Now that we’ve gone over the basics of the adoption profile writing process, it’s time to hone in the specifics.
As you can see from our adoptive family profiles, writing a profile is more of an art than a science. The key is to make sure yours stands out from the crowd by finding the characteristics that set you apart.
Your profile also has to
- Paint a portrait of who you are
- Help prospective birth parents visualize what kind of parent you would be
- Describe the kind of relationship you’d like to have with them
There’s no magic formula for finding a match. That said, here are some tips to help you make a lasting impression:
Be Empathetic. You may not know a lot about the person who’s reading your profile, but you do know one thing about her: she’s in a bind. And she’s looking for someone to help. For your part, you need to put yourself in her shoes and show her that you’re someone she can trust and confide in. Being warm and welcoming not only puts your reader at ease. It builds trust and can lead to mutual respect and understanding.
Cut to the chase. Create an inviting tone but don’t overdo it. Don’t waste valuable space explaining how much respect you have for your reader or the difficult decision she faces. She knows what she’s going through, you don’t. And after reading a dozen letters with the same opening statements, quite honestly it can get a bit dull. A sentence or two off the top is fine. Then go straight to your message.
Play to your strengths. Find the traits or characteristics that differentiate or define you and weave a story around them. It’s a great way to create a good first impression and get to the heart of who you are.
Use concrete details. When describing yourself, be as specific as you can. It’s those concrete details that will set you apart and draw readers into your letter. Remember, little things can make a big difference. Use them to create a full-fledged portrait rather than just a sketch.
Be selective. Not everything about your life is important. What may be important to you may not be important to expectant parents. So find the details that tie back to your message and will make your letter come alive. For instance, the names of your nieces aren’t crucial. But how you spend your time with them is.
Keep it focused. As for the length of your letter, less is more. The shorter it is, the greater the chance your reader will stay to the end. Stay focused. Don’t try to cover everything. Pick three or four stories that capture the essence of who you are and create a narrative around them.
Show, don’t tell. Build stories, not laundry lists. Stories stay with us, while laundry lists – “I like skiing, running and cooking” – tend to get glossed over and are easily forgotten.
Make it heartfelt. “Heartfelt” is a word you’ll hear a lot in connection with your letter. So what exactly does it mean? For starters, it means that you’re not just going through the motions. That what you say is real and authentic. In other words, that it comes from the heart.
Be real, not perfect. Perfect people sound all alike: flat and boring. What you need to do is distinguish yourself from others. Talking about the challenges you’ve faced will help you do that. And they’ll create trust and transparency. Just make sure you also explain how you overcame them and the lessons you’ve learned along the way. Nothing is more inspiring–or more real– then finding out how you triumphed over adversity.
Be passionate. Don’t just talk about your partner’s attributes. Describe how you feel about them and what they mean to you. For instance, describing how your partner can instantly blend into a room of strangers is a lot more interesting than saying he’s a people person.
Begin at the Beginning. We deliberately left this one for the end. But anyway: a great way to get your reader’s attention right off the top is by telling the story of how you first met and what drew you to each other. This will not only paint a portrait of you. Through your choice of details, it will also give your reader a sense of what’s important to you and the values you hold.
Reaching out to prospective birth parents through your profile takes care and consideration. Just remember, it’s not meant to be definitive. Instead, the goal of a profile is to create an emotional connection with your child’s parents that will eventually lead to a long and lasting relationship for everyone involved.