Once an expectant mother decides to take her adoption journey, several months into planning, she may be ready to select an adoptive family for her child. When an agency or adoption professional works with an expectant mother, they attempt to find the very best family for her by using what are called adoption or adoptive family profiles. These profiles come in hard copy or online and tell expectant parents a little more about the family and their adoption journey. The adoption family profiles are kept in the adoption professional’s office or are accessible on a website or even the families’ social media pages. Within these profiles, a family presents as much as possible about their lives and what makes them unique. Each family who creates an adoption family profile takes a great deal of time to prepare their stories so a perfect match can take place between them and an expectant mother. If you are an expectant mother, you will find some things to look for in an adoptive or adoption family profile. If you are a prospective adoptive parent, this article will help you know what important parts of your life to include in your online profile or book.
How Can I Know What I am Looking for in an Adoptive Family?
If you are an expectant mother and are working with an adoption professional, you most likely have to let them know what type of family you are looking for. If you are beginning your journey by self-matching through various social media sites, you may have made a list of things you are looking for in an adoptive family. Most expectant mothers start with the basics: the race of the family, the age of the prospective adoptive parents, whether the family has children, if the family lives in a large city or small town, how close the family is located to you, or whether religion is important to the family. Although there are many things on a list that expectant mothers look for, these are just a few things that you might initially be looking for in a family. Before beginning to look at adoption family profiles, take time to make a list of things you are looking for in a family. Rank those items from most to least important to you to make sure you are not overwhelmed in your decision. You most likely have a picture in your head of what you are looking for in a family. Although you may not find the exact family you have, you are likely to find one that checks the boxes, that you have an immediate bond with, that will carry you through your adoption journey and start you on your road to a lifelong relationship.
The Basics of the Book Often Tell a Much Greater Story
While not always the case, the story an adoptive family tells will reveal more about their lives than intended. If you are an adoptive family reading this article, choose the content in your profile with care and make sure your words, pictures, and story are not those an adoption professional chose for you. If you are reading this as an expectant parent, remember to look at the adoption family profiles with the respect that a family took the time to let you know what makes them special, but at the same time, try to picture your child in the life you are seeing on the pages of the book. As an adoption professional, I often tell families that if people are important in their lives, include them in the book. In the same regard, when an adoptive family fills the pages of their profile book with “things,” even though those things are good to see in a profile, they might be giving off the impression they value possessions over people, which is typically not the case. Some expectant parents would like for their child to grow up having the best of everything and might evaluate the house the family lives in, the car they drive, or the clothes they wear. While almost everyone would like for their child to have more than they can provide for them or more than they had themselves, it is important to remember all types of families have love to give and, at the end of the day, the love the family can offer a child is invaluable.
A Few of my Favorite Things
Often in an adoption family profile, you will find a list of favorite things created by the couple. Some topics that might be included are favorite foods, movies, vacation spots, pets, hobbies, or memories. As you look at the list of favorite things that the couples include, take note of similarities you have with the couple. You may love Italian food or Star Wars and will find one of the family members likes them as well. Often with expectant mothers, one thing jumps out at them from an adoptive couple’s list of favorites that she connects with, and it makes her want to look deeper into this family. That is not to say if an adoptive family has no matching favorites with you, they are not your family. These fun lists often let you know a little more about the family in a more relaxed way. One list I enjoy seeing families include in their adoption family profile is things the spouses love about the other. In these lists, you find out more about the couple’s relationship with one another and those things that made them fall in love with the other. In these lists, you often find out something about the couple they might not reveal themselves, like how he loves to make up silly songs or she dances in the kitchen while cooking. The more little details you know about a couple, the more you can picture their daily lives.
Part of Their World
As you look at adoption family profiles, take note of who is in the couple’s photos. Do they have pictures of their extended family, as in grandparents, cousins, siblings, and parents? In looking at the extended family of adoptive couples, you can see what events they attend together, whether they do holidays as a couple or with family, and what members of a family your child will grow up with. You may have told your adoption professional you would like for the adoptive family you select to have a large extended family. In some family’s profiles, you may see pictures of large holiday events with matching family pajamas, or you may not see pictures of any extended family members. If the latter is the case, make sure to ask your adoption professional more about the couple’s extended family, as it is possible they just did not include those photos in their profile. If you are considering a family of a different race than yourself or your child, take note of who is in the pictures included in the profile. Do they have friends or extended family of a different race? Do they appear to be culturally diverse in their daily lives? As you look at a profile, take time to picture your child in the photos as you make your decision. If you can see your child growing up in that family’s home and with their extended family and friends, they may be the perfect choice for you.
Take in Every Word
As you look at an adoption family profile, you may find that a family includes their favorite quotes or Bible verses. If you are looking for a family where religion is important, you may find yourself drawn to those families who display their faith through their words. When an expectant mother does not have a strong emphasis on faith or religion, seeing too many Bible verses or quotes might lead them to believe a certain family is not a match for them. You may find that phrases or sayings in a couple’s profile book tell you more about the family than pictures might. Often an expectant mother will feel the family has put too many words in a profile book. Remember that adoption family profile books are made with care and time so you can know as much about a family as possible. Take in the words on each page and picture them being said out loud to you in the voice of the couple or individual you are reading about. Just as you might read a text message several times before pressing “send,” those making profile books have read their pages and looked at their pictures possibly hundreds of times before you are seeing it. Find something in each book you look at to connect with, and it might help make your decision on each family easier in the end.
Feeling Overwhelmed by All the Profiles?
You most likely have looked at five or more adoption profile books and might be feeling a bit overwhelmed at this point. As you look at piles of books, the best thing to do is make stacks of “yes, no, and maybe” for each couple or individual. First, make sure to look at every page and every word that a couple says. Even if you immediately think after seeing the cover page, this might not be the couple for you, take the time to look through their profile and give them a chance to get to know them better. Once you finish looking at all your books, if you have a “no” pile, set those books aside, knowing those families might not be your choice, but will be perfect for another expectant mother. Take a few minutes to look over the “maybe” pile again and decide if those profiles should go into the “no” section or to the families you need to take a closer look at. If you have a friend or family member whose opinion you value, you can ask them to look at your “yes” pile with you and start to narrow it down to one family. You might find yourself torn between two families and unable to decide between them. In this case, you may want to ask your adoption professional to set up a phone call or video chat with both couples to ask them any additional questions. For many expectant mothers, hearing the voice of the couples they are looking at helps them decide which one is right for them. Remember that you are making a choice for the life of your child, and this time of looking at profiles is not one you should enter into lightly. If you are not feeling secure in your decision to go forward with an adoption plan, do not involve an adoptive family in the process. Remember that while you are carrying a child physically, any family that you allow to bond with you and the baby is also expecting in their own way as they await the birth of a child.
The Next Step Is…
Once you have selected an adoptive family from the profiles you received, it is time to get to know more about the couple or individual you have chosen. If you know you want an open adoption with updates and visits, establishing a bond with a family will help you feel more secure in your decision and comfortable knowing the family you have chosen will be the very best adoptive parents for your child. Take time to text, video chat, and visit with the adoptive family in person, if possible. Just like any relationship in your life, adoptive family and expectant mother relationships have to grow naturally as time goes on. Throughout the days, months, and years to come, as you watch your child grow in the home you have chosen for them, you will have an extended family who loves you and your child more than you can ever imagine. Knowing that you ultimately guided your adoption plan by selecting a family who filled every wish you were hoping for you will give you confidence that your child will be loved by both you and everyone in his or her life for eternity.Are you ready to take the next steps on your adoption journey? Visit The Gladney Center for Adoption to learn more.
Marcy Pederson is a mom of three who lives in Texas and has been married for 24 years to her husband who was blessed by adoption. She has worked in adoption on and off for over 20 years and also has a degree in Special Education. Her passions are autism awareness and adoption and her faith and family are priorities in her life. She enjoys doing domestic and international home studies for adoptive families and working with expectant mothers throughout the adoption process. She is an avid reader and enjoys spending as much time as possible with her family traveling to new places. Marcy can be contacted at @little_flower_adoptions through their Instagram page.