We recently sat down with Meredith Shepard, the Adoptive Parent Coordinator at Heart of Adoptions, to get some more insight on adoption profile best practices. With over 10 years experience in adoption, her feedback was incredible and we couldn't help but share it with you!
Here are the top five things that Meredith shared with us that will help you throughout the Parentfinder process:
1. First and foremost, remember that you only have about 12 pages to tell your story to a birth parent that is making one of the hardest decisions of their life. Be mindful of space and make sure that your story is compelling. Meredith suggested to, “imagine a birth mother looking at a stack of adoption profiles. It’s like when you’re at the doctor’s office, and you have this rack of magazines. You flip one open – and if it doesn’t catch you – you move on.”
2. When it comes to telling your story through text and photos, don’t feel the need to portray yourself as the perfect family. Meredith suggests that it’s best to “be authentic and be human” and that, “most of the time it’s the more ordinary things in life that attract birth mothers” – like walking the dog around the block, reorganizing the closets or actually enjoying the act of mowing the lawn!
3. Writing about what you hope to share with a future child is always important, but remember that birth parents don’t like to see any possessive verbiage when reading an adoption profile. She suggests that you not use the phrases, “our child,” or “your child.” Meredith explained that to birth parents, “it feels possessive and makes them feel like they have less of a choice in who will parent their child."
4. When it comes to photos, Meredith always tells her parents to, “try and make sure that most of them are not professionally done or staged.” She said that “birth parents like to see candid photos because it tells them that you’re camera ready and they feel like they’ll get good updates from you throughout the child’s life.” Be fun, be goofy, and be yourself!
5. Lastly - take advantage of the adoption video. “Our birth moms really like the videos,” said Meredith, “It’s much different than a profile in regards to how you see people and hear their voice. It’s where people's personalities come through the most.” She said that when a video works, it really works, “and the most successful ones are the ones where you can truly sense the love between the couple.”
Now this is only a sliver of the all the great advice that Meredith gave us, so don't forget to check back in the next few weeks to hear what she has to say about dealing with the anxiety of waiting to accept placement. In the meantime, feel free to explore some of our older posts and learn more about building the best adoption profile that you can!