My wife and I suffered multiple miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy during 3 years of IUI and IVF procedures. We tried donor eggs, our frozen embryos, and more, but nothing worked. We felt a deep loss of control and had little hope that any medical procedure would result in us becoming parents. Near the end of our infertility journey, we started exploring adoption.
If you think that adoption may be on the horizon for you, let me tell you something incredibly empowering.
Adoption is NOT infertility all over again!
At least it wasn’t for us, and I’m not saying that simply because it worked and we became parents through adoption. I’m saying this because there are parts of the adoption process that you have complete control over and have a huge impact on your success. We certainly didn’t experience this type of control with infertility—especially near the end.
What is an Adoption Profile?
The adoption profile is traditionally a booklet or brochure-like document—maybe 8-12 pages of photos and text. It’s adopting parents’ opportunity to share important things about their life with the reader. Today, a YouTube video, website, Facebook page, or Instagram profile sometimes complement (or replace) the PDF or printed profile.
When you look for a job, your resume is often your opportunity to make a first impression—the way you introduce yourself to a hiring manager. You probably won’t get a job just from your resume, but you definitely could get an interview.
The adoption profile is similar in that it’s often your initial introduction to an expectant parent, but it actually may be the only thing someone looks at before choosing you to parent their child. As the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
What Can You Control?
The goal of the profile is to attract the “right” potential birth parent—someone for whom you are right for her and she is right for you. To achieve this goal, two things need to happen:
- You need to create an outstanding profile. There are a lot of adopting parents out there, but not nearly as many outstanding profiles.
- You need to get it in front of as many potential birth parents as possible. Ultimately, the “right” person needs to see it.
Creating an Outstanding Adoption Profile
Many adopting parents create their profile so as to not offend anyone. They want to be “attractive” to everyone. If they’re a little eccentric, they hide it. If they have a scary-looking dog, they’re concerned about including him in photos. If they have two children already, they don’t share much about them because they assume expectant parents won’t select families with multiple children.
Unfortunately, what often happens is that those profiles aren’t attractive to anyone because they don’t communicate much that most others wouldn’t also communicate. The profiles, and the adopting parents behind them, become generic and boring.
We’re all excited to be parents, right? We all have wonderful friends and family to support us, too. It’s difficult to strike a connection with someone when that’s the extent of information you share.
Showing Your Authentic Self in Your Profile
The key to creating a great profile is to allow your authentic self to come through. Show who you are and more importantly, create an image in the reader’s mind of what their child’s life would be like as a member of your family—your specific family.
The goal isn’t to have 100 expectant parents read your profile and think you’re OK. You’d rather have 98 or 99 of them know that you are not a good match for them and then 1 or 2 others who know that you are the perfect match for them.
Be yourself! That’s who the right person wants to meet.
Maximizing Your Exposure
A lot of adopting parents finish their profile and then…nothing. That’s it. They expect their agency or attorney to show their profile to expectant parents considering adoption and as a result, they sit at home and wait for the phone to ring.
If you were looking for a job and handed your perfectly crafted resume to a headhunter, would that be it? Would you then run home and wait for the phone to ring? Of course not! You’d tell everyone you know about the kind of job you’re looking for as you network and market yourself like crazy! The same approach works for adoption.
After you have a great adoption profile, get it in front of as many potential birth parents as possible. You can’t attract the right expectant parent if they never know you exist. Create an adoption website, run an online advertising campaign, post on social media, and give your profile to people who may come in contact with someone experiencing an unplanned pregnancy.
Adoption Isn’t Infertility
You may not be ready to pursue adoption—now or ever—and that’s OK. Just know that if you decide on another family building path, adoption isn’t infertility all over again. You definitely don’t have control over all aspects of the process, but you can control some of the key elements that drive success, and that is incredibly empowering!