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Written by Renee Hettich
on May 12, 2015

profile_book  Prospective adoptive parents wishing to adopt a baby need to outreach to potential birth parents.  Whether you are pursuing a private independent adoption or agency adoption, using a book format family portfolio is an effective tool for "marketing" yourself to birth parents.  


Family Connections, Inc. is an authorized New York State adoption agency who has been supporting adoptive families and birth parents since 1994.  The agency has over twenty years of experience helping prospective adoptive parents develop family portfolios that have lead to matches with birth families.  Family Connections, Inc. has a domestic infant placement program and would be pleased to support your family's adoption plan.


An adoptive family book portfolio will provide a birth family with details regarding your family, life style, home and community, and parenting beliefs. This profile will give the birth family an in-depth understanding of who you are as a family. 


What Do I Include in My Book Portfolio?


□    On the front cover of the book, introduce yourselves to the birth mother with your first names and a picture of just the two of you.  The most effective pictures are close-ups of just you and your partner looking into the camera smiling with engaging eyes.  Please remember not to hide behind hats and sunglasses. 

□    Typically, the first page of the inside of the book is your “Dear Birth Mother” letter.  It is the opportunity to express your thoughts on adoption, your empathy toward the birth mother, and your hopes and dreams for a family.  Don’t forget to add a picture of the two of you to this page.

□    A couple of pages regarding your relationship - how you met, how long you have been married, what you enjoy doing together as a couple, and your commitment to building a family together.

□    Information and pictures of your home and community.

□    Share your pets.  At times birth mothers have been drawn to an adoptive family because of their special pets.  To reassure a birth mother that your big dog is “great with kids”, have pictures of your dog cuddling or playing with a young child.

□    A couple of pages regarding each of you as individuals - hobbies, special talents, occupation, personality.

□    A few pages featuring your extended families. Include pictures of extended family and describe who they are.  Birth mothers often want to know who their birth child’s grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins would be if she placed in your family.

□    Talk about and show with pictures of your family’s traditions (e.g. baking Christmas cookies, family annual vacations, birthday celebrations, etc).  The birth family needs to envision their birth child in your family participating in these special family events.

□    Feature your family’s lifestyle.  Help the birth mother see how her birth child’s life would be in your home.  For example, if you travel, hike, camp, boat, exercise, play instruments, play sports … include action shots and narrative regarding your adventures. Pictures are worth a thousand words.

□    One or two pages regarding your values and parenting beliefs.  Explain to the birth parents about the kind of parent you want to be. Use detail and be unique to you and your life.

□    The final page of the book will be your thank you to the birthmother for considering you as prospective adoptive parents.  Remember to include one last picture of the two of you.

□    When writing your portfolio try not to be too formal. Think of your portfolio as “chatting” with the birthparents.

□    After you have made your book, ask a friend to look over it for you. Having a fresh set of eyes to see things you may be overlooking can be helpful.

□    Have your agency review your book, at Family Connections, Inc. we have insight on what does and does not appeal to birth parents. As well as how to convey to birth parents your desire to adopt. 


What Format Do I Use for My Book Portfolio?

  • Typically portfolios are 10-20 pages in length.  This provides enough information about your family to hold the interest of the birth family but not too long that the birth mother gets tired of looking and then sets your portfolio aside.
  • Please make a book that is either 8” x 8” or 8” x 11”; big enough to be easily viewed but not too big that it become cumbersome to hold.
  • A bound book makes it much easier for the birth family to enjoy.
  • You can choose a soft or hard cover; birth parents don’t seem to have a preference.
  • Many prospective adoptive families create their portfolio electronically (e.g. Shutterfly, Snapfish). This allows for personalized formatting, easy editing, and the creation of multiple portfolios (with the ability to order as many and as often as needed). 


Family Connections, Inc. would be honored to support your plans to adopt a baby.  Please contact Renee or Anita at 607-756-6574 or info@adoptfamilyconnections.org to learn more about the Agency's infant placement program.  You may also download the Agency's magazine for free below.


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