Your family profile is the first, and often only, impression you have to make with a potential birthmother or birthparents of your adopted child. This critical component in many domestic adoptions is also referred to as your “Dear Birthmother Letter” or DBM, or even sometimes simply referred to as “the binder.”
But how do you convey your most heartfelt desire for a child to a stranger? Who is this stranger who could change our lives? How do we stand out in a sea of prospective adoptive parents? There seem to be so many more questions than answers!
Here are a few tips to get you started on your journey as you attempt to put your lives on paper and create the best family profile for a potential birthmother.
Are all birthmothers teenagers? Actually, this is a huge myth. While many years ago the predominant numbers of birthmothers were in their teens, today birthmothers widely vary in terms of age, education, culture and circumstances. But who is the birthmother then? She is someone who knows that at this particular moment in time she does not want a child, but still wants the best for her baby. She is being honest with herself and is looking for that honesty in the profiles she reads – not a sales pitch.
Your family profile is a snapshot of your life. Show a bit of your personality or what is unique about you, have a sense of humor and while you want to represent that you lead an exciting and full life, make sure there is still room for a baby.
Choose photographs carefully – the old adage “A picture is worth a thousand words” never rang more true than in an adoptive parents family profile. Pay close attention to both the subject and the quality of the photograph. No you don’t need a model home or a glamour makeover. But your pictures of your home convey so much about you – is your home tasteful and welcoming, or stuck in the 80’s? Is your décor child friendly or does it look like a museum for fragile glass? For your personal photographs, don’t set up a timer in your dark living room and jump in front of a flashing camera. Ask a friend to help or consider hiring a photographer. Natural lighting is usually more flattering to most people and try to be casual and relaxed in your poses. Stay away studio style portraits or formal settings. Avoid using any photograph that is over- or under-exposed or has “red eye” in it.
Check with your agency to see if they have any requirements for a particular format, both for content and presentation. Be open to their suggestions and criticism. After you have your profile complete, have a trusted and honest friend review your creation before you turn the final version into your agency.
Be sure to continually review your profile – and update periodically if it isn’t garnering attention from prospective birthmothers. If you feel like you need professional help in either compiling or tweaking your family profile, contact us and we can connect you with our network of experienced adoption professionals.