There are numerous resources on what to include an adoption profile book. It’s great to have some basic guidelines to get you started. If possible, look through a few existing profiles as examples. It’s also good to know the top things not to include in an adoption profile. The biggest adoption profile mistakes will offset a lot of hard work, compromising your chances of moving forward with meeting expectant parents. The following are 10 things not to include in an adoption profile.
Personal contact information
Giving out your personal contact information to potential birth parents is a great way to set yourself up for scammers, hackers, and stalkers. When you create a profile book and other profile materials, don’t include your last name, address, or phone number. You can give potential birth families a feel for your community without giving an address or town name. On the chance that expectant parents want to contact adoptive families directly outside of an agency, they can do so through your adoption Facebook page or via an email address you use strictly for adoption purposes.
Exclusively posed photos
It’s perfectly fine to include posed photos, both professional and candid, in an adoption profile. Posed pictures are a great way to show off your family at its best in a favorite location at home, on vacation, at a special event (i.e., wedding, birthday party), etc. However, it’s limiting to have an adoption profile book made up exclusively of posed photos. A mix of action and posed photos will give potential birth parents a more complete picture of your family.
Inappropriate or crazy unflattering photos
Showcasing your family’s silly side or sharing classic candid moments with kids, such as naps on the couch or water balloon fights in the backyard, is great. Sharing photos of kids melting down, you in a skimpy bikini at the beach, or you and your spouse drunk at a frat party in college isn’t okay. Your photos don’t have to be perfect by any means. But you should choose the photos you include with care.
Photos without captions/descriptions
It’s easy to assume that people know what they’re looking at in your photos because you know exactly where they were taken, who’s in them, etc. Expectant parents looking at your profile book can’t fill in these blanks. A phrase or single sentence caption such as “Celebrating Aunt Katie’s birthday” or “At the Wisconsin Capitol during our vacation last summer” adds enough context without being overly wordy.
Phrasing that puts words in expectant parents’ mouths
If you’ve put together a great adoption profile book, the book will speak for itself. Don’t give expectant parents words they might not be feeling, especially words that put them down, such as “We will love your baby more than you can possibly imagine.” I know that people mean well when they say this sort of thing. But it’s really offensive. Focus on making your profile book about you and your family. Let expectant parents process their thoughts and feelings without bias.
Promises you won’t be able to keep
An adoption profile book is the place to make a promise to raise your adopted children to the best of your ability. It’s not the place to make promises you have no idea if you’ll be able to keep, such as visiting birth parents monthly or inviting them over to your house on holidays. There are a lot of factors that will determine the nature and extent of openness with your child’s birth family. These factors may change over time. Don’t set up families for disappointment before you’ve even begun a relationship.
More emphasis on your infertility past than the future you’ll provide for your adopted children
For many couples pursuing adoption, particularly infant domestic adoption, infertility is a part of their story. It’s okay to share this part of your story with potential birth parents. However, it’s best to mention it briefly. Don’t go into specifics about the timeline, testing, diagnosis, and treatment. Then move on to talking about the future you’ll provide for your children.
Anything that isn’t 100% you
Your adoption profile book should reflect you and your family accurately. This isn’t the place to invent a character or try to portray the life that you want to have for yourself. If you have a great sense of humor, let it show through in your profile book. If you’re more serious and reserved, embrace it. Expectant parents don’t expect adoptive families to be perfect. They also don’t want to see a generic family that could be any family in any city in the country. Share your hobbies, passions, family life, and vacation adventures.
Pages filled with text and no pictures
You don’t need to tell your entire life story in your profile book. Expectant parents don’t want to read long back stories about your relationship or whole pages about where you live. Include at least one picture on every page with an accompanying caption or paragraph. If you pique their interest, they’ll have follow up questions when you speak over the phone or meet in person. You can get into more detail then.
Emphasis on your income
All parents want assurance that their children will have what they need, which includes financial stability. This doesn’t mean that expectant parents want you to be rich. Sharing explicit details about how much you make, talking at length about your luxury vacations or belongings (i.e., sports car) or going on and on about the material items your adopted children will have is inappropriate and tacky. Painting an accurate picture of the life you’ll be able to provide for your children will give expectant parents a good idea of your general lifestyle.
Adoptive parents, are there any items you would add to this list of things not to include in an adoption profile?
What are the biggest adoption profile mistakes you’ve come across during your adoption journey?
As always, I welcome your insight!
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