When it comes to writing an adoptive parent profile, many hopeful adoptive couples make the classic mistake of viewing it strictly as a marketing tool.
No argument there. Your adoptive parent profile is a marketing tool.
Next to word of mouth, it’s probably the most important marketing tool you have in your adoption profile networking toolkit.
And yet it is so much more than just a marketing tool, and the sooner you begin to understand that the sooner and easier you’ll find a match.
The fact is, when you come right down to it, your adoptive parent profile is a story — the story of you.
Not your entire story, mind you. Just a portion of it, a very specialised portion — designed to help you stand out from the crowd and make a connection with a prospective birthmother.
And just like every story, it has three basics elements: a beginning, middle, and end.
Let’s look at those elements now, one by one, and with the help of a few examples, let’s see how you can create an effective beginning, middle and end to your adoptive parent profile so that you can make yourself stand out from the crowd and connect with a prospective birthmother.
Writing An Effective Beginning
Beginnings are always tough, and your adoptive parent profile is no exception.
What do you say to someone you’ve never met before? Someone who is pregnant and considering adoption for her baby? Someone who, if she decides to go through with her adoption plan and place her baby with you, could help you achieve your dream of becoming a parent?
It’s a daunting task, no question about it. But you have to begin somewhere.
One of the pitfalls that many adoptive parents run into when they set out to write their parent profile is seeing it as all about them.
It’s about making a connection with a prospective birthmother.
As a result, you need to see things from her point of view, not yours.
I know how challenging that can be. I was once in your shoes.
Like you, I didn’t know the first thing about our child’s birthmother before we connected with her. Who she was. Where she lived. What her interests were.
But I did know this: She was about to make one of the most important and difficult decisions of her life.
What else did I know?
She was facing a crisis. She was probably overwhelmed. (Who wouldn’t be?) Confused. Scared.
How did I know all this? By reading up about other stories.
After all, she wasn’t the first person who ever placed a baby for adoption. Other woman had gone down the same road before her.
As I read about them and their stories, I started to put together a psychological profile based on the details I found. Or rather a series of profiles, since every prospective birthmother, just like every prospective birthmother story, is different.
That helped me do two things. It let me visualize the type of person I was trying to connect with. And it allowed me to create a story about us to help her decide whether we were the couple she was looking for to adopt her baby.
So, keep this in mind when you’re writing the beginning of your letter.
Your goal is to reach out to a prospective birthmother and earn her trust while at the same time creating an honest portrait of yourself and of the future you can offer her baby.
After all, you can write whatever you want and promise her world later in your letter. But if you don’t put her mind at ease and establish your bona fides early on, if she doesn’t feel comfortable with you, it doesn’t matter what you say. Your words won’t mean a thing.
So make sure that you convey a sense of compassion and empathy at the outset of your letter. Acknowledge the challenges she’s facing and how you can help her overcome them.
But don’t overdo it. Don’t just go through the motions and say things that everyone else is saying or that you think she wants to hear.
Be genuine. Be heartfelt. And be real.
Here’s an example of what I mean. (As with all the examples here, it is taken from an actual adoptive parent profile. For privacy reasons, the names and some of the details have been sightly altered):
“Our names are Jason and Lisa and we are thrilled that you are reading our letter. We hope it will give you a feel for who we are and how we try to live our lives.”
What I like about this opening is that it’s short and sweet, simple yet direct. There isn’t one wasted word in the entire paragraph.
It gets to the point right away and yet it also captures the couple’s excitement about adopting and leads seamlessly into a description of who they are.
Many adopting parents devote a lot of time and space at the outset of their adoptive parent profile trying to get into a prospective birthmother’s mindset, and describing her decision as “selfless” “courageous” or “brave.”
And though all of those things may play a part in her decision-making, I would avoid using them.
First of all, they’re presumptuous. As an adopting parent, you have no idea why she’s making her decision or how she’s feeling about it.
Secondly, it’s easy to get carried away and lose sight of the goal of your letter, which is to set yourself apart and explain why a prospective birthmother should choose you to become her baby’s parents.
So, rather than go off on a tangent, take the safe route and get to the point of your letter as early as you can.
The downside is that safe isn’t always memorable. Safe doesn’t make you stand out. And isn’t that the purpose of your letter?
So, if you want to make yourself stand out, you’re going to have to do more than that. You’re going to need to make a statement so that your reader takes notice.
Here is an example of an opening that does that:
“Hi! We are Ken and Christine from Los Angeles. People describe us as funny, intelligent and caring. And unless they’ve been lying to us all these years, that’s how we tend to see ourselves, too.”
Not everyone can write an introduction like that, and frankly not everyone wants to. But there’s nothing wrong with taking a different approach at the beginning of your letter and going your own way.
Although this opening is edgy and unconventional, it gets the job done. Once you read it, you can help but be intrigued — and want to read more.
Some prospective birthmothers may not relate to it. But for one prospective birthmother — and don’t forget, that’s all your looking for, one prospective birthmother — it could be the perfect opening, the introduction that gets the ball rolling.
Writing An Effective Middle
Now that you’ve got the swing of how to write the beginning of your letter, let’s move onto the next section: the middle.
Middles aren’t easy, either. If the first section of your adoptiove parent profile is about setting the right tone and introducing yourself, what’s the middle section all about?
The middle section should do two things: it should expand on the points you’ve touched on at the first section and look forward to the points you’ll make in the third one.
More specifically, it should expand on the reasons you’re adopting and give insights into the kind of life and future you can offer a baby
You don’t need to get into your reasons in depth. In fact, it’s better that you don’t.
Your infertility struggles may be important to you, but not to a prospective birthmother.
Remember, she’s dealing with her own challenges, and dwelling on yours could be a huge turn-off.
Instead, explain what you can offer her. Tell her about yourself. About your interests. About what you like to do for fun. About your family, your neighborhood, your community.
Share concrete details that shed light on your life and give a prospective birthmother a sense of what she can expect from you as a person and as a parent.
Here’s an example:
“Life has taught us that the most important things in life aren’t possessions or even accomplishments–but people, family, loving others, and living our faith. Our philosophy of parenting starts with loving any child unconditionally, and giving him or her a firm foundation of security and nurturing. Every child deserves to feel wanted, special, and loved, and we know we can provide that.”
One of the hardest things to convey in your letter are your values — what you believe in and how you plan to instil those beliefs in your child.
This next example does a great job of explaining what values are important to this couple and how they plan to incorporate those values once they become parents:
“We have spent countless hours talking about details on how we plan to raise a child. We get excited about the many things we will teach, the values we will instill and the adventures we will share. We will involve our child in all aspects of our life, inspire creativity, spirituality, and encourage dreams for their future. It is important to show our child how working hard helps to achieve goals and having a sense of humor helps when things get tough.”
Once again, in this example you get a clear idea about the parent’s parenting philosophy and the values they hold important. There’s no guessing about what to expect from them. You know exactly where they stand.
What would make these examples even stronger is to give concrete examples of how they plan to translate those theories into action.
For instance, when you say you’ll make a great parent, don’t just say it. Show it. Include stories with examples that directly illustrate your points.
Writing An Effective Ending
Ending are hard. But they’re also important. After all, you want to end your letter with a bang, something memorable that will lead a prospective birthmother to contact you after she’s finished reading.
The end of your adoptive parent profile should do two things: it should wrap things up and it should look forward to the future.
Like the rest of your letter, it needs be positive and upbeat. It shouldn’t be be a downer.
It should give a prospective birthmother hope about the decision she is about to make and about the future you can offer her baby.
Since surveys show that most prospective birthmothers want to have some form of openness with the adoptive parents after placement, it’s important to address this directly in your letter.
If you’re not sure what this means or what the future will hold, think about what kind of relationship you’d be comfortable with at this point. You don’t have to get into the nitty gritty details. But you should say something that will give a prospective birthmother a sense of what to expect from you.
Just make sure that you don’t say something just for the sake of saying it.
The goal of the final section isn’t to make promises you can’t keep or to pad your adoptive parent profile.
It’s a chance for you to make one final pitch and encourage a prospective birthmother to contact you in order to discuss her adoption plan further.
As a result, be sure that your letter includes a call to action, an invitation for her to get in touch with you: “We can’t wait to hear from you” or “We look forward to talking to you” or “If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.”
Still not sure how to end your letter? Here’s an example of how one couple ended theirs:
“We know the decision to search for adoptive parents must be a difficult one. Hopefully, this letter has helped make the decision a little easier, giving you peace of mind in knowing we will dedicate our lives to your baby’s safe, secure and happy future. If we can be a part of your plan for your child, or if you would like to talk with us about the possibilities, please call us on our toll free number below. We look forward to getting to know each other further.”
And here’s another one:
“We don’t want to end this letter off with ‘Final Words’ or ‘In Closing’ because those phrases sound too much like an ending when we hope that this is just the beginning. We hope to hear from you soon and that together we can form a bond as well as a plan to provide a safe and loving home for your child.”
Be sure to tell a prospective birthmother what you want her to do and make sure your contact info is easy to find.
Don’t make her search for it or expect her to automatically reach out to you after she’s read your letter.
So, there you have it, how to create an effective beginning, middle and end of your adoptive parents profile, with examples. What do you think makes an effective beginning, middle and end?
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