Is your parent profile not getting the response you expected? Wondering why prospective birthparents aren’t reaching out to you? Unsure about what changes you need to make to your profile that will make it stand out and help you connect with the birth family that’s looking for you?
Creating a parent profile is a major feat. It’s not something you can dash off in one sitting and be done with. It requires constant tweaking and refining. If you’re like most hopeful adoptive parents, you probably started out with high expectations about finding a match after you finished your profile. After all, given how much time and effort you spent creating it, you would have liked to have thought that all of the hard work you did would eventually pay off.
But when you don’t hear anything back from prospective birthparents or your adoption worker, it’s hard not to get discouraged. Don’t take it personally, though. Chances are it has nothing to do with you. Adoption networking takes time. There are countless reasons why your profile may not have received any responses so far. It could be that not enough prospective birthparents have seen it. Or, more to the point, that the right prospective birthparents haven’t seen it.
Not to worry: there’s no need to go back to the drawing board and start writing your profile all over again. Especially now, during the tail end of summer when adoption networking campaigns typically slow to a crawl and nobody feels like doing much of anything. The truth is, you may not have to write anything at all. Here are five things you can do to improve your profile without changing a single word.
Make sure your photos are top notch
This may seem obvious to you, but you’d be surprised by how many hopeful adoptive parents ignore this crucial piece of advice. I recently came across a professionally-created profile in which the couple’s main photo wasn’t just improperly cropped, it was completely out of focus. There’s no excuse for this.
Your photos are the first thing that expectant parents will see. And if they’re not up to scratch, they could be the last thing expectant parents see. Don’t forget: when it comes to making a good first impression, you don’t get a second chance. Make sure you photos are first-class first time around.
Use a few large photos rather than many small ones
Once again, don’t underestimate the importance of your pictures in your parent profile. Appearances count. For many hopeful adoptive parents, photos are nothing more than an afterthought. They’ve spent so much time agonizing over every word of their parent profile that by the time they get to their photos they’re so exhausted that they simply grab the first ones they can find and stick them into their profile as filler.
Make sure that the ones you choose are of good quality and that they show you in the best possible light. And the bigger they are, the better. Photos add impact. And nothing helps you make a bigger impact and a bigger statement than a really striking picture. When it comes to picking and choosing what to put in your profile and what to leave out, remember it’s better to have one or two really good large photos on a page than a dozen small ones.
Create descriptive captions
Captions — the the brief descriptions under your photos — are another great opportunity to tell expectant parents your unique story. Or at least an abbreviated version of it. The problem is, for many hopeful adoptive parents, captions a wasted opportunity. Instead of using them to enhance their profile and convey important details about their life, many hopeful adoptive parents use them to state the obvious.
Case in point: let’s say you have a picture of your family gathered around the dinner table for Thanksgiving. Which do you think is more effective: Cutline #1: “Thanksgiving dinner with our family.” Or Cutline #2: “We have a large, close family and we love getting together at all the major holidays, including Thanksgiving.” It’s little details like this that offer a window into your world and make your profile meaningful and memorable to prospective birthparents.
Add easy-to-read sub-headings
You could have the best written parent profile in the world. But if it’s not organized properly, it doesn’t matter how good it is. Nobody will read it. Nowadays, when it comes to reading online, most people tend to scan or skim the text rather than actually read it. As a result, one way to make it easier for prospective birthparents to go through your letter is to divide it into a series of bite-size sections and use clear, simple sub-headings like “About Us” “About Our Family” “About Our Home,” etc. This will not only help prospective birthparents navigate your story, it will help you organize it.
Divide the text into short digestible paragraphs
Another way to make your profile more reader-friendly is to use short paragraphs of no more than two or three sentences. Let’s face it, parent profiles aren’t exactly casual reading material. So anything you can do to guide your reader could result in huge dividends down the road.
White space is good. At first glance, long, unbroken chunks of text can be intimidating and could scare off your reader. And the last thing you want to do is give prospective birthparents the opportunity to give up on your letter before they begin and move on to another one that looks more inviting. Again, by dividing your parent profile letter into small, easily digestible sections, you’ll increase your chances of being read and making a strong first impression.