How to Build a Fabulous Adoption Profile Part 1

Stop by and check out the newest activity idea for little ones in Something Together!

Early in the adoption process, part of me looked forward to this step with great anticipation, while another part of me dreaded this part more than others. I LOVE scrapbooking, so I chose to view this just as though I was building a scrapbooking page for my own pleasure. For others who don’t enjoy scrapbooking as much, or have little experience with this form of artwork, it can be a daunting task.

Do not worry though- you’re drawing an image of something very near your heart- you and your family! I can’t think of an easier topic to discuss with strangers. I wear my heart on my sleeve anyway, so this was just another medium to pour my heart into.

So, here we go:

1. Know Your Agency’s Requirements

More and more agencies today are putting their profiles online through a photo-sharing website such as Flickr or Snapfish. However, as our agency director pointed out, many birthmoms are impoverished. They do not have ready access to a computer or the internet, and to only make your profile available online excludes an entire section of society who may be looking for the perfect family for their baby. Therefore, our agency required hard copies only, and asked us to make enough copies for them to hand out to any birthmother they could. We initially gave them 20 copies, but if they ask for more, we’ll happily make more.

Agencies also often have requirements for size, amount of pictures vs. text, type of paper, etc. Know what the restrictions are and follow them. Do not go above what they ask for. If they say “only five pictures per page,” then limit it to what they ask.

2. Pick Your Paper

We chose our paper before we even had our pictures picked out. I am such a visual learner, I knew that I was going to need to see the pictures laid out on the page and then decide from there which ones could stay and which ones had to go. The paper you choose sets a tone. You don’t want the paper to be too playful or too bright. Too playful can turn off birthmothers in the 25-45 bracket who feel like you’re gearing your packet to the stereotypical teenager birth mother. However, they come in all shapes, sizes, and ages, and shouldn’t be stereotyped. Too bright can be overwhelming to the eyes and distract from the pictures of you and your loved ones.

We found our paper at, of all places, Walmart. They sell very inexpensive scrapbooking “kits” with about 24 sheets of paper and coordinating stickers, and such a pack was great for us. I would highly recommend buying these ready-coordinated packs.

3. Choose Your Pictures

Choosing the pictures was not easy. We were limited to 4 simple 8.5×11 pages, and summing up your life in such a small amount of space isn’t easy. Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re trying to pick out the perfect images:

  • Posed Portraits do not tell a story. Posed portraits in which the entire family is barefoot in jeans and similar stark white shirts {I know you know the type I’m talking about. Some of you are smiling and nodding right now.} may look great against a maroon Christmas card, but they do not say a thing to a birthmom who can’t relate to such a posed and coordinated image. Keep those for your Christmas announcements.
  • Bad lighting, blurriness, and red eye are not flattering. A simple photo editing program such as Google Picasa, which is available for a free download, can fix red eye, off-center photos, or poor lighting. Blurriness, however, can’t easily be fixed without more sophisticated programs. Think to yourself if you were subjected to a total stranger’s vacation photos and half of them were blurry, would you really enjoy looking at them? Probably not. Neither would a birthmother.
  • Action shots speak a thousand words. In one of my favorite photos in our profile, Little and I are looking up as we rise a few feet off the ground in a hot air balloon simulator. Really it doesn’t matter what we’re doing in the photo, because the picture is adorable and speaks volumes about the way we play and the things we do together. So include those action shots! Don’t be afraid if not everyone in the picture is looking at the camera. But the blurry/red eye rules still apply.
  • Crop and Mat. All of your pictures should be matted. Whether you’re doing the scrapbooking by hand or on a computer program, make sure those photos are cropped and matted! You want a clean look.
  • Limit the picture type. I would not devote an entire page to holidays or vacations in particular. Instead, choose one or two of your favorite holiday, family tradition, vacation, hobby, etc. photos and let that be that. There can be too much of a good thing. Entire pages that showcase holidays, vacations, etc. can come across as showy.
  • Avoid “crowded” photos. This can apply both to the amount of photos you use in one page layout and to the people in the picture itself. You do not want to put too many photos on a page. That gets cluttered and overwhelming for anyone looking through it. You also don’t want to put a picture down that shows you with your entire college band. Pictures that show more than 5-6 people I would say need to be left out.
  • Don’t try to impress. Don’t try to dazzle these women with your world travels or huge yacht. We are not wealthy people, so this isn’t an issue with us. However, some profiles I’ve seen are a little intimidating. I’ve seen profiles where one page was the same couple with the same smile plastered on their faces in front of the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building, Buckingham Palace, etc. The pictures told the viewer nothing! They could have actually been fabricated, the way they looked so uniform. They weren’t, but you get what I mean.

Because building a profile can be a complicated process, and I want to give as many quality tips as possible {things I wish I was told}, I’m going to divide this into two posts. Look for part 2 tomorrow!


1 Comment

Filed under Adoption General, Adoption Profile, Adoption Questions, Homestudy

One response to “How to Build a Fabulous Adoption Profile Part 1

  1. Pingback: How to Build a Fabulous Adoption Profile Part 2 | Love Makes A Family

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s