Creating an adoption profile is one of the least fun steps in the private domestic adoption process. And that’s putting it mildly.
Most waiting parents would sooner have root canal than sit down and start theirs.
But regardless of what you think of adoption profiles, there’s no questioning their importance.
Next to word of mouth, they are the most important outreach tool in your networking arsenal—a potential game changer when it comes to reaching out and connecting with an expectant mother considering adoption.
But putting one together is far from easy. From deciding what to write about to selecting your photos, creating a profile requires a lot of time and effort.
After we completed ours, it felt like a huge burden had been lifted from our shoulders. Little did I know that it was just the beginning of a new journey with a new set of challenges.
Here are 7 things nobody told me would happen after we created our adoption profile. This list is too late for us, but hopefully it will save you trouble with yours.
1. I would second-guess everything we put in it
An adoption profile is designed to give expectant parents an honest and accurate glimpse into your life and the type of parent you would be.
But knowing what to put in–or leave out–is so hard! In our case, I didn’t know how much to say about our family. Would mentioning that my parents were separated hurt our chances of getting matched? Would the expectant parents care that we weren’t religious?
What about our photos — should we show pictures of the inside of our house or just exteriors? How many vacation shots should we use? And which ones?
I’m a tinkerer when it comes to things like this, and as we waited I couldn’t stop questioning whether we had made the right decisions —an issue that only grew with each passing day.
2. We would need to promote it
It would be nice to say that after you’ve created your profile, you could just sit back and wait for the right birth family to find it.
Sadly, it doesn’t work that way. Creating a profile isn’t enough. You still have to get it out there in front of as many eyeballs as you can.
Depending on your budget and resourcefulness, that could mean anything from creating a video to maintaining a blog.
3. Deciding which was the best platform to promote it was complicated
Once you’ve collected all of your material for your profile, you need to decide how to package it. Should you do a printed version or just go online? If you go online, should you create your own website or create a social media campaign?
Then there’s the question of which platform should you use—Facebook or Twitter, Pinterest or Snapchat?
Most agencies want a print-out of your profile, but depending on the agency that can vary from a one-page summary to complete book.
Others offer you the chance to appear on their website. Posting your profile online will help you spread the word further and reach a larger, more diverse audience. But there’s more to it than just pressing “Publish.”
In the end, we did both, and both were instrumental in helping our children’s birthparents find us.
4. Knowing who to share it with was tricky
This was a key question for us and, we’ve since discovered, for other prospective parents too.
Obviously the more people who knew about your profile and your plan to adopt, the better chance you’ll have of making a connection.
But you can’t just tell people indiscriminately. Not everyone understands adoption or will feel comfortable with getting involved in your journey.
You need to be selective and call on people who you know will be supportive of your efforts.
5. Comparing your letter to others is inevitable
Because adoption profiles are just a click away, it’s tempting to check out other adopting parents.
That’s okay when you’re beginning the process. Reading other profiles can give you ideas and inspiration for yours.
But doing it after you’ve sent out your profile can be dangerous.
Not only will it take time away from all of the other things you need to do, it will also inevitably lead you to compare yourself to other waiting parents—and not always in a good way.
6. Hearing about other matches will trigger mixed emotions
Reading about other people’s success stories can be a huge confidence booster. If all of these other one-time waiting parents made a connection with their child’s birthparents, who knows you could be next!
But it can also be demoralizing. How many success stories do you need to read before you ask yourself, why hasn’t anyone chosen you and when will your turn ever come?
6. Having our profile out there didn’t make the wait any easier
So much of the adoption process can be boiled down to four words: Hurry up and wait. Putting together our profile felt a lot like that.
Initially, there was a great push to get it done and get it out there where people could see it. Working on it kept us busy and made the time pass quickly.
But after we finished, it felt like we were back where we started—back to that old waiting game, wondering when, and if, we would get picked.
Eventually it did. Twice. Which made everything we went through worthwhile—-and then some.
My advice to you is not to take things for granted. Once you’ve finished your profile, think about what you need to do next. There’s always something to do.
Don’t leave it for someone else! Try to complete a new task every day and eventually you too will be able to share your tips on what you wished you had known after you created your adoption profile.
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