As a mother by adoption, people often reach out to me with questions they have about the adoption process. Most often, I’m asked about the home study process and how to make an adoption profile book. The adoption profile book is important because it’s what birth parents use to determine if you might be someone that they are interested in parenting their child. This is the first step in the process of setting up meeting opportunities and further conversations. Because of its importance, it can also be something that causes a lot of stress, but with help from other adoptive families, social workers, and others, creating a profile can be simpler than you thought.
Learn more about the Process from Your Agency or Social Worker
Reach out to your adoption agency or social worker before you start the process. Each agency has different requirements to learn about. Though a typical adoption profile book is 20 pages, this can differ. Additionally, you may be required to make a digital book or a physical book depending on the needs of the clients that your agency or social worker may serve. In some instances, you’ll do both. Make sure you are meeting the format requirements. In talking with others who have adopted and adoption professionals, adoption profile books can differ by agency.
Choose Photos that Reflect Who You Are
I admit, I wanted to hire a professional photographer to do this book, but the reality is, that’s not who I am. A birth mother and birth father want to see who you are–and that means who you really are. Though posed photos may be what you mainly have, consider including candid photos that reflect more of your day to day life. Expectant parents want to see what you’re doing on a daily basis, who is important to you, what you do in your free time, etc, not necessarily a staged photo of you at your very best.
Be Transparent and Honest
Honesty is so important to birth parents. They are making a very difficult decision and showing who you are is critical. We travel a lot in our family because it’s part of who we are and often, part of our careers. We both work and I wanted to highlight that because though I was stepping back while my daughter was an infant, I was still going to work part time and when she got older, there was going to be a little bit of child care involved in her life. Some birth parents were looking for a home where one parent would always be home, and that’s ok, but that wasn’t going to be our reality. Not telling the truth to try to be what you think a birth parent wants is not ok.
Create Text to Explain Your Photos
It’s clear to you who are in the photos, but not to those looking at your adoption profile book. Add text to explain who the other people in the photos are, why they are important to you and how they will be a part of your child’s life moving forward. Don’t limit it to just family members. Many of us have close friends who are like family and it’s important to include them in these photos as well. Basically, think about the people you see on a regular basis (pets included) and make sure they are reflected in your book. This is a glimpse into your life. Make sure to also if you can, show photos of your home and any other details you could share. Do you sit on land? Do you have a pool? Make sure that you’re showcasing your home as well as the people in it.
Add Things You are Passionate About
This ended up being something very important to everyone that viewed our profile. Though they didn’t all create an adoption plan, we got the same feedback, people liked to see what we were passionate about. We included our travel as I mentioned before and the plan (that we’ve stuck to!) to include our child in our travels around the globe. We included our hobbies, our jobs, and our volunteer endeavors. These things are incredibly important to us and are a huge part of who we are and in some instances, would even dictate to an extent how we would parent. Show who you are. I remember asking our social worker if highlighting our travel seemed insensitive and like we were bragging too much. She mentioned that this wasn’t bragging because it was what we did and how I made my livelihood and it was important to share. When we first got an email from our daughter’s birth mother, she asked about the travel and where our daughter had been, so I’m glad we shared all of our life in our book.