Thank you all for your love, support, congratulations, prayers, comments, messages, and pure excitement from the recent post on our adoption! It still very surreal that we are bringing home our baby girl in a little over 2 months. Unless you've adopted before or have someone close to you that did, the process is all unknown... like it was to us just a couple of months ago. Today I am going to share our family profile book with you, the thing our birth family got to see and chose us based on. I want to give you a little back info on how this all works so you can follow along.
Once we were home study approved (the long process of paperwork, clearances, finger prints, interviews, references, home visits with a licensed social worker), we started working on our family profile book. It is basically a snapshot scrapbook into our family life and what is shown to birth families when they are choosing an adoptive family for their child. We were emailed cases by our adoption consultant and were able to review information such as pregnancy records/info, family, medical history, interviews with social workers, costs of the adoption etc. The amount of information varied by agency (we worked with multiple agencies through Christian Adoption Consultants) so sometimes it was really detailed information and maybe even a picture of the expectant mama and sometimes it was just basic information. So from there, we decided whether or not we wanted to present our family profile book to this expectant mama. We probably saw 25+ cases in the 5 months we waited but said no to a lot of them based on the due date of the babies (we were out of the country in July). On average, an expectant mother/family will see 3-5 profile books that fit any criteria she had (maybe she wanted a family with no kids in their home already, a certain religion/faith affiliation, a certain state, certain race, etc). Along with our family profile book, we wrote a personal letter to the birth mama each time we presented. I am still in shock that we only presented our profile twice before getting matched on our third time. And when I say present, I don't mean that we are face to face with the birth parents. There is no contact until a family is matched and the adoption case worker is the one who walks with the birth family during her pregnancy and shows her the profile books.
If you ask any of my family or friends to describe me, they would all use the word creative. I live to craft, create, design, and use my hands so making our book was so much fun! I wanted to share our entire book with you guys because I found it SO helpful to read other family's books as we were creating ours. To say I spent a lot of time on it would be an understatement. It consumed me for a few weeks but in a good way. I got to dig through old pictures of me and Jon pre babies (wow we look so energized and refreshed), take pictures of our home, and we jointly wrote out the blurbs on each page. Thank God for Pinterest because I was able to find some awesome adoption blogs that shared their family profile books and gave tips and recommendations. Crazy enough, Pinterest is where I found this tutorial on creating a family profile book by Susan our adoption consultant. I stayed up one night reading every single post on her blog, emailed her, and signed on with Christian Adoption Consultants within 2 weeks. I also have a few friends who have adopted in the past 1-2 years that shared their books with me. I do not know how we would have gotten this far without having people go before us and that is exactly what I want to do for the friends who will go after us.
Family profile books are typically no more than 20 pages long. Ours is 8x11 and we ordered soft cover because we needed 20+. Soft cover made it easier to mail as well. Sometimes agencies require specific details to be included in your family profile book so if you are an adoptive family, be sure to confirm with your agency first. I partnered with Shutterfly to create our books and I can't begin to tell you how our partnership has blessed our family throughout our adoption. The Shutterfly interface is so incredibly easy and user friendly, I made probably 300 edits over the month it took me to create and had absolutely no issues. I am already up to date on our 2016 family yearbook in Shutterfly and can't wait to create birth announcements for our sweet baby girl this fall!
I still say to myself multiple times a day, I can't believe she chose us. I know the text is small so if you are needing further guidance on creating a profile book (or want to talk adoption/have questions), email me! Without further adieu, here is our family profile book.