When creating your adoption profile, be authentic. If an expectant mother chooses you, you may be spending plenty of time together over the next months. If your first letters weren’t truthful, she will find out, and may be put off. And, use these ideas from birth mothers to start off this new relationship on the right foot:
- Inject humor. Include an amusing anecdote or funny photo that shows that humor is one way you deal with life. “They had a picture of the whole family wearing 3-D glasses and watching fireworks,” said Kelly, of the family she chose to parent her baby. “This family had a good time just being around each other.”
- Show something unique. Have a horse? Show it. Bilingual? Write a few words in your second language. You want to differentiate yourselves from the others in the stack. “The mother I chose proposed to her husband at an NFL football game on the big scoreboard,” says Jessica. “I liked her chutzpah.”
- Find balance. Let potential birth parents know that your life is full enough, that you aren’t depending on a baby to make it “complete.” “I didn’t want my baby to be the one thing that saved these people from a life of misery,” explains Sara, “so I passed on them.” Yet don’t make it seem so full that you would have no room for a child. Shelly recalls one couple she didn’t choose: “Both people had high-powered jobs and were involved in so many things that I just couldn’t see how they’d fit in another responsibility.”
- Accurately represent yourselves, and avoid playing to your audience. One birth mother might love dogs, while another might be allergic. One might want her baby to be the couple’s first, while another might want the baby to have older siblings. To bring about the best match, simply be truthful about who you are and what your lives are about.
- Ask a trusted friend to look over your masterpiece before turning it in to your agency. Ask this person to be candid about the photos, letters, and tone. “In one picture, taken at a family picnic, they all had red eyes,” explains Gwen. “I know it was just the photo, but my impression was ‘how demonic!'”
- Tinker. Advertisers know that tweaking just a word or an image can dramatically change results. If you’ve been waiting a while, make a minor change, like the stationery or the lead photo.
Susan Watson, director of the domestic adoption and birth parent services programs at Spence-Chapin, which has been placing children since 1908, says: “Adoptive parents should meet expectant mothers with honesty and integrity. In our experience, birth mothers exercise incredible wisdom when they choose adoptive parents.”