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How to Write an Adoption Profile: According to a Birth Family

The best advice I received when creating our profile was to be authentic. Expectant families connect with adoptive parents who share their passions, quirks, and even physical attributes. In our case, it was a mutual love of Steve Martin that sealed the deal.

Writing your profile can be one of the most stressful aspects of the adoption process. The profile serves as your introduction to expectant mothers, including family photos, your traditions, parenting philosophy, religious beliefs, and more.

I spent weeks trying to anticipate what an expectant family might want to know about us, what photos to include, what stories to tell.

Levon’s birth grandmother was instrumental in picking his adoptive family and graciously allowed me to interview her about the process. She shared what was important to her, what wasn’t, and why she and Levon’s birth mother ultimately chose us. We hope you enjoy reading!

Prior to looking at any profiles, did you have an idea of what you wanted the adoptive family to be like?

I wanted a normal, traditional home, a family that looked like us, had no children, and had been trying, one way or another, to have a baby.

Nothing was in concrete, but I had to find a way to separate three or four or five hundred profiles, and that was my way. Until I came to your picture. And everything changed.

Adoption Profile Cover Photo
Our adoption profile cover photo.

I was so drawn to you. It compelled me to open your profile, and the first picture I saw was of your stepson Jackson playing guitar in his band. That said a lot about how much you love music and how important it is in your life. That you encouraged him to go to college and major in music told me so much about how you raise your children, respect your children, encourage your children, and it just took away that whole rule that I had about no kids.

It’s almost impossible to describe how much I was drawn to your profile. It was like I recognized you.

Did you have any absolute requirements?

My thinking was this: It’s going to be hard for this child, at some point in his life, to know that he was adopted. That question, “Why didn’t my birth mother choose to raise me,” seems to be crushing for some people. Other people I know who are adopted have never given it a second thought. But I went into this thinking that question could really hurt him, so I wanted his life to be otherwise as easy as possible. It was absolutely a requirement that the family look like what we anticipated the baby would like so that it wasn’t obvious that he had been adopted.

That was my first criteria: you’re going to have to look like us.

Me and Levon's birth grandmother.
Me and Levon's birth grandmother.

And with the divorce rate, I was looking for a family who had been together for a while.

I wanted the family to want this baby more than life itself.

Levon’s birth mother had certain things that were important to her: for her child to know and love animals, especially dogs, and to know and love music.

Another big factor was your proximity to Arizona. That was really, really, really huge. Our daughter’s friend had a baby and chose for the child to be adopted. But the adoptive family lived on the East coast, and they didn’t get to the hospital by the time the birth mother left the hospital. The mother kept thinking about her little baby, back there at the hospital all alone, and that was it — she went back and got the baby and raised her.  So that was a big thing – you needed to live in Arizona, New Mexico, California, or Utah.

Did economics matter to you?

I did want the parents to be employed. A lot of people were trying to emphasize that they had a lot of money, but that was not a consideration for me. Whether they were farmers or artists, it didn’t matter, just as long as they had a way to support themselves.

And it was important that they were educated. Not necessarily PHDs, but…

What immediately made you put a profile into the NO pile?

Anyone who didn’t look like us.

Anyone who lived outside Arizona, New Mexico, California, or Utah.

There were some – two or three – that were extremists; religion was their life.

There were people who farmed their own food and only ate vegan or gluten free, and I know that they were looking to appeal to my healthy side, but I wanted this child to grow up having hamburgers and French fries and really enjoying food.

Cat people. Cat people were put in the NO pile.

What wasn’t important to you?

Politics and religion didn’t matter to me. What was important was that the family was loving.

Were you more affected by the photos in the profiles or by the text?

I’d say they were of equal importance, but the photos were what compelled me to read the text.

The photo on the front was of prime importance. After I narrowed down the profiles, I went through them and looked at all the pictures and captions to see what kind of life the people had. What were they showing me that they felt was important?

Egg hunt on the water.

Your picture of the boys gathering Easter eggs in the lake, I just thought, “Well this family has fun.” That picture was very important. But as you know, what sealed the deal is what you wrote.

“Warren got his first gray hair at 16, and was completely gray by 35. His hero growing up was Steve Martin, which may explain the gray hair.” {from Jessica & Warren’s adoption profile}

That one sentence about Steve Martin. It was like you chose us. Because every single thing about you was exactly what we hoped for.

Levon and Memaw.
Levon and his Memaw.

It’s important to note that being a ‘traditional family’ does not necessarily make you more attractive to birth families. Our adoption agency has matched expectant mothers with single adoptive mothers, LGBTQ families, religious families, and non-religious families. You can read more about Levon’s adoption process here.

Below is our adoption profile, if you’d like to read it. As always, feel free to ask additional questions in the comments section. Thank you to Joanna Ivy at Our Chosen Child for designing our profile.

*A note about leaving comments on this post: Our mission is to raise the conversation about adoption, stepparenting and all forms of motherhood. Every birth family and adoptive family have unique preferences in regards to their match. There is no right or wrong when it comes to a family’s criteria. We welcome thoughtful discussion in the comments section, but please be considerate. Any inconsiderate remarks will be deleted.

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