This guest post is by Preetha, a hopeful adoptive mother.
A few days ago, I met with a friend to help her build her résumé. As we were working on it, I realized how similar it is to writing an adoption profile or “Dear Birth Mother” letter.
In fact, letters to prospective birth parents are sometimes referred to as “a family résumé.” Although the two are different in terms of intent and audience, we saw the following similarities.
The need to stand out
One piece of advice we got about résumés is that they need to stand out. It’s the same with an adoption profile letter. There are thousands of profiles out there and many look very similar. It is important for a profile or letter to be different. Fortunately, compared to résumés, for an adoption profile letter, we can take a lot more liberties with regard to design, font, color, and pictures.
Limited real estate
Both a résumé and an adoption profile letter need to be concise. Just as potential employers are busy, potential birth parents also have a lot of information to sift through. So it is extremely important to keep the letter short.
Short, clear sentences
Nobody likes to read long-winded sentences. In a résumé, we are encouraged to write in a way that is easily understood. Similarly, in an adoption profile letter, it is important to write clearly and concisely. This would make it easy for potential birth parents to read and digest the information presented.
In a résumé, we often have an objective or an opening statement. Similarly, in an adoption profile letter, there is an opening statement or introduction. It is important that this opening statement grab the prospective birth parents’ attention because that could determine if they want to continue reading.
In a résumé, we are asked to write about how our skills and abilities would be suitable for a company or a job setting. Similarly, in an adoption profile letter, we have to convey to potential birth parents how the child will fit into our environment–and theirs.
A résumé has to look visually appealing in terms of format and structure. Similarly, an adoption profile letter also has to look appealing. Text and pictures have to be strategically placed and a lot of thought needs to be given to the format to make it easy to read.
Putting our best foot forward
One of the hardest aspects of writing a résumé is to figure out how to put our best foot forward without coming across as flaunting or boasting. Similarly, in an adoption profile letter, we want to showcase our best side by highlighting our strengths and what we could potentially offer a prospective birth parent’s child.
Review your letter
Some of the best résumés are ones that have been reviewed and critiqued by peers and/or professors. These kinds of reviews provide valuable feedback and insights for improvement.
Similarly, it is important to get our adoption profile letter reviewed multiple times by adoption professionals, friends, and/or colleagues. Having a third party review the letter could provide the objectivity we often need, since we are so close to it.
Putting together an adoption profile letter is one of the toughest aspects of the adoption application process. Although we can apply some lessons learned from résumé writing, an adoption profile letter is fundamentally different from a résumé.
We shouldn’t forget to be genuine, honest, and empathetic. Unlike a résumé, an adoption profile letter could have a lot of emotion and sentiment attached to it. It is very important to not lose sight of who is going to be reading our letter and the circumstances under which it is going to be read.
Preetha and her husband, Don, have been happily married for ten years and are currently living and working in Bloomington, Illinois. They are looking to expand their family through open adoption and are working with Independent Adoption Center (IAC), a licensed, non-profit organization.
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