Adoptive Couple Fears – The Big 1st Impression: The Profile Book

by Audrey Winterhof | Posted on April 18th, 2016

Feeling the pressure of the profile book?  There is so much to say about your family that you might end up with a chapter book on your hands.  That is true.  You have many facets of your life that you want this birth mother to see. You want her to know how outstanding your family is! But how will you ever fit it all in?!  This book could be one of the biggest 1st impressions you’ve ever made.  Talk about pressure!

The Goal of the Profile Book: to connect with a few birth mothers…not all birth mothers.  In other words, you want to be outstanding to a few rather than average to many.   God has created your family in a unique way.  Be thankful for that and proud to show it off!  If God’s plan is to build your family through adoption, then trust that He will.

Where to Start

Let me try to help reduce some of the stress related to this book.  Be genuine.  Show a birth mother what it looks like to be a member of your family.  If you over think it, it’s likely you will end up painting a picture of what you think a birth mother might perceive as the “ideal family”.  No birth mother is the same as the next.  Each birth mother I have worked with has connected with an adoptive family in ways that appear to be completely random.  Believe it or not, a birth mother will identify with your family in ways you least expect it.  Be creative in showing a birth mother a glimpse of what it would be like to be a part of your family.

For instance, it may be that you have 3 pet dogs and so did she when she was growing up.  Or maybe she connects with you because you have the same family tradition for birthdays.  Remember – the goal of your profile book is to be genuine and honest about who you are as a family.  Don’t paint this elaborate picture of what you think a birth mother wants to see.  She will connect with you just the way you are.

Tips for Creating Your Profile Book

  1. Be yourself Creating a fake family in the hope that you will appeal to a birth mother is dangerous. If you find your family enjoying a little humor, include that in your book!  Show the fun side of your family in more ways than just a bunch of pictures with smiling faces.
  2. Choose photos that tell a story posed pictures are great and there are a few appropriate places to include them in your book. However, actions speak louder than words. Photos that SHOW parts of your life unfolding are more helpful to birth mothers than a staged photo.  She’s trying to imagine her child living in your family…help her envision that.
  3. Short, easy to read captions photos grab attention first. Text follows.  Text is easier to read if the font is bigger and paragraphs are shorter.  Some birth mothers read all the words on the page 3 or 4 times but some skim through and just look at the pictures.Here is my favorite way to describe how to use text in profile books – use words that appeal to all 5 senses. Instead of writing “Jackie loves to cook.” Write “We love waking up to the smell of Jackie’s warm homemade cinnamon rolls on a crisp Sunday morning.”  Or instead of writing “We enjoy going camping.” Write “Nothing beats a 5 mile hike and an afternoon out on the lake near our campsite with our canoes.” They’re short and sweet and paint a vivid picture of how you spend your free time!
  1. It’s not a family photo album Don’t worry about Aunt Susie being offended because Aunt Leslie is in more photos in the book. This is your profile book and you should choose photos that capture YOU and the life that a child placed with you may have.
  2. Have fun with it – use your favorite colors! Use your favorite patterns! Include your favorite goofy pictures! This profile book depicts your family. And though this book is being shown to birth mothers in serious situations, I’m sure that your family is not dead serious every single day. And neither are the birth mothers who are going to be looking at your book.  Use some humor but ALWAYS show respect for the adoption process and the birth mothers looking at your book.
  3. Pray God has a plan for your family. The adoption journey can be tough and the profile book you create can seem like a pressure-filled task.  Trust in Him and He will help you create your profile book.