Developing your adoption profile for an agency is one of the most important parts of beginning the adoption process. Whatever you include in the profile will be shown to expectant parents looking to choose an adoptive family. Naturally, you want to include all the things about your family that are wonderful and what makes your family unique from others. In this article, we will go through six important things you need to include in your adoption profile.

Before giving you some tips for what to include, let’s discuss what an adoption profile is. Most commonly, profiles are presented as books with pictures and small bodies of texts placed intermittently throughout. Some agencies will encourage potential adoptive parents to make videos or blogs to share with expectant parents. No matter what method you choose for your profile, however, it should follow the same general guidelines. Let’s talk about a few.

  1. Do your research before you start writing your profile.

Before you begin to assemble pictures, make a video, or write your family’s story, do your research about the types of adoption profiles that can be created. Adoption agencies, such as The Gladney Center For Adoption, have dozens of profiles online for anyone to view. For example, if you have a strong faith that is guiding your choice to want to adopt, look at how different families have incorporated this into their message. This is a very common reason why people choose to adopt, meaning that there are many good examples out there of this type of profile.

Doing your research prior to writing your profile will also help you to see things that are already stated on the adoption profile website. Gladney Center for Adoption lists some of the steps in their “screening process” that families have to complete prior to posting their profile:

 - Completing an extensive interview process

- Undergoing a financial review

- Completing parent training

- Obtaining background and character references

- Having a home inspection

- Receive a home study certification

There are many websites dedicated to helping adoptive parents build their profile, with some even providing templates and programs that computerize the process. Some profile-building services have costs associated with them, so planning for that in your budget will be necessary if this is an avenue you would like to pursue.

  1. Reflect on the true nature of your family.

To start, remember that creating an adoption profile is similar to creating a resume. The first thing an expectant family should gauge from your profile is an immediate sense of who you are as a family. One of the most important things you can do when figuring out what to put in your profile is to think about how you are already portrayed by others. Ask friends and extended family members what sort of vibe your family gives off, which can be described in an infinite number of ways.

At the end of the day, being honest is key to creating a wholesome adoption profile. Putting yourself in an expectant parent’s shoes would be the most appropriate way to make decisions about what to include. Think about it — if you were an expectant parent, would you want to see the perfect family or do you want to see a family that you can envision your child being raised by? Naturally, every family wants to be seen as the typical, happy-go-lucky family; that’s what has been pushed as the best way to attract people to your profile. People value genuineness in any circumstance, which is perhaps one of the most important values to uphold during the adoption process, especially when creating a profile and speaking with expectant parents.

Having an “untouchable” image could hinder expectant parents from fully exploring your profile; it is important to create a welcoming presentation that makes parents feel comfortable. Think about how you would go into a job interview. You want to look professional and approachable, but not like you’re trying too hard to get the position. This, essentially, is the goal of an adoption profile. However, this interpretation of the purpose of an adoption profile should not be taken as transactional or like a business deal. Each potential adoptive family and expectant parent will have different needs and views, but it is always good to have a general guideline to refer to.

Another way to be realistic in your profile is to eliminate anything that you know you might not do or be comfortable with in the future. You will list what type of adoption you would like (open, closed, semi-open), what age child you are looking for, whether you can take in a child with special needs, and if you are okay with raising multiple children (siblings, twins, triplets, etc.). Expectant parents will take these things seriously; therefore, this is not the time to put down what you think expectant parents will want to see.

Creating a video is also a great way to show the true nature of your family. Considering the fact that you may not have many opportunities to meet face-to-face with expectant parents, a video is the closest thing to having an in-person meeting. Expectant parents usually do not make videos in return; however, there are still many benefits to having a video presentation. For some, this is even easier than creating a physical profile because everything can be handled digitally. It also makes the profile accessible to even more audiences, especially if you are open to adopting a child from anywhere in the entire United States.

  1. Avoid being too cautious about what you share.

Not sharing enough in your profile might make you seem closed off or unapproachable. It also might give the impression that you don’t want the expectant parent to know much about you,  therefore indicating that you do not want to develop a relationship with her. This “business transaction” mindset is exactly what you want to avoid when working with expectant parents. The more guarded you make your profile, the more questions they will have. When there are more questions it will lead to speculation, which might mean that your profile gets moved to the side because you didn’t share enough. You deserve to be given the opportunity to match with an expectant parent just as much as any other potential adoptive family, so give yourself the chance!

  1. Show your hobbies and things you enjoy doing as a family.

This is the chance to show expectant parents what makes you you. A good place to start is by making a list of the things that you enjoy doing with your spouse (or yourself, if you do not have a partner) and the things you do with your family. Make this list as long as possible, that way you will have options to use when you narrow it down. Choosing a few activities from a large list makes it easier to pick the things that are relevant, rather than the expectant parent pulling at straws to find the perfect candidate. Another good way to figure out which of your interests and hobbies to include is to make a pro and con list; essentially, what are the things that are most important to you that you want an expectant parent to know?

Including family traditions and involvement is also a unique way to provide information about your family. Some examples are:

- Having dinner together as a family every night

- Family game or movie night

- Holiday traditions

- Vacations or favorite travel spots

- Grandparent and extended family (cousins, aunts, uncles, etc.) involvement

 Additionally, if you are a part of a religious group or culture that celebrates different occasions and traditions, this would be important to include. Expectant parents need to have an idea of what your values are as a family. For many, spirituality guides their moral principles and family values. Therefore, including this information will help expectant parents to know if they feel that you will be a good fit for their child.

However, showing everything you are interested in or enjoy participating in might not be the best idea. Too many hobbies or engagements can seem like you are not ready to adopt a child due to a busy schedule. Posting things that could be construed as inappropriate by an expectant parent are also things to avoid. While you should never omit something just because you’re trying to make yourself look better, there is a healthy balance of showing things you enjoy and being appropriate. An example of this would be posting a picture of you and your spouse drinking a cocktail on vacation. Is there a problem with you posting one picture like this? Probably not. However, if you’re drinking alcohol in the majority of the pictures you post, it’s probably in your best interest to omit some.

  1. Tell your story concisely.

Although your adoption profile may be lengthy due to the number of pictures you include, the actual text doesn’t have to be. A profile may be 10-20 photos in length, but the text may only take up 4-5 pages of that (if not less). Infant Adoption Guide, a blog geared toward providing advice to families looking to adopt an infant, provides a shortlist of the sections that should be included in the profile:

- Introduce yourself and talk about your “desire to adopt.”

- Write a paragraph or several about yourself or yourself and your partner. Write about the story of how you met, your favorite things about each other, and your plans or goals for a family.

- Introduce your family, especially if you have other children. How are they supporting you? Are you close? Do you have a big or a small family?

- Talk about how your faith plays a role in your life and your plans to adopt; if you are spiritual. If not, talk about your motivations behind wanting to adopt: your “why” story.

- End by directly talking about what makes you capable of raising a child and by making a commitment to the expectant parent and child.

Expectant parents should be able to read through your profile book with ease and finish without having many questions about who you are. The easier your profile is to read, the more likely it will stand out to expectant parents.

  1. Be sensitive in the adoption language you use.

Becoming an adoptive parent means accepting all the beautiful and traumatic parts of adoption. Acknowledging that adoption can be a stressful and difficult decision to make, let alone going through the actual process itself. Acknowledging the expectant parent in the profile cannot be forgotten! What he or she thinks matters. Choosing a family to raise your child is no easy feat. You do not want to turn someone off just because you said something insensitive or inappropriate.

Perhaps the most important point about language is to not make your profile seem like a sales ad. Adopting a child is not a business transaction. No one, especially the child, should be marketed as a product or a consumer. Although it may be hard to not market yourself as the perfect family for an expectant parent to choose, it’s important to be realistic and down-to-earth in your profile.

Overall, positive adoption language should always be used in any circumstance. Avoid common stereotypes and assumptions about anyone in the adoption triad as these misconceptions perpetuate a side of adoption that is not fair to anyone. Positive adoption language is inclusive for all, rather than exclusive to most.

As a last piece of advice, always seek feedback from family, friends, and other trusted people in your life. These are the people who know you the best and will provide honest feedback about what you’ve included in your profile. Your loved ones are also the people who will support you through your adoption journey and well after.

We wish you the best of luck in creating your adoption profile! Please contact Gladney Adoption Center if you need any assistance with your adoption journey or are interested in learning more about growing your family through adoption.