Pursuing an infant adoption in the US involves a lot of paperwork to verify that you are a safe, loving person with whom to place a baby. In addition to a home study and educational training hours, your agency or attorney will also ask you to prepare an adoptive parent profile. You and your agency use this profile as a tool to help prospective birth moms get to know you.
Sharing yourself with an expectant mother in a profile book can feel like a sales pitch if you aren’t careful. Many hopeful adoptive parents cringe at the idea of it – we understand why. Instead, try to think of this parent profile book as a valuable tool to help a pregnant woman — or couple — make the connection that feels right as she searches for adoptive parents for her baby. You want to craft an adoptive parent profile that introduces you to this expectant mother and shows your family in a faithfully realistic picture. There are a few essential things to know about what to include – and what not to – to help an expectant woman connect with you.
Suggestions for Creating an Adoptive Parent Profile
1. Be as authentic as you can be.
In other words, your mom’s advice is still golden: be yourself. Perhaps you are representing the best version of yourself but shoot for that picture to be recognizable.
Your adoption profile should give the expectant woman (and her partner or family) an idea of who you are and what type of parent you hope to be. Keep your language realistic when speaking of how you want to parent this child.
2. Write your profile as if you are talking with a friend.
Use informal language without being too familiar or casual. Try reading the content out loud to hear how you sound. If a $1 word works, don’t use a $10 word.
3. Try not to sound desperate.
We know this is an awkward project. And you might very well be feeling a little desperate. It’s a challenging journey, and you have the right to struggle with these feelings. But your parent profile is not the place to process those emotions.
4. Choose candid and action shots.
Whenever it’s possible, use “real life” pictures in your adoptive parent profile. Too many posed or staged photographs can make you appear stiff or inauthentic.
5. Use captions for your pictures.
Your captions should be descriptive as possible. You are looking for words that will capture the feelings, not just the actions in the photos. For example, when you share a picture of Rob wrestling with the nephews, say, “Here is Rob playing his favorite role – Uncle Robby.”
6. Don’t show too much.
In your vacation scenes, please avoid pictures that show too much skin. For example, photos of bikinis and Speedos don’t necessarily give “parent vibes” to an anxious, expectant woman. Plus, a woman carrying 30+ pounds of baby weight might feel turned off by them.
Get Another Set of Eyes on Your Profile
Once you think your adoptive parent profile is complete, have a friend in her 20s review it from the perspective of a pregnant woman. Ask her to check for a couple of things and give her permission to be honest with you. Of course, ask your agency social worker to review the profile for input and suggestions. We know this list is not exhaustive, and your agency or attorney will have other ideas that they recommend for the parent profiles they show.
- Does this profile show someone that she would want to raise her child?
- Do the pictures portray your family realistically?
- Does your language/text accurately convey who she knows you to be?
- Does she have suggestions?
Raise Awareness of Your Adoptive Parent Profile
When your adoptive parent profile is complete, post the link to it wherever your agency suggests. Your agency or attorney will have suggestions, including their site, adoptive parent profile sites, your adoption website (if you have one), and your Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts. Many hopeful parents create social media accounts specifically for their adoption journey, so consider posting the profile that way.
Get the word out to family, friends, clergy, obstetricians, and gynecologists. Tell them of your plan to adopt. Offer them links to the sites where you’ve posted your profile, so they can share them with a prospective expectant woman who might want to review it.
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Consider Your Adoptive Parent Profile as a Tool
The expectant women who review your adoptive parent profile will generally look for someone responsible, mature, nurturing, and able to have fun with a child. So much of what catches their eyes and prompts them to inquire further will be from profiles they review.
While it might feel awkward to market yourself like this, please think of this adoptive parent profile as a tool that opens the door to help them understand who you are. You want to show them you are ready to love and nurture a child. Often, expectant parents cannot say what made them choose a specific family; they “just know” the right choice when they see it.
Have you prepared an adoptive parent profile in the past? What helped you portray your family accurately? We’d love to hear about it.
Image Credits: Leah Kelley; Ron Lach; EKATERINA BOLOVTSOVA