Friday, September 3, 2010

Profile Books

For those who don't know, a profile book is almost always used in domestic infant adoption. It consists of a letter to an expectant mother, photos of the adoptive family, and sometimes captions and/or facts about them and their lives.

Currently I'm working on printing all of the letters we've sent to Miss E's biological mother and putting them in a 3-ring binder. I went to our adoption file to retrieve a few documents and out slid several copies of our profile book.

My husband came into the home office to ask me a question and saw the profile book, picked it up, and said, "Oh. Here's the 'give me your baby' book."

We both laughed a little. Not because it's really funny (we are not out to snag a child like a prowler) but because the truth is, the profile book is a necessary evil in adoption (as the system is set up currently).

The absolute hardest thing for me in the preparing-to-adopt process was filling out the checklist of what we were and were not open to. This included medical, racial, communication, sex, etc. openness. It was so hard to check boxes when we knew we were making decisions about a child---a real person.

The second hardest thing was the letter and the profile. As a writer, I wanted a perfect letter---one that was honest, heartfelt, and well-written. The profile was an extension of the letter---photographs, captions, and "facts" pages.

Every adoptive family wants to put their "best foot forward" in their profiles. How can we not? Adoption sometimes feels like a competition. Furthermore, adoptive families are on a pedestal. Many believe we "save" children who "need a good home." Even if we don't believe that, even though we know we are the lucky ones as the child's chosen parents, there's still that lingering feeling that we have to live up to a nearly perfect standard. Gulp!

It probably starts with being investigated and interviewed early on in the adoption process. It's invasive, even when I've done nothing legally wrong in my life (except one ticket when I was in my early twenties for "failure to reduce speed" when I rear-ended someone), getting fingerprinted in the interrogation room at the state police department was intimidating. We had to answer questions about our childhoods, our sex life (yeah----that's another post), our religious beliefs, our discipline methods, etc. Nothing was off limits. Our life was an open book. That's the red tape. You want to pass all the hurdles with flying colors. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect.

I know now much more than I did when we first started, and I know that no matter what I put in the profile and in the letter, God's plan will prevail for our family. No human hand can mess up God's will.

BUT, I know that we adopt again, and it comes time to create the dreaded profile, I will agonize over each photo, each caption, and each word in our letter. I will wonder if I'm being as honest as I should, if I should delete or add information, if I should be more or less detailed.

I'm pretty proud (maybe that's not appropriate to say...I don't know) of our first profile book. Not because we were chosen and became parents, but because I think it's accurate and honest.

I was tortured over my decision of whether or not to include the fact that we are adopting because I have type I diabetes. I was so scared no expectant mom would ever choose us because diabetes is a scary word that conjures up images of amputees and obese people and needles. Lots of needles. BUt in the end, after feeling convicted to be honest, we included a lengthy paragraph in our profile about my disease.

I also didn't want to say the typical blah-blah-blah (empty nonsense) like "Dear Birthmother, Thank you for choosing life for your baby. You are so brave. We should fall down and worship you." (Ok, so omit the last sentence, but the letters are really that drippy and horribly tacky. Look for yourself on an adoption agency's website under parent profiles. Be prepared to be bored by reading essentially the same letter over and over. The only amusement is the variety of photos people include. Think about horrible Christmas sweaters, poorly posed-formal portraits, and people hugging their dogs, their "babies," as they wait for their human babies to arrive.")

I don't know exactly what our next profile book will contain, but I got a great list of ideas from an online friend. I'd like to share that with you in a future post, so that if you are jumping into domestic infant adoption, you'll have something new to go off of than "Thank you for choosing life for your precious, darling, adorable, baby who will be our gift from God." Eyeroll.


  1. We are almost to the profile book stage and would much appreciate any ideas! It is daunting to try and be appealing to birth parents while maintaining authenticity. I really enjoyed your post, thank you!

  2. We live in Canada and adopted our daughter in 2007 from SC. We are in the process of updating our profile book and would love any advise you could pass on. I feel so much like you the book being a "necessary evil" thank you so much and congrat's on you new baby!
    ellen hopes at yahoo ca


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