You’ve spent hours on your adoptive parent letter, pouring your heart and soul into it until everything is just right. The content, the tone, the layout — they couldn’t be better. But months after you’ve posted it online, you’ve gotten only one call — and it was a wrong number.
What should you do now? Should you keep waiting and holding out hope that the right expectant mother will eventually come along and contact you? Or should you take a more proactive approach and look at improving on what you’ve got?
Once you’ve finished your adoptive parent letter, it’s pretty hard to go back to it. But what you may not realize is that there are some really simple ways to make it even better — great even — without major surgery.
Here are three simple ways to fix your adoptive parent letter and transform it from good to great.
1. Focus on the details
The structure and goal of every adoptive parent letter is essentially the same:
- a self-portrait that describes your life to an expectant mother considering adoption as honestly and accurately as possible
- your reasons for adopting
- why you would make great parents
- why she should choose you to raise her baby
But there is one thing that separates a good adoption profile from a great one: the details.
Details — those concrete little facts that give a window into our lives — are what make you who you are and differentiate you from others. So if you want to take your profile to the next level and transform it from good to great, avoid generalities and generic descriptions and hone in on the specifics.
For example, in many profiles one partner will describe the other as “my best friend” and then leave it at that — without further explanation. That’s all fine and good, but it doesn’t really tell an expectant mother very much about your partner or about you, for that matter.
Another approach you might want to consider is digging deeper — focusing on the why rather than on the what. In other words, what it is about your partner that makes him or her your best friend. What are his or her qualities? What makes him or her unique or interesting?
To illustrate your point, give an example of something your partner said or did. This is a perfect opportunity to not only paint a portrait of yourselves, but to convey your passion for each other in words and photos. Instead of telling an expectant mother what’s special about you and your partner, show her using specifics points. It will add interest to your profile — and energy.
2. Illustrate your points with stories
Facts are good, but stories are better. Everyone loves a story. Stories draw us in, create an emotional connection and make us care about a person. They’re also a lot more memorable (and meaningful) than facts — something I can’t stress enough, especially when you consider that your profile will be just one of many that an expectant mother will consider.
Now you be may be thinking to yourself, I can’t tell a story. Stories are long and complicated. I wouldn’t know the first thing about story-telling or where to begin. But in this instance, your story doesn’t have to be long. In fact, the shorter and simpler it is the better.
Think of your story as a snapshot, something that paints a picture of you and give insights into your interests, personality or values. The most important thing about it? It needs to be relevant. It has to have a point, a purpose.
Using the example from the previous section, rather than simply describe your partner as your “best friend,” illustrate your point with a story. For instance, show how your partner stood by you or supported you at a difficult time.
Or, even simpler, share a story about one of the little things that your partner does for you that makes you feel special. Some of the best letters I’ve read have used this technique with great success.
In one instance, an hopeful adoptive mother mentioned how touched she was by the way her husband would bring her flowers “for no particular reason, just because.” In another example, a hopeful father shared the story of how his wife would leave him handwritten notes around the house reminding him how much she loved him.
In both instances, the stories made them come alive. I got a clear idea not only about the strength and stability of the couple’s relationships, but also about what they meant to each other. And I’m sure the expectant mother did too.
3. Strip your message down to the essentials
What’s an adoption profile and why are you writing it? These are two important questions you need to constantly ask yourself when you’re writing yours. What I’ve found, however, is that many hopeful parents are so anxious to get to the finish line and put their letter behind them, that they race through it without allotting the time and consideration they need to make a statement.
The result is a good profile, but not a great one.
One easy way to remedy the problem and give your letter traction is to work backwards. Once you’ve completed it, instead of rushing to post it online or send it off to the printer, give it time to breathe and go back to it with fresh eyes.
As you go through it again, remove all of the padding and irrelevant facts and strip your letter down to the bare essentials, to the essence of who are you. What message do you want to convey? What makes you interesting or unique?
For instance, an expectant mother considering adoption isn’t interested in what you wore at your wedding or where you went for your honeymoon unless they say something about you and the type of person you are. However, she will be interested in learning about your experiences with children and what kind of home you can provide her baby.
So don’t forget who you’re writing for and what she’s looking for. There may be some events and details that have personal significance for you. But unless they answer the questions that an expectant mother has about you — who are you and what type of parent you’ll be? — there’s no reason to include them.
Given the stakes of your letter and the fact that you don’t have lots of time and space to make your case, be selective. Cut through the clutter and make every word count.
Creating a good adoptive parent profile takes a lot of time and work. But with a few small tweaks to your letter, you can turn your profile from good to great and make it stand out with an expectant mother considering adoption.