Profile books are glimpses into the lives of hope-to-be adoptive parents. Lawyers and agencies show these books to birthparents so they can choose their babies’ adoptive parents. No pressure, right?
I first learned of profile books before Joseph and I decided it was time to adopt. I can thank Pinterest for that. I read blog post after blog post about different facets of adoption and fostering, and I pinned many of them that seemed helpful, encouraging, or even convicting. The posts on profile books, however, rarely made the cut, because we were planning on adopting through DSS, which doesn’t need profile books to show to birthparents.
When we decided to cast our adoption net a little wider and apply with a private agency, we learned we would join the group of hopeful parents who tried to capture their lives in photos and brief words that would “promote” themselves without seeming self-promoting, one of the more challenging tasks I’ve faced in recent years.
How does a couple introduce themselves on paper in a way that says they’ll be great parents without casting judgment on the birthparents or without seeming arrogant and self-centered? A way that shows gratitude without being overly sappy? A way that extends grace and even friendship without presuming to know anything about the birthparents? A way that shows their family and friends without offending them because there just wasn’t enough room to share all the pictures of all the people they love? A way that presents their personalities without making them look stuffy, or self-absorbed, or weird?
I still don’t know!
But I tried.
For as simple as this book truly is, it took me days to complete it. Some of the first pages I created were the ones that contained the letter to the birthparents and our closing remarks. I dropped in the pictures, but I kept putting off the text. I just didn’t know what to say. Words and thoughts had been swimming around in my head for a couple of weeks, and I didn’t know how to string them together in a coherent manner. I didn’t know how to open our hearts to people who needed our love poured out to them on paper.
So, when the last pictures had been placed and all the captions had been written, when there was nothing left to do, I stared at a blinking cursor. Our house was quiet except for the hum of the appliances and my sleeping husband. I had no words.
So, I prayed.
God answered, and words came.
They aren’t particularly eloquent. My grammar probably isn’t perfect. There may be typos. I may have forgotten to include something that most birthparents really want to know (at least according to the dozens of blog posts I read about creating the perfect profile book).
But those words are our heart. They express our gratitude and our intentions. More importantly, I hope they express our love through Jesus for people we haven’t yet met.
I debated whether or not to include these images of our book, not necessarily because they’re private (and we all know how private I am … HA!), but because I didn’t want this to come across as a “look what I did” kind of post. I’m not seeking a pat on the back or a “that turned out great, Rachelle! You’ll be matched in no time!” I decided to share our book because it was so helpful for me to see what other people included when they created their books. I found this post particularly helpful. Their book is beautiful, and I used a few of their ideas when organizing ours.
If you are one of our friends or family, I hope your feelings aren’t hurt if you weren’t included or if I included more pictures of someone else. Most of the pictures I used were either on our phones or in albums on Facebook, and I had a hard time including everything I wanted to on some of the page layouts. I’m particularly sensitive about this issue, so I’m nervous about sharing our book!
OK … here it is. Man, I didn’t realize how nervous I was until it was time to start uploading the pictures!
(Click on the images to view them larger. You may need to click your browser’s back button to return to the post.)
We had them printed at Walgreens, which wasn’t my first choice. We still had a tiny sliver of hope that we would be presented to these birthparents, so we wanted the books in our hands as quickly as possible. Walgreens has same day printing, and we didn’t have to wait on shipping. Because of no shipping charges combined with a coupon, we purchased five copies of our book for a little over $60. Not bad. The color isn’t perfect, and I don’t love the binding, but we have them, and they didn’t cost us a fortune, so I’m content.
Now we’re waiting on a few pieces of information for our home study. Hopefully, we’ll be considered an “approved and waiting” family very soon!