What is a Parent/Adoption Profile?
When we started our adoption process, creating our parent profile wasn’t something that made me anxious. Back in the pre-everything-digital days, I enjoyed creating scrapbooks and I imagined creating our profile book being similar—snippets of our family and the things we enjoy.
In reality, “enjoyable” would probably not even make the list of 50 top adjectives I’d use to describe that process. Agonizing. Painful. Intricate. These were more likely to describe the process for me. In the end, totally worth it, but I spent hours upon hours creating and deleting (rinse and repeat) our family’s profile book.
What is a parent profile? At its most simple, it is a condensed way to present your family and all that you represent to an expectant momma. In reality, it is the book that a pregnant young woman will read as she tries to make one of the most difficult decisions of her life—-who is the right family for her baby. Ideally, this book will help her envision what it would look like to be a part of this family.
I spent an embarrassing amount of hours reading about exactly what should and should not be included in a profile book (and then ignoring most of that advice), creating a book that was both engaging and informative, and long enough to share everything about us without being so long that it was arduous to read. Considering the amount of time spent on our family’s book, I love that our baby’s birth momma, and one of my very good friends, still refers to things in our profile book years into our open adoption.
What Formats Can Be Used for An Adoption Profile?
From the very beginning, I wanted our family’s adoption profile to be in a scrapbook format. However, there are several options to use when creating your parent/family profile. One popular option is to create an online profile—either through your adoption agency or your very own webpage. There are services available that will do this for you or provide you with templates to help guide you. To create our adoption profile book, I used a template for a photo book at Shutterfly. There is also the option of creating a profile video using a medium like YouTube. As a millennial, I typically gravitate to all things digital. For this book, it was important to me that the expectant momma would be able to hold the book in her hand and flip back and forth as she learned about the family she was considering being an extension of her family.
Are There Rules for Content in An Adoption Profile?
I tend to struggle with one-size-fits-all rules for most situations.
One of the main rules (suggestions) that I broke when creating our adoption/parent profile was not to include many pictures of your other children if you are already a parent. Being a mom is who I am, and who I spent most of my life dreaming to be. I decided that, although I understood the logic behind the rule, it would be choosing not to show the core of who I am not to include pictures of my husband and me being parents.
Another rule (suggestion) that was commonly shared was to not give too much identifying information in your profile. If you post a picture of your home, make sure that your house number isn’t showing on the mailbox. If you are sharing that you work as a nurse at a hospital in a small town, don’t post a picture of you in scrubs with the hospital logo (unless you plan to have a very open adoption where these details are known). Knowing that we were open to a great deal of possible adoption situations, we did opt to keep our very-much identifying information out of our profile book knowing that our book had the potential to enter a lot of hands. Although you very-well may share this information with your baby’s birth family, you will want to make that decision on a case-by-case basis and not provide it to every person who looks at your adoption profile book.
So, back to my original question.
What qualities ARE important in an adoption profile?
The most important part of your adoption profile is sharing details that paint a picture of your family in a way that is honest and easy and enjoyable to read. Pictures (with captions) that share your family members and things you enjoy are a great backbone to your profile. Our adoption book had the following sections, with information as well as pictures:
● “Dear Sweet Momma” In this section, we included a short note thanking the expectant momma reading our book for taking the time to “meet” our family and how excited we were to welcome another child into our family.
● Dad: In this section, we had a collage of my husband playing with kids and a list sharing his interests: Ben loves Georgia Bulldogs, coaching his kids’ baseball and soccer teams, and traveling to new places.
● Mom: In this section, we shared pictures and a similar list: Chasidy loves ice cream, playing at playgrounds, watching her kids play sports, and learning new things.
● Chasidy + Ben: In this section, we shared our story as a couple (a quick dating history, how long married, and things we enjoy doing together).
● Kids: This was a smaller section for each of our kids with each of their names and ages as a heading, a small picture, and a few fun things about each of their personalities.
● Our Community: In this section, we described our neighborhood, our church, and things we enjoyed doing in and around our town.
● Our Home: In this section, we included a few pictures of the common areas of our home as well as the outside of our house. We shared that there were many areas for the kids to play, enjoy doing crafts, play basketball, and ride bikes.
● Pets: In this section, we shared pictures of our pets complete with names and things they add to our family.
● Our Adventures: In this section, we shared things we enjoy doing as a family: “Sporting events, swimming pools, beaches, oh my!” We focused more on the things we enjoyed doing as a family—building sandcastles, finding new playgrounds, and making new friends—and not so much emphasis on the luxury of traveling.
● Our Adventures—Disney-style!: In this section, we shared our family’s love for all things Disney and several pictures from our trips to Magic Kingdom.
● Ben’s family/Chasidy’s family: In this section, we shared pictures of each of our extended families and shared various fun facts about them as well as what holiday traditions we have with each of them.
● We Promise: In this section, we shared the promises we planned to make to the first family of the child we eventually adopted. It is my favorite part of the profile book and something our baby’s birth momma and I have talked about often over the years. As important as I feel this section is, I feel it is equally important that you do not put any promises that you do not absolutely intend to keep. Don’t put things that you think will just make you look good if they are not things you actually plan to do.
● Thank You: In this section, we thanked our potential readers for taking the time to get to know our family and summarized a few of the promises from the previous page
What Promises Did You Make to Someone You’ve Never Met?
These were the promises that were printed in our adoption profile book and in my heart.
● To do what is best for the baby that joins our family—even if that is tough for us. The decisions that I make will not be made based on what is easy for me but is best for him or her
● To tell him or her about you, and that you love him or her so very much
● To share with the child as much of your (and your family’s) story as you want me to. You are not giving your baby up, you are placing him or her in a loving family that is prepared to spoil them and fight for them and make a lot of really sweet memories with them!
● To do whatever it takes to help him or her feel like a loved, special, valued, important (in no way less) part of our family; and we will do whatever it takes to make that happen!
● To send your pictures, stories, and keepsakes—handprints, drawings, letters— and be available to give updates so you never have to wonder if your baby is ok
● To provide a safe and warm home life where they feel safe and loved
● To take him or her to a church that not only teaches that Jesus loves him or her no matter what, but also teaches them to show grace and be kind
● To teach the child that although there are scary parts of our world, that it is also a beautiful place with so much good in it
● To encourage the child to do hard things, but also be right beside there cheering him or her on
● To support and give him or her the tools they need to be successful in whatever he or she does
● To fill the child’s life with friends and family that love and support
● To make sure he or she knows how very much you love him or her and support your relationship
Not only were these promises that we were making to our baby’s first family, but they were also promises that we were committing to use as the guiding principles of what would become a very important relationship in our life. In some ways, they were an outline of our parenting philosophies.
Whether you chose to make your own profile book or use a service to help you do it, your goal is to succinctly tell your family’s story in a way that shares your hopes and dreams, shares your heart and doesn’t feel like an embellished, unapproachable family. Take time looking at a few other family’s adoption profiles to get an idea of the type of information shared and things you liked and didn’t like about the way they tell their story.
Chasidy Brooks is a nurse practitioner married to her best friend and high school sweetheart, Ben. They are mom and dad to 4 kiddos, who are equal parts crazy and beautiful, ranging from preschool to middle school. Chasidy was born and raised right outside of Atlanta, Georgia, so it’s only appropriate that she cheers loudly for the Georgia Bulldogs and that her drink of choice is Coca-Cola. Her passion is for being an advocate and a voice for those whose voices might not otherwise be heard, and this is evident in everything she does. Chasidy is the founder of Rainbows from Raya, a nonprofit organization that supports adoptive families through grants and mealtrains.