An adoption profile is a document unlike anything you’ve ever written. Or will likely ever write again.
Intended for expectant parents who are considering adoption, it’s an autobiographical letter of about 1,000-1,500 words that describes your lifestyle, interests, and family, as well as your thoughts about parenting and adoption.
Along with the photos that go with it, your profile (or “Dear Birthmother” letter, as it was once called), is aimed at creating an emotional connection with prospective birth parents. One that could eventually lead them to place their baby with you.
Next to word of mouth, it’s probably the best tool you have to reach out to expectant parents and make that all-important strong first impression. So how do you do it? What should you say in your profile and how do you say it? Before you sit down and start the writing process, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Who’s your audience?
- What do they want?
- How do you satisfy them?
Who’s your audience? Expectant parents who are thinking about placing their baby for adoption are your intended audiences. However, in many cases the expectant father may be out of the picture or is not part of the adoption plan. That means that more often than not your audience will be an expectant mother or one of her friends or family members.
Despite the many stereotypes surrounding them, prospective birth mothers are just ordinary, everyday people. So be careful not to make any assumptions about them. Keep your profile focused on the task at hand: to paint a full and honest portrait of yourself and of the future you could offer their child.
What do they want? Although their individual circumstances may differ, most prospective birth mothers are looking for one thing above all: to find a safe, stable family that will give their child a better future than the one they can provide.
For some prospective birth mothers, educational opportunities may be the most important factor. For others, your ages or your location or religion may be a priority. Most prospective birth mothers will want some degree of openness that will let them keep in touch with their child as he or she gets older. So don’t forget to include details about the kind of relationship you would like to have with them after the adoption.
How do you satisfy them? Through words and photos, your parent profile should paint an upfront and honest picture of your life as individuals, as a couple and as potential parents. It should be compelling and it should be relevant, covering topics that are of interest to expectant parents and their families. Don’t worry if your profile doesn’t appeal everyone. It’s not supposed to. All you need to do is connect with one family–the birth family that’s looking for you.
Writing an adoption profile isn’t easy. Summarizing your life in a just over 1,000 words isn’t something that you can knock off in one try. And yet keep in mind that your profile is one of the best tools you have to reach out to prospective birth parents and build your family. So when things get tough, focus on the rewards, not the challenges. By taking the process one step at a time, writing your profile could turn out to be easier than you think.