Finally, a chance to get your our story out there where prospective birthparents will not only see it but — if all goes according to plan — they can also reach out and connect with you.
So, besides doing the “Happy Dance,” is there anything else you need to do before hitting “Publish”?
Here are seven questions to ask yourself that will help you decide whether your adoptive parent profile is ready to go online.
1. Have you checked it over for typos and grammar?
I know, you’ve read your letter over so many times you never want to look at it again. But do yourself a favor: go through it (or have a fresh pair of eyes do it for you) one more time, slowly and carefully, and check for things like typos, misspellings and grammar mistakes.
When it comes to connecting with prospective birthparents, first impressions matter — a lot. The odd slip-up here and there probably won’t kill your chances of finding a match, but why take the chance and put your credibility at risk? Especially since unlike so many other elements in your profile, they’re easy fixes.
2. Is the tone inviting and compassionate?
The content of your profile is important, and so is the tone. Don’t forget who you reader is — it’s a woman in a crisis situation. She may be alone. She may be scared. She may be confused. She’s looking for someone she can count on and trust, someone who will help her get out of the bind she’s in and regain control over her life.
Is that you? Does your profile convey a sense of openness and understanding? Is it warm and welcoming? Does it put a prospective birthmother at ease and say, “Come on in, make yourself comfortable. I’m here to help”? If it doesn’t, make the necessary tweaks so that it’s ready for prime time.
3. Have you removed any signs of desperation?
Becoming a parent is something you want more than anything else in the world and your letter needs to get that message across. But it should do it seamlessly, in a friendly and easy-going manner. It’s okay to sound determined, just don’t sound desperate.
If, upon re-reading your letter, you come across phrases like “you could make us whole” or “all we need to complete our lives is a baby,” remove them right away. They make you sound needy and entitled and could turn off a prospective birthmother. Don’t forget, she’s got her own struggles to contend with. Your letter shouldn’t add to them by putting additional pressure on her.
4. Have you explained your reasons for adopting without going overboard?
Your social worker needs to know why you’re adopting. Prospective birthparents? Not so much. But if you want to tell them, go right ahead. Nobody will stop you. What they’re more interested in, however, is finding out about you — are you someone they can relate to? Will you follow through on your promises? What kind of parent will you make?
Most prospective birthparents will assume that you’re adopting because of infertility. So there’s no compelling reason to get into it or to dwell on your travails. Nothing will suck the life out of your profile more than talking about how many infertility treatments you’ve undergone or the different ways you’ve tried to build your family. Keep it simple. Talk about how ready and excited you are about adopting and leave it at that.
5. Have you organized and formatted it so that it’s easy to read?
It’s a known fact that people read differently online. In fact, most people don’t really read at all — mostly, they just scan and skim until they come across something that interests them. Don’t forget that when you’re creating your profile. Make sure it’s properly organized and formatted for the Net.
By that, I mean that each sentence is short and concise and that there’s lots of white space. To make your profile even more web-friendly and easier on the eyes, break up the paragraphs into small bite-size sections with sub-headings (“About Us”, “Our Home”, “Our Thoughts on Adoption,” etc.) and use bullet points and bolded text throughout for added emphasis. You can have the best profile in the world, but if the layout is lousy nobody will bother to read it.
6. Have you optimize your photos?
You know what they say about a picture being worth a thousand words. It’s true — the same goes for photos, provided they looks as good as they can. That doesn’t mean the obvious stuff: that they’re sharp, have the right exposure and are properly cropped. It means optimizing them for the web — using high resolution images that load quickly on a screen.
You don’t need to hire a high-priced web designer to do that for you. There are lots of free tools available online that you can find through a simple Google search. Appearances count. Your profile should look as good as it sounds, and having the right photos can make all the difference when it comes to making a connection with prospective birthparents.
7. Can your contact information be easily found?
The goal of your profile is to give prospective birthparents a snapshot of your life so they’ll contact you after they read it. But how can they do that if your contact information is buried in a place where they can’t find it? Don’t make them work. Post your phone number and email address (with a link) where they’re easy to find — at the top of the screen and at the end of your letter.
And include a strong call to action that will encourage prospective birthparents to get in touch with you. Let them know that you can’t wait to hear from them or that they can contact you any time. Don’t assume anything or leave things hanging in the air. The stakes are way too high for that. Tell your what you want them to do and then make it simple for them to do it.
Did you put a check mark beside each of the questions above? If you did, congrats — you’re ready to post your adoptive parent profile online. With any luck, a prospective birthparent will like it as much you do and follow up by email or phone. Good luck — fingers crossed!
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