trust in you to put her child in our arms.”
As with Alyssa, Leanne stressed the importance of portraying yourself honestly, to “give her the best picture of life under your roof as possible.” She is looking for a family that she feels would be the best match for her baby, and she must be able to get to know you as transparently as possible.
When writing their adoptive parent profile, Leanne and her husband Wayne included the happy times as well as the challenging times. Additionally, don’t be shy of including little details that are important to you. You never know what may stand out to the expectant mother. There could be one sentence that stands out and makes her fall in love with you as a family.
For Leanne and Wayne’s second adoption, the simple reference to their Jeep created a bond with the birth mother. The fact that they drove a Jeep stood out to her because she hoped to have a Jeep of her own someday.
She also recommended listing talents and hobbies. Expectant parents would likely want to know how you spend your time, so they can imagine what their child’s life would be like in your care. Even mentioning extended family and how a new child would fit in with the rest of the family is something to include.
Illustrate what you envision your adoption looking like. Do you want an open adoption, or do you expect a closed adoption? Why? If you are hoping for an open adoption, talk about what that looks like in your head. Do the same if you are hoping for a closed adoption. Explain what relationship you are hoping for in your adoption journey and how the expectant mother, and potentially the expectant father, would fit into the family.
When discussing adoptive parent profiles with birth parents, adoptive parents, and even adoptees, empty promises should not be made.
It’s an unfortunate reality that hopeful adoptive parents are so eager to become parents that they may fabricate their intentions to cater to what they think expectant parents may want to hear.
Baby fever is real. And too often, hopeful adoptive parents may make promises they have no intention of keeping. As you prepare to construct your profile, remember only to make promises you intend to keep. Don’t promise an open adoption if that’s not something you are actually comfortable doing. If you promise you will tell the child that they were adopted but then decide to keep their origin secret from them, that’s not fair to the expectant mother who trusted her flesh and blood to your care.
Please, please, please be honest and forthright in your expectations. Expectant parents make one of the biggest, hardest decisions of their lives, and they deserve respect, truth, and honesty.
Perhaps a side note, however, if an expectant parent does place their child with you, you are then responsible for protecting their child. If the intention was to have regular contact, but the birth parents do something to violate boundaries or trust, it is in your judgment to do what is necessary for your child’s wellbeing.
To start, my heart goes out to you. Whatever you decide to do moving forward with this pregnancy, it will be a decision with a lifelong impact. I hope that you are able to find peace in the turmoil and clarity of mind to guide you.
Earlier, I referred to a birth mom, Alyssa. Her experience is one that I think is incredibly insightful, unfortunately as a cautionary tale.
Alyssa had a couple of children of her own with her husband, but when she became pregnant with this baby, she realized that she couldn’t afford to add another baby to the family. Devastated, she and her husband decided to place their daughter for adoption.
Caught up in the anxiety and trauma surrounding the decision, she recalls how blurred her judgment was. In hindsight, the picture-perfect family she chose was just that. “Picture Perfect.”
The photos in the profile were all perfectly manicured. Not a single hair out of place, the children were all standing well-poised regardless of age. Their biography outlined their accomplishments and credentials. They were seemingly living a perfect life in suburbia.
They promised visitations and phone calls, among other things. But when all was said and done and the adoption was finalized, those promises were not upheld at all.
Alyssa and her husband were left high and dry, devastated that they had entrusted this family with their baby, and their promises meant nothing to them. They had been used solely as a means to get a baby.
Looking back, she remembers wishing she would have been more mindful of red flags reading through adoption profiles. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. She advises expectant mothers to look for people’s flaws. Not to just or be too nit-picky, but to find a couple that gives you a real, legitimate feel for the family.
There are some other recommendations that birth mothers have offered to expectant mothers. For many birth mothers, they chose to place their baby largely because they weren’t in a place where they could be the parent they wanted to be for their baby.
They would carefully consider the Hopeful Adoptive Parents and seek attributes and traits they someday hoped to have, for example, religious beliefs, hobbies, activities, and traditions. If it’s important to you that your child grows up in a home where Christianity is the belief system, you may want to consider looking through Christian couples. The same goes if you’re Catholic, or Jewish, or any other religion.
Similarly, if you want your child to grow up around music, you may find hope in the families that refer to their own musical hobbies and abilities. The same can be applied to sports, academics, etc.
Remember also that you don’t owe hopeful adoptive parents anything. The child you are carrying is your flesh and blood, and if you decide to place that baby, that is the highest of honors.
Don’t be afraid to be picky. If you are uncomfortable with things written in the profiles, move on to the next one. That’s perfectly natural and normal to do! You may also need to consider your priorities. You may not find a profile that checks every box, so you may need to compromise. Decide what things you will not negotiate on and the things that aren’t as vital to you.
A smaller thing that birth moms have recommended to look out for is the profile’s adoption language. Birth moms recount being turned off by profiles that addressed expectant mothers as “birth mothers.” Until rights are terminated, expectant mothers are not birth mothers. To refer to an expectant mother as a birth mother can come across as insensitive and that the hopeful adoptive parents already feel a sense of ownership over your baby.
Some birth moms I spoke to mentioned that kind of wording foreshadowed other behaviors. The adoptive parents who used more possessive terminology and referred to the expectant mother as a birth mother more commonly went back on their promises and plans for open and regular communication.
If you are in a position where you have some time to consider your options, do so. Regardless of who you choose to parent your baby, this decision will be part of the rest of your life. Consider and weigh your options so your mind can be as much at ease as possible.Do you feel there is a hole in your heart that can only be filled by a child? We’ve helped complete 32,000+ adoptions. We would love to help you through your adoption journey. Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98.
Hannah Jennings lives in Idaho with her husband, Nick, and her tabby cat, Charlie. Hannah is a singer/songwriter, and loves to perform. She is also a photographer and enjoys taking family photos. She has been an adoption advocate for more than five years and loves sharing her story as an adoptee.