Having adopted three children, I get many questions from other families thinking about adoption. I have decided to start blogging on some of these subjects. The topics will range from questions about the domestic adoption profile, to open adoption, transracial adoption, bonding etc. I am not a professional in some of these areas, just a mommy living it every day. The posts will be be my opinions from my experience as a mommy and as a professional adoption profile designer. It is not my intent to offend anyone in the adoption triad, I realize everyone has different views from their own experience, you can feel free to share them in the comments section. Please note if your post is disrespectful it may not be published.
The first topic I wanted to tackle is how to get started on your adoption profile letter. This is the text you will write to expectant parents and it is used to create your adoption profile. It is your chance to convey who you are and why you feel you will be a good mom and dad to the child she is carrying.
Many of the families I design adoption profiles for already have a fairly solid draft of their letter written before I contract to work with them. I thought it might be helpful to put a few tips out there for those of you trying to write one of the hardest letters you will ever write. Remember that it is not supposed to be easy, it will take a lot of thought and effort, but it will be so worth it in the end.
My first and most important tip: write from your heart! I always advise families to write as though they were writing a close friend or family member. While I realize you are sharing a lot of personal information with a stranger, which can feel invasive and uncomfortable. It is important to remember, that same “stranger” may trust you with his/her child.
I do not recommend beginning your letter with “dear birth mother”, if she has not given birth and placed her child for adoption, she is an expectant mother. I prefer to begin the letter with “Hello”. If you are married, your letter should be written from both you and your spouse. Avoid using the pronoun “I” and instead say “we” or use your first names.
It is also very important to be concise. I spend a ton of my editing time cutting down letters and cutting out less important information. Most expectant parents who will read your profile will also receive up to thirty or more adoption profiles at the same time. If you ramble and fill every page with text your profile may be passed over. I would avoid the following:
- Avoid sharing a detailed history of your life. You can briefly mention you went to college, or how you met your spouse, but you do not need to share about childhood, high school, hometown etc. It is okay when talking about family to include brief statements about childhood i.e. “as a child my mom stayed at home, and we intend to do the same.”
- An expectant parent needs to know you have family/friends in your life; however, they do not need to know everyone’s name and story. They want to know about you!
- Don’t try to “sell yourself” you will risk come across shallow and insecure; be real! Your sincerity will come through.
When talking with our children’s birth families (we have three children, each of them have different birth families), they have all said that they were looking for information about how the child will live and be raised. It is very important to paint a picture of what you envision life to be like with your child. You should include things such as:
- A few things you cannot wait to do with your child and see your spouse do with your child. (Read, bake, go to the park, snuggle etc)
- How you view education, the opportunities for higher education, and how you will school your child when they are young (public, private, home school)
- Share about your careers and how you will manage them with a child.
- How you plan to care for your child during the day. (stay at home, child care, nanny, grandma etc.)
- You can and should include your religion if it is really important to you.
- Share how you will be there to support, love on, encourage your child.
- If you plan to have an open or semi open adoption, share about it
- When talking about your future with a child do not refer to the child as “our child”, as this can offend some expectant mothers. Instead, talk about having a child in general or address the child as her child.
Share briefly about your extended family; a short paragraph should be plenty. If your parents have had a long marriage, it is a positive thing to share. Also share if they will be involved with your child and what they look forward to doing with your child.
An ideal adoption profile letter should only be one to two pages in length. If it is any longer it will overwhelm your profile and the reader. You can always add lists later on, such as a “a few of our favorite things” or “ten things we promise you” this is a great way to sum up a lot of info in an easy to read manor. Your overall profile will be closer to 12-16 pages front and back, the letter is usually distributed throughout.
You should close the letter with a brief thank you for reading your letter, and wish them well as they make their decision. Once you have a good draft written, have a family member or friend read and edit it for you.
Finally, don’t stress about it! Have fun with it, let the fun part of your personality show and if you have a typo in the end… don’t worry, it is likely that no one else will even notice. An expectant mom is not looking for the best writer for their child, they are looking for loving and caring parents.