ABC Adoption Parent Profile Guide

Adoptive Family Profile Guide

If you already have a profile, we would like you to submit 5 copies of it, for us to share with prospective birthmothers.  If you do not have a profile, we provide you with this basic outline.  We also recommend that you consider taking the course in developing an adoptive profile that is available through Adoption Learning Partners (www.adoptionlearningpartners.org.)

There are 10 key elements to a profile.  It is essential to convey information about your:

1. Personality

2. If married, about your marriage, the qualities you value in each other, how you see your roles as parents; if single, about your parenting plan, community of family and friends

3. How you celebrate holidays, favorite foods, hobbies

4. Home and community; pets if you have some

5. Job and how you will balance work with home

6. How you are touched by adoption – adopted members of your family or circle of friends, how you perceive adoption

7. Children in your life, your relationship with them

8. Diversity within your family and friends, especially if adopting cross-racially

9. Background issues about yourself, including mistakes you’ve made, whether you or family members have used drugs or alcohol, etc – be honest (but not confessional)

10. Your perspective on open or closed adoption and whether you have experienced infertility, and your motivation to adopt

First Impressions Matter

You want your profile to be fairly short – 2-4 pages, and illustrated with photos, and punctuated with HUMOR.  The first page is the most important.  A short summary about you is what you want, with photos that capture the quality of your life.  Think about the difference between these two introductions:

We are a loving couple and we want to thank you for letting us share our life with you.  We are grateful that you are making a brave decision to place your child for adoption.

We feel like we’ve been waiting all of our life to meet you!  The very idea of you getting to know us is brightening our day.  If you have any questions, we’d love to answer them.

Imagine you are a lonely, possibly depressed woman who is in need of support and acceptance, and may feel irritated with herself for being pregnant, and worried about her future.  You want your message to REACH her.  You want your message to click with her.  On one hand, you don’t want to seem so impossibly blessed that it scares her or causes resentment.  Yet, you want to assure her that her baby will be safe, well cared for and loved.

Finding your “voice” and a middle road between being emotional and factual is a challenge.  Most birthmothers prize honesty.  They are more moved by the tone of your profile than they are by the size of your house.  They may not care about open or closed adoption; don’t make assumptions.  They are not concerned about PhDs but they want to know their child will be nurtured and educated.  If you have pets, put them in a couple photos, being hugged or playing a game.  Your job is of less concern than conveying them that you like your work, find it fulfilling, and that you have plenty of time and energy left over to enjoy your family.  Which sounds more appealing to you?

We both work but have six months of leave time and we plan to take it all!  Martha is looking into a part-time or work from home arrangement, too.  Being parents is our number one goal.

We both work full time and John can take six weeks off after the baby is home and Mary intends to stay home for at least a year.  After that we will hire a professional experienced nanny.

Areas you may connect with a birthmother are holidays, cooking, food, movies, hobbies.  Homey topics are warmer than listing your degrees or accomplishments.  If you were a birthmom, which person sounds the most like a responsible and fun parent?

John loves rock-climbing and is a champion sailor.  We are both very outdoorsy and enjoy camping and fishing.  We are looking forward to boating with our child and teaching him or her to swim and fish.  We both love baseball and hope to see Little League in our future.

Mary loves to crochet and scrapbook and garden.  It may sound boring but we actually love to stay home, have a few friends over for a bar-b-que, and do chores around the house.  Jeff is very proud of his pumpkin patch.  It sounds silly, but he actually won a prize at the state fair when he was a kid!  We are always prepared for Halloween.

Sometimes it is hard to find a warm tone.  If you are extremely serious people, then admit it.  Say…

We are both research scientists and tend to be serious responsible types.  But we love snuggling on the couch with popcorn and watching a documentary on the lives of whales.  For us, that is bliss.  Along with going to museums and watching the stars and hiking and we want to share all of this with our child!  We love seeing the world anew through the eyes of a child.  We are affectionate and good listeners and ready to be parents!

Whatever sort of people you are, or lifestyle you lead, be honest.  Be warm.  Preparing a profile is not about preparing for a competition.  Yes, there can be lots of profiles out there.  Yes, you want to stand out.  But becoming a parent is not about being better than anyone else.  It is about being able to connect with a birthmother, which lets her know you will be able to connect with her child… your child.

Wrapping It All Up with the Photo Bow

Your profile is like a sandwich.  It’s held together by great bread – your introduction and your ending.  The details are in the middle, presented in a lively, caring, humorous tone.  Your photos are what draws the eye and illustrates your message.  Your photos need to be clear, bright, playful and expressive.  They should reinforce what you say and what you love.  Use colorful, emotional photos that grab the eye.

I love making quilts!

Kids with Tom at a party!

On a fishing trip!

My nephew and our dog Lucy!

Put in captions.  The photos are about you – you and your home, your dog, your holiday, your backyard party, your hike, your fishing, your visit to Grandma, your volunteer work with Habitat for Humanity.

You don’t need a lot of photos; no need to overwhelm.  But choosing a few, 5-6, carefully, with a mind for what they say about you, color, how they spark curiosity and interest – this can make all the difference.

Avoid overly posed photos.  They should be happy, activity oriented photos, so that they say “this is me doing this” – not formal portraits.  Photos of you doing things with your spouse are fine; avoid fancy holidays or pictures of your mansion.

Some kinds of photos can evoke jealousy or resentment.  Be sensitive and put yourself in the shoes of the birthmother; try to feel how she would feel and look for potential connections.  Call us for help.  We are happy to review your profiles in development!

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