Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Profile Books

A reader of mine recently asked me about profile books and referred to them, as some adoptive parents do, a "necessary evil."

Some of you might wonder what's wrong with profile books? The general consensus, from the many adoptive moms and biological moms I know, is that it's another tool (along with YOU TUBE videos, pass along cards, unethical agencies, etc.) that pressures a mom to place her baby for adoption.

For those new to adoption, what is a profile book?

Generally, agencies ask potential adoptive parents to put together a book about themselves which includes pictures, captions, lists/charts (such as "favorite things"), and sometimes a "Dear" letter addressed to expectant mothers and fathers. These books are kept on file at the agency, and when an expectant parent is considering adoption, the profile books are shown (in various ways, according to the agency's rules). Based on the profile books, a mother might choose a family for her baby or ask to meet a family in person before deciding. Or, of course, she can choose to parent her baby.

Besides the dreaded checklist adoptive families fill out (what you will and won't accept in a potential adoption situation), the profile book was very hard for me to put together. I wanted it to be accurate, honest, and ethical.

With our second adoption, our profile book was similar to our first---lots of photos with detailed captions, a long "Dear Expectant Parent(s)" letter, and a section called "What We Believe" which listed our feelings on specific things like discipline, family activities, etc.

Even though I strongly believe in adoption ethics, I had to fight some demons along the way. I had to constantly be on guard to avoid slipping into adoptive-parent-competition-mode: the BEST photos, exaggerated captions, etc. Because ultimately, I do believe God's plan will be done in my life as an adoptive mother, but I am still responsible for my choices in everything adoption-related, including those profile books.

In essence, I wanted to be chosen knowing I am who I said I am in that profile book, not because I had the most flattering photographs and captivating captions.

No doubt, I worked very hard on creating a profile book I was proud of. However, I absolutely balanced that with the truth of our lives.

So reader, I believe that if you have chosen an ethical agency, and if you are assigned a profile book to create, that you do so in honesty, not in competition, persuasion, or manipulation. Matthew 12:36 comes to mind, which states that we will be judged for our every word.

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