There’s only one thing harder than finishing an adoption profile. That’s starting it.
Summing up your life is always a challenge, especially when you only have about 1,000-1,500 words to work with. But as with every long or difficult journey, this one begins with one small step. The fact that you’re reading this means that you’ve already begun to think about it. That’s a good place to start. So don’t stop now. Keep going! You’ll see, little by little, step by step, it will all come together.
Here’s a breakdown of what you need to do to keep the process moving forward.
Plan. Just the thought of writing your profile can be overwhelming. Never mind actually doing it. But you don’t have to do it all at once. (Then again, if you can knock it off in one sitting, all the power to you!). Break it up into small manageable pieces. Start small, and keep the ball rolling. If you have a partner, have some fun and turn it into a joint effort. Start by asking each other questions: What was it about me that initially caught your attention? How would describe me? What are some of the things I’m good at? What sets us apart from other couples? Why do you think we’ll be good parents?
Research. If you’re stuck or need some help, take a look at what other couples’s have done with their profile or letter. Look for ideas and inspiration but don’t get too carried away. Remember, your goal isn’t to sound like everyone else. It’s to find your own story and differentiate yourself from others. Pay attention to the details. What catches your attention – and why? Then start thinking about how to incorporate those details into your narrative.
Organize. Once the ideas start coming, put them down on paper. It doesn’t matter if they don’t come out in perfect sentences. You can edit them later. The important thing is to get your thoughts out there. Next, organize them by theme: About Me, About My Partner, About Our Family, etc. Dividing your material into sections will help you focus your thoughts. And it will eventually make your letter easier to write–-and read, too.
Write. Now that you’ve come up with your major topics and themes, start elaborating on them. Find a good story or two to illustrate your points. Show, don’t tell. For instance, instead of saying “we’re active,” talk about some of the things you do to stay fit like running or swimming. Use words to create images that will be meaningful and memorable for your reader.
Rewrite. No one ever nailed their profile in one take. And chances you won’t either. That’s okay, though. The secret of good writing is re-writing. Start with a first draft, then take a break and go back to it later with fresh eyes. You’re bound to find a new or better way to say something. Build on what you have, filling in the missing information, tweaking it until you’re satisfied you’ve said everything you want–and need–to say.
Package. Writing your letter is only part of the process. You still need to find photos to illustrate your story and grab your reader’s attention. Then you’ll need to figure out the form and format in which to present your story. Should you create a book or post it online? Should you send it out to a professional or do it yourself?
Writing a profile is no easy feat. But if you give yourself enough time and the right attitude, it can be a great experience–a chance to take stock of everything you have in your life and share it with others. Plus, it’s a great way to start thinking of yourself as an adoptive parent and focus on what’s important to you. And there’s nothing wrong with that!