For many adoptive parents, the most daunting part of the process doesn’t even involve the child directly. It’s the profile – the detailed document you create about yourself so birth mothers can select you as parents. Since this document affects your chance of being chosen, it’s a good idea to put good effort into its content.
Essentials of a winning profile
Creating your own profile gives you a chance to step back and see yourself as you want others to see you. At Shorstein & Kelly, we purposely limit the number of adoptive parents we work with at any given time. This policy makes it easier for your profile to get noticed. The basic elements of a strong profile include:
- The profile cover should be simple and include your first names and your best recent picture.
- A letter addressed to the birth mother. If possible, it should be personalized to the interests of the particular birth mother.
- Photos with detailed captions for all sections listed below (Instead of saying “This is us on vacation last year,” describe what you’re doing in the photo, how much you enjoyed it, or something that you learned about the experience).
- Individual sections about each family member including activities, hobbies and interests. Talk about your work, your upbringing, education and values. If you already have one or more children and/or pets, you can mention them too.
- A section that includes physical description of your home environment and the community where you live.
- A section about your family activities – including vacations, hobbies, interests.
- A section about your future plans – where you’re headed professionally, physically, spiritually – if you are looking for a more open adoption, say it!
- Conclusion, thanking the birth mother for her decision and recapping the main reasons why you could be the perfect choice.
You don’t need a separate page for each section, and you can structure your profile in any way that feels natural for you. Some people use a Q&A format. Others prefer it to read more like a long personal letter.
Profile writing tips
Consider these suggestions for writing an effective profile.
- Write in first person (“I” and “we” rather than “he,” “she” or “they”).
- Write from your heart and be genuine in everything you include. Put your best foot forward and let your personality come through.
- Remember the goal: To connect with the birth mother whose child is perfect for you. You don’t have to be all things to all people.
- Put yourself in the reader’s (i.e. the birth mother’s) shoes. What kinds of details would she want to know about someone who wants to adopt her child?
- Focus on what makes you stand out. Anyone can claim to live in a nice neighborhood. Paint a picture of yourself, including relevant details like schools, neighbors, resources, recreation.
- Assess your strengths realistically and write about them in a way that connects to the child’s welfare.
- Write to the birth mother as an equal – without unintentionally sounding like you’re patronizing or talking down to her. Empathize with her humanity and her situation.
- Sign the letter with your first name(s).
It takes work to write a compelling profile. Just the act of writing your profile will give you perspective on your own adoption goals and aspirations. It will give you a chance to think about how far you’ve come and where you’re headed. Most importantly, it’s an opportunity to communicate directly with the birth mother whose child might be perfect for you.