Last week, a hopeful adoptive mother who registered with our adoption profile service asked if I could look over her letter. Although she couldn’t put her finger on it, she was convinced there was a problem.
And because of that, she was also convinced she would never get chosen by an expectant parent with an adoption plan and fulfil her dream of becoming a mother.
Turns out, she had nothing to worry about. Her letter wasn’t just good. It was one of the best I had read in a long time.
Still, as I read it over, I realized she wasn’t alone. Lots of hopeful parents have similar fears about whether their adoption profile letter is up to scratch.
To be sure, writing a parent profile is more of an art than a science. Although there is no right way to do it, there are many wrong ways. The good news is that are resources to help you write yours. But by far the easiest way to do it is by reading other hopeful parents’ letters for ideas and inspiration.
Here are 8 samples that caught my eye and will hopefully inspire you.
“As we sit to write this letter our hearts are pounding with excitement and emotion, mostly because we know exactly how much lives can change because of open adoption. We adopted our son Mark almost three years ago and all of our lives have been changed forever in an amazing way.”
Takeway: Beginning an adoption profile letter is no easy feat. Where do you start? What do you say? You could start the traditional way by introducing yourself. Or you could do what this couple has done and get right to it. Although simple, this opening is very effective. It makes you feel like you’re right there with them as they’re writing it. Pouring out your heart in this way gives your letter a sense of immediacy and authenticity. It draws your reader in emotionally and helps you build credibility.
“We understand that this is a very difficult time, and we totally understand the wide range of emotions that the adoption process makes birth families feel. We hope that our experience can guide us all and assist in this process. We have learned that once you connect, start to talk and get to know each other it gets a bit easier and the process starts to become more real and less scary.”
Takeaway: Openings can be awkward. But this one resonates with the reader in through its honesty and openness. If you’re looking for an icebreaker, something that will put your reader at ease right off the top, this wear-your-heart-on-your-sleeve approach is as good as it gets.
“You’re looking for a wonderful home and future for your child and we’re looking to share our love and lives with another child in our family. Perhaps we are looking for each other?”
Takeaway: Another seamless way to get into your letter is by focusing on your common needs and interests and then framing it as a question. This set-up allows you to create an emotional connection with expectant parents right from the outset that is both natural and casual.
“Hi! What a strange way to start a letter! But, since we don’t know your name, we’ll have to begin this way.”
Here’s another creative way to take the edge off the opening of your letter. Instead of sidestepping the strangeness of your situation, why not address it head-on? It may not work in every case. But you will win points for empathy and transparency.
“I fell in love with Jane on our second date. We were living in downtown Chicago and spent the day visiting Oak Park and watching an old movie called “Two for the Road” where Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney hitched hiked across France. In a way, this date captured the spirit of our relationship. We can easily enjoy the simple pleasures of a day in the country combined with the wonders that the world has to offer.”
Takeaway: One of the aims of your parent profile letter is to create a portrait of yourself through words. Not an easy task. But by picking and choosing the right details, like this couple has done, you’ll not only create a picture, you’ll capture your personality and the romance of your relationship.
” It was on October 30th, 1994 that we met at a Youth Group Halloween Dance. Sam was dressed as Frankenstein and I as the Wicked Witch of the West. Throughout the night we ate, we talked, we laughed and we danced the night away. I still remember the first song we danced to–it was Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton. To this day, every time we hear it, it takes us back to that wonderful night the two of us met.”
Takeaway: This is yet another reminder that the best adoption profiles aren’t simply letters. They are stories with concrete facts about you that speak to your unique quirks and qualities and help you stand out from the crowd.
“Many people do not believe in love at first site but for us, it was. We are complete opposites yet perfect for each other. Ben is outgoing where I am very shy. I like to cook where he rather stay as far away from the kitchen as he can. Ben is out spoken where I am very quiet. I like to talk on the phone for hours, five minutes for him is too long.”
Takeaway: One of the most effective ways to describe yourself as a couple is to talk about your differences — the contrasts that make you who you are. In addition to defining you as individuals, it gives a window into your relationship and how you deal with your differences.
“A beautiful Chinese Proverb says: ‘The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.’ How we handle things when life gets tough reveals a lot about our character. So we thought one of the best ways for you to get to know us a little better would be to tell you about the two biggest challenges we’ve experienced during our 16 years as a married couple.”
Takeaway: everyone has their challenges. And one of the best ways to show your character is by explaining how you handle life’s challenges. In this example, the couple turned what could be perceived as a negative into a positive and went on to show how they triumphed over two life-changing situations.
Writing a parent profile can be an uphill battle. It takes a lot of thought and attention to details. By seeing how other hopeful parents have handled their letter, you can get a better idea about how to present yourself honestly and effectively to expectant parents. What helped you compose your parent profile letter? Where did you find your ideas and inspiration? Share your comments in the section below.