Whether you're an expectant parent or a prospective adoptive parent, you need to know the in and outs of an adoption family profile.

Adoption Family Profile

Adoption Family Profile, what does that even mean? Let’s start with the basics because let’s be honest; adoption jargon can be hard to understand, especially if you are facing an unplanned pregnancy for the first time. I understand and I am here to help you and hopefully lessen the burden. I was in your shoes once and am now 18 years post-adoption, which means I handpicked my son’s adoptive parents by looking at Adoption Family Profiles and placed my son through adoption 18 years ago. An Adoption Family Profile is something that a prospective adoptive family puts together to give you more information about themselves. 

It serves as a short glimpse into their lives. Who are they? What do they do for fun? Do they already have kids? Do they have pets? These are just some of the basics you can expect to learn from an Adoption Family Profile. You can also expect to see photos and sometimes videos of the couple or family on the profile. Let’s take an even deeper dive into Adoption Family Profiles!

What should you look for if you are expecting?

The pressure to find the perfect family is real and I get it. You want nothing but the best for your baby and that can be a heavy burden to carry, so what should be on your list of things to look for in a potential adoptive family? Here are some questions that can help get your mind rolling on questions to ask prospective adoptive couples. When it comes to adoption and finding the right family for your baby, don’t be shy; there are no right or wrong questions!

Questions to ask yourself about what you want from a prospective adoptive family:

  • Do I want my child to be their first baby or for the family to already have children, either biological or adopted?
  • Is there a certain salary I want them to make?
  • Do I want one of the parents to be a stay-at-home mom/dad?
  • Should they be married for a certain amount of time?
  • Do I want them to be pet lovers? 
    • Cats/Dogs?
  • Do I want an open/semi-open adoption or a closed adoption?
  • If open, how open? 
    • Do I want in-person visits, how often?
  • Do I want the potential adoptive family to live near me or is distance not a concern?

Questions for the prospective adoptive family:

  • How many kids do they want? A big or small family?
  • Do they want an open/semi-open adoption or a closed adoption with the birth parents?
  • How do they plan on discussing adoption with your child?
  • What is their parenting style? 
    • Do they believe in spankings or timeouts, etc.
  • Any family traditions?
  • Do they like to travel? 
  • Are the grandparents going to be involved?
  • If I get married and have more children in the future, will my other children and husband/wife be allowed to be a part of my open adoption/visits? 
  • Will my immediate family be allowed to be a part of my visits? 
    • For example, my parents?

These are just some examples of questions; there are thousands of variations to choose from. Know that meetings and phone calls with prospective adoptive parents can sometimes be awkward at first and that’s okay! It’s normal and isn’t necessarily a bad sign. This is a process for everyone involved so give yourself and the couples you meet some grace. If it feels like a bad blind date at first, do not give up; give it a second date, so to speak. 

Some birth moms, myself included, talk about just having this feeling that this was the right couple. We knew from the start and we could not put our finger on why, but we just knew. Do not be scared away if you do not get this feeling but you still really like this couple or family and are interested in getting to know them more. Not everyone will get a magical feeling and every journey is different and that is 100% okay! Also, keep an open mind when looking at Adoption Family Profiles. You may think you know exactly what you want in a family but then when you start looking, you may be surprised by what draws you in. Stay open to all options. 

What if you are the one looking to adopt?

As a birth mom myself, the number one question I get asked from potential adoptive parents is, “What should I put on my profile to get noticed?” That is such a great question and completely understandable! You want to stand out in the crowd and be noticed, but there is no secret sauce and no magic pill. You must be your authentic self! I wish I had something more deeply profound and magical to offer you. But it is in being your true and authentic self that makes you…..well, you! That is exactly what expectant parents need and want to see. They want to see your hearts, your silliness, what you do on a regular weekend and day to day basis. They want the REAL you. 

When I was just 16 and pregnant and going through Adoption Parent Profiles, it was their pictures that stood out to me the most. They had taken photos at their local playground on all the equipment and had written about how one day they hoped to take their own child here to play. I loved that and they just seemed so playful and charismatic. Yes, they had a cute profile book, looked good on paper, seemed really nice, and checked off some of the key things that I wanted in prospective adoptive parents, but that photo, something as simple as that, drew me in! Who would have thought? So, my biggest advice is do not be afraid to be silly and be yourself because you never know what might catch the eye of an expectant parent. 

Katye LaNier is a Marketing Project Manager for the Gladney Center for Adoption and suggests that prospective adoptive couples check out a brand-new podcast called Birth Mother’s Amplified as a resource. It is hosted by two birth moms, Emma and Muthoni, and they bring on guest birth moms each week to share their adoption experiences and also include panels of birth moms addressing certain adoption topics. These topics can range from grief to open adoptions and holidays. Katye suggests that listening to some of these podcasts might give prospective couples a really great and unique glimpse into how birth moms feel throughout the process. This allows prospective adoptive parents to tap into a better and greater understanding from a side not typically seen before.  

Evolution of Adoption Family Profiles

Adoption Family Profiles have come a long way and we should all be thankful for that! 18 years ago, when I was a birth mom looking at profiles, we did not have internet profiles to easily click on from your phone or tablet. Instead, I would meet with my adoption caseworker and give her a list of potential things I wanted in an adoptive family. Then she would bring me a handful of books that were put together by the families individually.

Each book was decorated in the way they wanted with their own individual touch, short bios throughout each page, and lots and lots of pictures. If I did not see anything I liked in that group, then I would haul them back and ask for more. Now Adoption Family Profiles are one quick click away and you can read about them anytime, while on the go, at work, on a break. They are right there at your fingertips, available for viewing whenever convenient. You can even click to get more info right away and connect to the prospective family within minutes. By the time you finish reading, watching videos, looking at the pictures, and even reading the adoption family blogs, you may feel like you already know them.

If you prefer hard copy Adoption Family Profiles, don’t panic, the Gladney Center still uses them just in a little different way. Profile books have moved with the times and have saved the families from paper cuts and hours of endless cutting of construction paper and glue as they now use services such as Shutterfly to print Adoption Family Profiles. 

A look at a current Adoption Family Profile

Just a disclaimer: I do not know this couple, I chose them at random. 

This is Kevin and Lauren and they are looking to adopt! I found them during a simple search on adoption.com and immediately was drawn to their letter board that says, “Hoping to Adopt.” That is what first caught my eye. Something as simple as that made me want to take a closer look at their profile. As soon as you click on Kevin and Lauren, you will see four categories: About, Photos, Letter, and Posts.

Here is what you will see when you click on about under Kevin and Lauren’s Adoption Family Profile:


Basic Info Kevin                                                                     Lauren Age: 27                                                                   Age: 22 Race/Ethnicity: White                                        Race/Ethnicity: White Religion: Christian                                              Religion: Christian Denomination: LDS/Mormon                           Denomination: LDS/Mormon

Work & Education Kevin                                                                    Lauren Education: Master’s Degree                              Education: Interior Design LDSB Profession: Master of Real Estate      Profession: Interior Designer Developer

Environment Country: USA State: Utah Relationship: Married Neighborhood: Rural                                                            Years together: 1 to 5 years Residency: House Children in home: no children Sexual orientation: Heterosexual parents

Post Adoption Contact/Level of Openness Open (open to all contact, phone calls, an in-person visit before adoption placement, sharing photos and letters after placement, visits at a neutral location after adoption placement, etc.)

Preferences for a child Age: All ages, Newborn to 1 year of age Gender: Either Multiple Children: All, not open to multiple children, twins, triplets or more, sibling groups Race/Ethnicity: All Special Needs: open to discussion, mild or medically correctable

As you can see, it is incredible the amount of information that someone can get. These prospective adoptive families work hard to make sure you have what you need to feel safe and secure in your search for information. 

The next category is photos and is self-explanatory. You can see an array of photos of the couple doing things that they love. Photos and videos, in my opinion, are the best and most telling glimpse. They show you who the couple is and allow their personality to shine through. 

The next category is a letter and this is written directly to an expectant parent who may be looking at their profile. Most letters start by thanking you and acknowledging the hard decision you are about to make and show the utmost respect that they have for you. Then it further goes into something like a biography about who they are as a couple. Another great and fun way to get to know them! The final category is posts; this is a place for blogging. It is up to each couple and family as to how often they want to post. The commitment and detail in each of these Adoption Family Profiles wows me.

Final Thoughts

The bottom line, if you find yourself facing an unplanned pregnancy and looking at adoption, I commend you. I know this is hard but please do not forget to seek some self-care. Take advantage of all that the Gladney Center offers to you whenever you may need help. Find a therapist or support group for expectant moms or birth moms and ask for help when you need it. 

For any prospective adoptive couples and families, I know this waiting time can be hard for you. Try to connect and find a support group as well. Watch the podcast as mentioned earlier. Stay strong and lean on your partner for support. You are all in my thoughts. 

Katie Urban