Now Reading
Tips On Creating An Adoption Profile Book

Tips On Creating An Adoption Profile Book

Jessica Butler
Arrow + Root for Raise

Adoption profile designer Mallory Fogas, owner of Arrow + Root, shares her tips on creating the perfect profile book -- from using proper language to choosing the right photos to the importance of overall design.

Arrow + Root for Raise Magazine
c/o Arrow + Root.

Is a profile book required for all adoptions and foster care?

Everyone who adopts domestically needs a profile book. Even if you know somebody at church who knows a woman who is considering adoption and says she wants to meet you, you still want to have a book for her to flip through during your meeting or to take home after your meeting. Or even as a keepsake after placement.

Occasionally, a profile is needed for international adoption, but most of the time they just want a PDF of your answers to their questions and some photos. Not a formal book.

For foster care, it depends on the situation.  If you’re not already fostering a child but want to adopt from the foster care system, and there is a child that is “legally free,” meaning that they’re available for adoption and parental rights have already been terminated, then a caseworker may want to look through profiles to choose a family. It depends on the case worker, the state, and the requirements of both.

Your profile is your opportunity to connect with an expectant parent on an ethical and honoring level.

Arrow + Root for Raise Magazine
c/o Arrow + Root.

How many profile books do I need to print?

If your agency doesn’t require a specific amount, three is a good number.  Not a lot of physical books are used anymore. A lot of expectant parents now view profile books digitally, and all of our packages includes a PDF that our clients can forward.

Writing a profile is so overwhelming. Where do I start? Do you provide a list of questions and suggestions?

Before a client comes on board with us, we have a call with them. We want to get to know them, share our process, and we want them to get to know us so that they’re comfortable moving forward and so they know that we’re going to be there for them, not just to provide a profile book, but to offer support and resources and guidance and education. Ethical adoption is so important to us, and that starts with the profile book.  Outside of  your adoption professional, your profile is your opportunity to connect with an expectant parent on an ethical and honoring level.

Our clients have the opportunity to have an hour-long phone call with a birth mom who’s on our team. She’s 15 years post placement and works as an open adoption consultant.

If you decide to move forward with us, we set you up with our client portal — a spot online just for you that’s private. There’s a questionnaire, which allows us to get to know you, and your answers don’t have to be written perfectly because we’re going to edit them to make sure they say everything you want to portray in a loving and honoring way. You can also upload photos in the various categories that we suggest for the book.

Before accessing the portal, our clients have the opportunity to have an hour-long phone call with a birth mom who’s on our team. She’s 15 years post placement and works as an open adoption consultant. Her job is to walk hopeful adoptive or adoptive parents through different scenarios and address their questions and concerns. We suggest our clients have the conversation before they fill out the questionnaire because they often dig into their concerns and feelings towards openness [in adoption], and sometimes their feelings change. We don’t want to have them write things in the portal and then say, “I feel differently now after talking to her.”

Arrow + Root for Raise Magazine
c/o Arrow + Root.

What is the difference between an ethical profile book company and a non-ethical one?

When you’re picking a company to work with, you want to ask hard questions. Do they use [the term] “birth parents” or “expectant parents?” “Birth parent” is post birth. “Expectant parent” is before birth. Potential birth parents are “expectant parents” who are considering adoption as one of their options. They have not made the decision yet, even if they’ve said, “We’re going to move forward with adoption.” It can change. It can change in the hospital. It seems like such a small word, but the language is very important to the birth parents I’ve spoken to who have been placed their child.

Also ask the company how they approach the profile book. Does it only share about the hopeful adoptive parents or does it also acknowledge the expectant parent and say, “We value you as a person outside of this trial. We see you, we love you, and we think you’re worthy, whatever choice you end up making.” Some companies put a “Dear birthparent” letter in the beginning of the book, and that’s a big no-no. Make sure the company you’re considering isn’t just going to take your words and post them without providing education and knowledge.

Arrow + Root for Raise Magazine
c/o Arrow + Root.

Do you recommend using professional photos or candids in a profile?

Both. We want an expectant mother to know who you are, what you interests are, and what you enjoy so that she can picture what a potential life for her child would be like with you. We balance the candid photos with professional photos, which we use in key areas such as your cover and ending, and we sprinkle them throughout. I highly suggest professional photos. It elevates your book to a polished level and gives it a visual tie throughout.

Show your personality. That’s so important, even in the professional photos. Lifestyle photos are great– having a photographer come into your home and take photos while you cook or play outside together.

If our clients haven’t had professional photos taken yet, we have the opportunity to say, “Let’s do more vertical than horizontal because our books are vertical. Let’s have more of your personality showing.”

Show your personality. That’s so important, even in the professional photos. Lifestyle photos are great– having a photographer come into your home and take photos while you cook or play outside together.

We also advocate for no signs in professional photos. I know sometimes people will hold a sign that says, “We’re adopting!” and utilize it to help raise money for their adoption, and that’s okay.  But it’s not something you should put in the book. It doesn’t honor the expectant parent. It focuses in on the child and makes it look like you’re only in it for the baby.

Arrow + Root for Raise Magazine
c/o Arrow + Root.

What is the most important part of a profile?

Being authentic and vulnerable. There’s a lot of stuff that people are afraid to say but will actually help an expectant parent to connect to you and know you’re not just in it for the baby. You can say, “We know that this is one of the most difficult decisions that you will ever have to make. We’re sorry that you’re walking through this difficult time, and we support you.” It’s okay to acknowledge the hard stuff.

Also, the design. We connect with things with our eyes first before we connect on a deeper level, so making sure your design isn’t overwhelming is important. If a page has all kinds of colors and all kinds of graphics, and tons of pictures and tons of words, it’s going to be overstimulating to an expectant mom. She is already overwhelmed in her decision making. I cringe when I see a profile book that looks like an old-school scrapbook because I know an expectant mom will not know where to focus when she tries looks at it. I’ve had so many clients who have said, “Our expectant mother picked up our book because the design stood out to her.”

Arrow + Root for Raise Magazine
Mallory Fogas. c/o Arrow + Root.

You can read more about Mallory and the amazing services her company provides at Arrowandroot.org.

What advice do you have for hopeful adoptive parents who are working on their profile book? Share in the comments below!

Speaking of profile books: The One Thing You Should Never Say In Your Adoption Profile and How To Write An Adoption Profile: According To A Birth Family.

View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

© 2019 Raise Magazine. All Rights Reserved.