Once families are far enough along in their adoption process to begin working on their adoption profile, the number one question asked is, “What are women really looking for?” The adoption profile can range in length however includes photos and details about a family to help give expecting parents a view into their lives to see if they might be the right family for them. There are lots of articles and blog posts out there about what to and not to do when creating your profile. One of the best we have seen which includes lots of information and helpful guidelines is How to Create a Successful Adoption Portfolio by Madeline Melchner. Agencies offer classes going over the specific information that should be included in profiles and many different companies have sprouted up offering professional profile design services which some families may feel they want to utilize.
Even a long time adoption professional who has seen thousands of profiles over the years found herself stumbling when it was time for her and her husband to put pen to the paper to create their own profile. Even though 10 pages seem like a lot, it’s hard to capture who you are as a family in that limited space. How you met, why adoption, information about your professions, community, families, and what makes you different than the many other profiles he or she may also be looking at.
Truth be told, there is only one answer to the question “What are women looking for?” and that is…drum roll please…it could be ANYTHING! Ok, that may seem like a cop out but it’s so true. Over the past 30 years, Adoptions From The Heart social workers have seen families chosen for so many different reasons. Behind each and every reason is that it made a deeper connection.
One social worker even said that often when she is preparing profiles for expecting parents to review, she will guess the family that the expecting parents will choose however 9 out of 10 times she is wrong. “Even if I’ve been working with her for month and think I know her really well, so often she will find something about a family that I never noticed or will connect on a level that I have overlooked.”
Take a look at this very real list of why families’ profiles have been selected. And it’s probably not why you think.
- The expecting mother noticed in the background of a family photo that their refrigerator was full of their child’s artwork. The fact that they took such pride in her creations was enough to show her they were the right family for her.
- Recently a family was selected because they included a Ron Burgundy quote from a Will Ferrell movie. When the family had asked for feedback from social workers about their profile as they were getting ready to update it, it was one of things suggested the family might consider removing from their profile. However the family decided it was important to keep it in because it really captured who they were and in the end it actually became the reason they were picked!
- The way the couple interacted in the video. It wasn’t forced, they made eye contact and smiled at each other and you could see their love. You’d be surprised how many couples don’t even look at each other during the video.
- The expecting parents noticed a picture of the prospective father making cookies in the kitchen with kids from the neighborhood and loved how involved the couple was with children in general.
- The couple showed goofy photos of themselves and she loved it! She knew they would bring so much laughter to her child’s life.
- We have seen families picked because of their pets. Whether it was the type of animal they grew up with or even the pet they had wanted and never had when they were little.
- A women chose a family because she noticed a photo with the father wearing a kilt at the Renaissance Faire. She had gone to the Faire each year and even suggested they host their visits there.
- The family liked Mexican food and so does she.
- The moment she heard the prospective adoptive father’s voice on the video, he reminded her of her dad and immediately she knew they were the right family for her.
- The couple went blueberry picking and that was something the expecting mother had done with her family as a child.
- The prospective adoptive mother was so put together, makeup and jewelry, in many her photos but this one photo she was holding a giant fish on a fishing pole. The woman thought it was awesome that she was a girly girl who wasn’t afraid of getting a bit dirty.
- They were fans of the same sports team.
- The woman who would classify herself as Gothic saw a photo of the prospective adoptive mother in her younger years dressed in Goth.
- The prospective adoptive father’s mother, who would become her child’s grandmother, resembled her own grandmother.
- The family lives in the state the expecting parent looking at profiles grew up in or visited and had special childhood memories from.
- After seeing their Halloween-themed wedding, she knew they were the ones because that was her favorite holiday.
- The family rode horses and the expecting mother had ridden when she was little and really wanted a family who would take her child riding.
- She loved the beach and chose a family that vacationed at the shore each year.
- The expecting parent played piano and when she saw a piano in the couple’s profile and found out the mother was a pianist, it made an instant connection.
- She chose a single female who was a college professor for two reasons. One was that she was well educated and that was important. And two, because during her video she was so nervous her voice shook terribly the entire time and the expecting mother found it funny that she was so nervous even though she was a college professor.
- The couple loved the outdoors and they were also very athletic which mirrored the expecting mother’s passion for both.
- Names can often be a reason a connection is made. The prospective adoptive father’s name was the same as her father’s name who unfortunately has passed away and in another situation the prospective adoptive mother’s name was the birth grandmother’s name.
- Sometimes a family is chosen because they already have children, especially if they had another child brought into the family through transracial adoption.
- A same-sex male couple was once selected because it was the expecting mother really wanted to feel like she was her child’s only mother.
- They were a military family and the expecting mother was in the military and it made an immediate connection between the two.
So you can see that it can really be anything big or small that makes a connection between the two families. It’s not to say that those men and women are choosing families for their children on a whim or without giving it much thought. It’s more about looking for signs and making a connection. Honestly, when making the extremely difficult decision to place your baby into another family’s home, 100 pages isn’t even enough explanation of the family one is choosing to entrust their child with. It’s much deeper than that. It’s taking a leap of faith based on a gut feeling to choose to place a precious piece of yourself with another family and trust that the promises will be kept and that their profile was as real representation of who they are in real life.
So take Dr. Seuss’ advice:
And just be YOU. You are not a PR person who is trying to make a pitch. The best adoption matches come from genuine connections. And you can never predict what it will be that makes that special connection and leads to the phone call that you’ve been waiting for.
If you want some more inspiration, take a look at lots of different varieties of profiles here.
If you are a birthparent, we would love to hear what it was about the family’s profile that created a connection for you?