This is a continuation of yesterday’s post about building the perfect adoptive family profile. I’ll move forward from discussing pictures and get to the text in your profile. People learn in different ways. Some potential birthmoms are going to be drawn in by your captivating photos, while others are going to pour over every word you say, so make sure they both ROCK!
4. Write Your Captions:
Some important tips to remember:
- Don’t just “tag” people. A potential birthmom is not going to worry herself over the names of your Auntie Mildred, Ethel, Myrtle, and Bertha. Simply listing the people in the picture does not make a quality caption. Instead, in the example above, something like, “Our child will have a wonderful support network around him or her, along with four very excited aunts!” Isn’t that more pleasant to read?
- Tell a Story. Under a picture of you on a horse, do not just say, “Me riding Booker.” Say, “I’ve always had a love for animals and hope to pass that on to my children!” Obviously you’re on a horse. You don’t have to tell them that. Instead, do a little plug for your personality, values, or hobbies.
- Don’t make her pity you. Sometimes hopeful adoptive parents try to tug at the heartstrings of a birthmom in an attempt to seem more open and real. A little bit of vulnerability is okay, but talking about your private pain with infertility, failed placements, or struggles with IVF or miscarriages is NOT appropriate. She’s not going to pick you because she feels sorry for you. You should mention why you’re adopting somewhere, and if it is because of infertility, mention it, but then move on. Do not say, “We struggled with deep grief and sadness to conceive a child, and after many years of heart ache, we’ve decided to try adoption.” Keep it brief, light, and guard your heart.
- Be true to You. In the second line of our front page, right after stating our names, we said proudly, “We’re a Christian family who seeks to actively serve Jesus Christ.” Some birthmoms are going to be turned off by our faith, but OUR birthmother will love it. Don’t try to appeal to the 20 different women who may look at your profile over the next several months…Try to appeal to the ONE who will say yes.
- Highlight your uniqueness. Every family has unique traditions and special celebrations. Draw attention to those! Every Halloween, we go to a pumpkin farm and cut our pumpkins right off the vine. I showed a picture of that and mentioned this tradition with a nice caption. This is not a huge tradition we share, but it’s one of those sweet little details in our life that make us special.
- Be detailed and specific. One picture we included doesn’t tell a very big story, so I used the caption space wisely. The image is a sweet one of Little riding in Travis’s dad’s boat, but beyond that, they aren’t doing anything that draws attention to the context of the photo. The caption I wrote says, “Little explores Table Rock Lake in Missouri with grandpa!” Words like “explore” make the picture come to life. Speaking of the location lets the reader know that we go to neat places. Mentioning that this is grandpa (who we actually call Bo) includes extended family.
- Be funny. Under a picture of Tiny, who you have previously met, it says, “Tiny, (who is HUGE!)” I wouldn’t make the entire tone of the profile be silly or flippant, but a little humor is okay.
5. Write your text.
I actually chose to create “text boxes” on each page. On the front page, I gave very simple information about us: Our names, our faith, some things we enjoy doing as a family, how we feel about adoption, and how we feel about the person reading it.
On the next page, it showcases FOUR short points about Travis, written by me. The photos on the page support the things I said about him. He wrote a text box for me, and then we wrote one about Little. Again, the pictures that go along with the text boxes illustrate the characteristics and hobbies described.
On the last page, I addressed the expectant mother directly. I briefly talked about how we’ve always wanted to adopt, and that my pregnancy with Bug was rough. I did not go into detail about what I went through. I did not say anything like “I hope you choose us,” because I would never want her to feel pressured, guilted, or coerced for any reason. I did wish her well in her pregnancy, and I told her that I hope she and her baby are both blessed. Done.
6. Proofread and know your audience.
I actually made this mistake a couple of times. I said that we have “an energetic Weimaraner” instead of “dog.” In researching how to build a great profile, I ran across some tips on an adoption website that talked about being very specific when you talk about your pets. They said it made the birthmother feel like she knows you, or is connected to you. Looking back, that seems silly. The agency director called and said that she didn’t want someone to read that and feel foolish when they couldn’t pronounce it or didn’t know what that was.
I just wasn’t thinking. I was trying to be specific, and I was unintentionally throwing around big words that made me seem pretentious. So just keep your audience in mind. Some of these ladies come from very different backgrounds from you, and therefore cannot relate.
7. Be you, say a prayer and send it in.
At some point, you have to just send that puppy in.
Ask trusted friends and family to look it over and give you their suggestions and impressions. They may catch a mistake you didn’t notice.
After you’ve looked it over and verified that you have been true to yourself and presented an accurate representation of yourself, all you can do is say a prayer and send it in.
I do hope that this detailed list helps you in your adoption journey and with piecing together your profile. It doesn’t have to be extremely complicated, and actually, it can be a lot of fun! Just remember, you aren’t trying to appeal to every expectant mother who may get a copy of your profile…You’re trying to appeal to the perfect expectant mother for you. She wants to see the real you, and you are awesome!
I welcome any suggestions I may have overlooked from the adoptive parent audience out there! Did you find it was easy or hard to piece together a quality profile?