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Guest WAITINGFORABABY

ANY HELPFUL INFORMATION OR BOOKS ON HOW TO WRITE OUR DEAR BIRTHMOTHER LETTER?

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That was one of our favorite parts of Orientation Weekend.  They teach you all about it there. They show you what worked (or not) for others. They help you loolk through your pix to see what to use. And what not to use. They work with you on your letter. Next to Friday night the resume workshop was the best thing.

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I found that some websites on adoption (adoption.com, i think) has on there waiting families and their Dear Birthparent letters.  I read through some of those and that gave us some ideas as to what we wanted to say and what we thought we didn't like to put in the letter.  

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Birthmother letters should come from the heart.  Tell your feeling.  But let me tell you, that most of the BP's I have talked to tell me they know the AP's for their baby the moment they see their picture.

I laugh at Kevin & Jennifer's (Fiona's AP's) BP letter, because it is really Ironic.  There is a picture of Kevin feeding Sierra (my oldest triplet!;)  They made this before they met me, and they adopted her (Sierra's) baby sister!!

-Good Luck!

Angel

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Hi Waitingforababy...

Lance & I attended the August 2002 Orientation.  I prepared our profile before the Orientation so that I could bring it with me and get their thoughts - I ended up completely re-vamping it...using different pictures and everything - I also changed quite a bit of the "letter" part as well.  I don't feel like I wasted my time though preparing the original one - it was great to walk in with something that I could get some feed-back on just to see if I was on track or not.

I think every agency has different guidelines on what the profile will be like so when Abrazo sent us examples of other Abrazo APs' profiles (this was before our Orientation) - that's what I used.  I think I referred to some of the books I had on hand to get some ideas but mostly, my inspiration came from what others had done.  I think the hardest part was trying to fit it all on 4 pages or 6 pages or whatever the guideline was they gave us.  You really have to stop yourself from wanting to tell your entire life story (which is why I think it's really good to just start with something - write out whatever comes from your heart - brainstorm - even if it's the size of a novel - then edit, edit, edit it down to the point where someone who is going to get 3 - 4 more profiles can flip through briefly to know if you're someone they'd like to get to know better.

I think the profile/Dear Birthmother letter is probably one of the most important things you do because it is the first impression a birthmother/birthfather has.  If they don't feel a "click" with the profile, then you never even have the chance of talking to them.  That's why it's a really good idea to think very hard it is about what you want to convey about yourself (and your spouse if you're married).  It needs to be real - it needs to be authentic - the profile / Dear Birthmother letter isn't something you should try to make yourselves into someone you're not - it's hard because you want to appeal to all birthparents &  you want the opportunity to be able to speak with them - but I would recommend that you try not to do that - just be yourself and that way, when the right birthparents read it, they'll know and when y'all speak on the phone - it will be a good conversation (though not always easy) because you are who you presented yourselves to be and that will come through.

Pictures are a big part of it - definitely put a lot of thought into the pictures you pick out - I've also heard feedback where the pictures are just about all the birthparent paid attention to so make sure you choose photos that give someone a good feeling about who you are and what you like to do and how you like to be. (oh yes - make sure the photos are fairly recent...which isn't always easy.....I hate having my picture taken so it was really a struggle to find pictures of me anywhere)

Wishing you success in your journey - this is just the beginning but probably one of the more nerve-wracking parts of it - I know it was for me...

-Lisa

P.S. An overview of our profile:

1st page - picture of Lance & I at dinner looking silly - then about 8 sentences introducing ourselves - where we're from, where we live, when we married, and our desire to have a family

2nd page - 2 pictures of us together, & a picture of Lance & a picture of me - then a paragraph about how we came to adoption & our feelings on open adoption then another paragraph about how excited we were to become parents (oh you have no idea - it's all I talked about all the time - excited doesn't even begin to describe how much I wanted to be a mommy! ) and our plans for me to stay home once baby arrived & also how much this baby would mean to us.

3rd page - 3 photos of Lance and 2 paragraphs all about Lance and my description of him as a person, a husband, & my best friend.

4th page - 3 photos of me and a paragraph written by Lance about me & our marriage.

5th page - photo of my mom, Lance's mom, our house, our yard, & our pets - no space for any writing...hopefully, it speaked for itself.

6th page - 2 photos of Lance & I together and a closing paragraph to the birthfamily.

Our profile was also very bright & very colorful.

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I totally agree that pictures are very important -- a birthmother that we matched with said she chose us because our house looked "real" to her (what she saw in the picture was a Coke can on the coffee table with magazines lying around everywhere) -- she said all the other profiles she had seen looked like no one ever lived in their houses (i.e., they were too "perfect").  She also liked the fact that we included a "crazy" picture of my husband getting a facial -- she said she wanted her child to be raised by a man who was comfortable enough with his "manhood" that he would get a facial!  Go figure!

On another note, though, don't overlook what you write.  In talking with our girls' birthfather the other day, he said one of the primary reasons he chose us was because we had been married for so long.  Ironically, my husband and I had debated on whether to include that in our letter for fear it would make us sound too "old"!

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Guest KB

Hi -  I purchased a book on Tapestry.com called "writing a dear birthmother letter".  I read the book, but didn't use it directly to write our profile.  It did give me some good ideas an pointers.  So maybe that will help.  I also looked at parentprofiles.com to see what other couples wrote.  These were great places to start because it gave us a framework.  But in the end our profile was so completely different than anything we saw.  It was totally us.  So, gather your pictures, write from you heart and put it all together.  It will be wonderful!! Cheers, KB

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Guest Veronica

Help, I am so afraid. Alot of what if's. What it birthparents never choose us? What if the picture of our house doesn't empress any birthparent? What if Abrazo does't want us? What if? What if? :(

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Hello! Veronica

I just wanted to say RELAX!!  Take it easy.  I know as a birthparent I didn't pick my family for their house.  They were theirselves, and they were my perfect idea of parents for my children.

Most birthmothers have an "ideal" family.  And I am sure your future birthmother already has you in mind without even knowing you!

So be yourself, yes the whole adoption process is nerve wracking at times.  But if you can relax you'll make it alot easier on yourself.  :-)

I know I got all worked up the first time I met my triplets to-be AP's.  I was scared they would think I was ugly and not  want to adopt my babies anymore.  But they didn't.   :-)

It all works for the best!! IN every situation!!

Good Luck!

Hugs and Prayers

-Loriahn

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Dear Veronica,

  Birthmommy is absolutely correct.  It works out in the most amazing way.  Every birth family is different and each one is looking for things they consider to be important.  Your home may or may not be a factor.  I remember talking with a birthmom a few years ago that had three questions for me.  Number one was, "Do you believe in God?", the other two had to do with discipline.  She had thought of two scenerios and wanted to know how I would handle them.  As it turned out, she selected us, but later decided to parent.  I was so impressed that she had thought long and hard and quite deeply to ask the questions that she did.  She didn't want to talk to my husband or meet him.  She did elect to meet me and we did talk about twice a month.  So, as difficult as it is, just be yourself and by doing that, the perfect birth family will find you.  I remember hearing that one birthmom selected a profile/family because one of the photos had a picture of a garden and it had a lot of sunflowers.  There is no way to foresee what will "attract" your birthmom, but she will find you and you will look back and think, "What was I so worried about!?"  

Good luck and keep us posted.

Jean

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Veronica,

My husband and I felt the same way you do during the Summer of 2002. We had been with Abrazo for a few months and had not spoken to any birthmoms. We thought no bithmom was going to ever pick us, but come to find out our daughter's birthparents already had our profile they just had not called Abrazo yet. So for three months we felt rejected, but all along we were kinda picked by our wonderful birthparents and just didn't know it!!

It will happen for you also!!

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Guest Veronica

Thanks to every one that answered my concern. You have all calmed my nerves down. I guess theres a first time for everything. I am so glad I have you guys. :)

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Melinda and I noticed that there is only an hour allocated to bulding the resume or profile to the birthmother at this months orientation. Will that be enought time to create the resume or profile or is it usually mailed in on a later date. any advice from alumni or other members?

Albert and Melinda

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You will only get some ideas and reccomendations during that hour. Take a rough draft and some photo's and the Abrazo Babes will help you choose the best one's to use. Once you get back home you will want to pick out some really cute colorful paper and finish the product. Believe me you will probably change your mind several times before your done. Good Luck at orientaion it will be very informative and when you leave you will be full excitment and your lives will be changed forever.....Enjoy your journey and May God Bless..... smile.gif

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Sherrie is right! You should have some idea of what you do but you will change your mind a hundred times. The Abrazo chicks have tons of examples on display. What I did was whenever there was a break, I grabbed a book and started looking through it. My husband and I were a last minute add to the March orientation so I really wasn't sure what I needed to do to put the profile together. They also give you some guidelines that are very helpful. Most profiles are 4 or 6 pages. It was very hard selecting the right pictures that would could tell our story. Don't worry, they will walk you through it! Welcome to the club!!!

Angie

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One thing I will highly recommend is put a lot of time and effort into your profile. This is what the birhtparents will look at first! It's just like the importance of a first impression. Use things that represent you. We used bright colors with stickers and cute stuff. I purchased most of the supplies at Hobby Lobby using scrap book material. I will say... the supplies can get a bit expensive, but definately worth it. Also, include pictures that show your loving side with lots of smiles! If family and relationships are big, include pictures that convey that message to them. Remember, that this is the first thing they see and they use the profile to decide if they would like to proceed with a phone call.

Good luck,

Claudia cool.gif

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Claudia,

Putting together the profile was for me, the hardest part. This was back in 1997 before the scrapbooking craze started and before digital cameras and being able to create photo pages digitally. I had to cut and paste on poster board!

Another Abrazo couple we know went to a local scrapbooking supply store for help. Try to find a store that holds "scrapbooking nights" where folks bring in their pictures and trade ideas, etc. If you buy your supplies there (page borders, etc) they will help you select the best photos, crop them for best effect, and put the pictures together in an attractive manner. It's worth a try!!

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Three (plus) words of advice for profile-makers:

(1) Theme!!! Most profiles read about the same, and generally folks come with a similar assortment of family/vacation/house photos. So one of the industry secrets on making a profile stand out and be more memorable to potential birthparents is to choose a theme that represents who you are or what you're about, and to promote it consistently throughout your profile, in the design and the text and the photos.*

(2) Photos. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then it stands to reason that you want every one of yours to speak volumes about you and the kind of people you are. Look fun. Happy. Active. Crop photos to preserve space. Keep pictures of relatives, other kids or pets to a minimum. Don't forget an outside house shot! You only have 4-6 pages, total, so make every one count!

(3) Creativity. The best profiles are those that come from the heart; the letters read as though they were written by friends talking to friends. There's humor, compassion, honesty. Use color to advantage. Write a "dear birthparent" letter that doesn't start out "dear birthparent." Be unique! Make your profile a menu, a travelogue, a blueprint, a mini-magazine. Have fun making it and chances are, someone out there will have enjoy reviewing it, too!

Finally, remember to make a duplicate original for your babybook, because the original you submit to Abrazo becomes the property of the agency, and you're going to want to show your future son and/or daughter what their birthparents saw in you right from the start!

*Want to test your profile's memorability? Imagine that you took out all the pictures and the letter and left a birthparent looking simply at the layout and design, then asked her to fill in the blank: "This profile belongs to the ______ people." Does your profile's design theme give you any identity, standing on its own? If that birthparent later saw the the text alone, without the photos or design, what would tip the birthparent off, that this profile also belonged to those same "_____ people?" Do the photos tie in, as well? Themes matter, when birthparents are reviewing dozens of profiles from several different agencies and trying to figure out who stands out as the best choice for their baby's new family!

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We are working feverishly on our profile, but had a quick question. What size paper should we use? The samples we were sent were 8 1/2" by 11", but I really like the larger paper you find at scrapbooking stores....mainly b/c I can fit way more stuff on there! Any ideas????

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HI-

The 8 1/2" by 11" is best for copies to be made by the Abrazo girls. We did 3 pages front and back so we had a total of 6 pages to use. The main thing is to figure out what pics you want to use. Our first page told about us as a couple (little bit of writing alot of pics)...Our next page showed our house, nearby park, and church. Of course we had a pet page and then one about Jeff and one about me (these showed pics of our family and thngs we like to do)....The last page had a pic of us and told how we viewed open adoption....It helps to crop down pics..I added some frames around the pics as well as fun scrapbook stuff to add to the pages. Just have fun with this and make it represent who you are....ie: My husband is in the Naval Reserves and I added a little Navy sticker on his page and that interested some bms that we spoke with as they either had family in the military or what have you....Hope this helps...just remeber the more pages you have the more expensive it is to have color copies made.... huh.gif Hope this helps!!!

Amy

We are working feverishly on our profile, but had a quick question.  What size paper should we use?  The samples we were sent were 8 1/2" by 11", but I really like the larger paper you find at scrapbooking stores....mainly b/c I can fit way more stuff on there!  Any ideas????

20357[/snapback]

Edited by orangepower

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I used 8 1/2 x 11 paper as well. I picked good clear pictures & didn't use full pages of text.

Page 1: 5x7 pic of Tim & myself & a box of text introducing us, a brief blip about our stuggle w/ infertility & knowledge of adoption since we already have a DD through adopdtion. I used very few stickers in our profile, mianly colored paper...the same 4 colors though out. I like the simple profile look. one that is almost professional. that is just my style.

Pg 2: 3 pic of Tim & several boxes of text about him.

Pg 3: same as above but about me

Pg 4: one long vertical text box about our DD & 3 pic of her

Pg 5: devoted to our families & 5 pictures little text box explaining that they understand adoption & excited about our ventures

Pg 6: 4 pics of house, dog, us, &...(I'm drawing a blank) text box too

Pg 7: some misc pic of us as a family & as a couple. Text box & we signed each letter.

you will find what works for you. if you have questions call Abrazo. they proofed our text by fax & we had a couple of phone calls about the it before I was happy w/it.

hope this helps.

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Hi Mandy,

Welcome to Abrazo and to the forum!

I've located some previous posts (I'm sure there are others but these came to mind) from members regarding profiles, tips, hints, etc. For me, the profile was such a huge thing - it felt like I was climbing a mountain when trying to get it done.

I would definitely recommend the 8 1/2 x 11 - Abrazo also puts these profiles in a binder and I'm just not sure how it would fit in there if it's on the larger paper - I understand what you're saying but also, for faxing to birthmothers and mailing them, I think you need to stick with 8 1/2 x 11.

One of the most difficult things about the profile is trying to fit so much in so little space and time. It definitely was a problem for me, I just started working on mine, then refining it and refining it some more - I probably re-did mine (only majorly re-did it once, the other times, it was just making it shorter, more concise and fewer pictures (because the best photos are those where you can really see you and your spouse - not a tiny little blip among a background - put yourself in their shoes - you want to see where your baby will be living, who their parents are, what they look like (Just like you'd be very curious to see a good, clear photo of them)...anyway, the clearer and bigger the photo is, the fewer of them you can fit on the page so I kept taking pictures off so I could put bigger pictures on (I think quality versus quantity counts when it comes to a profile).

Anyway, my 2 cents and also, check out these topics pertaining to profiles:

Adoptive Parents -> Looking to Adopt -> Dear Birthmother Letter (this topic is currently on page 6 but that could change depending on which topics are added to the Looking to Adopt category)

Adoptive Parents -> Looking to Adopt -> Hey Everyone! (this topic is currently on page 6 but that could change)

Adoptive Parents -> Looking to Adopt -> Resume & Profiles for Orientation, Help From Members (this topic is currently on page 1 but that could change)

Good Luck!!

Lisa

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Just thought I would bump up this topic for the newest orientation group in the throes of creating their profiles!  biggrin.gif

36903[/snapback]

Putting our profile together was alot of work but Anthony and I enjoyed doing it. Use pictures of you guys smiling and with children. Just be creative and have fun...

Linda

Edited by Tonycpa and Linda

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Found this great piece of information from Elizabeth in another unrelated thread of posts and thought I'd put it here too....

-Lisa

I know it's harder for y'all because the stakes are higher, but I think profiles are fun to do!! The photos seem to be of utmost importance, because as the old rule goes in journalism, the best reporters "show, don't tell." Focus the pictures on the two of you as a couple, because as charming as your other children or relatives are, it's who you are as people that the birthparents need most to know, initially. Put the best photo you have of the two of you on your first page, as a first glimpse that invites the reader in to find out more about the fabulous folks you are!

Think outside the box, and aim for a completed profile that really gives the viewer a feel for the kind of people you are.  If you're Mary-Englebreit-kind-of-down-home people, then center your profile around that theme, giving your resume a "welcome home" feeling. If  you're runners, how about a profile that's essentially a map of your marathon to take first place in parenting? If you've been around the globe, how about making a travelogue of your journey to find your baby? Childhood sweethearts can go for a "yearbook" effect documenting the stability of your relationship and leaving one "empty" photo frame at the end for a family picture of you with your coming child and his or her birthparents! If margaritas and mariachis are your thing, then go with a fiesta theme, and do a profile in both Spanish and English, to appeal to our multicultural birthmoms! The possibilities are endless.

Don't be afraid to incorporate humor, because birthparents need to know you can bring laughter in their lives, as well. If you enjoy making the profile, then chances are, the viewer will enjoy looking at it, too. Write the letter as though it were going to your dearest friend, because in effect, it IS!! (You just don't know her, yet.) Remember to make duplicate originals of your finished profile, if you want to keep a copy for your baby book, and send Abrazo the original with ten (10) color copies, so we can start getting it out to interested birthparents pronto!

Your baby's out there, and this is the first, exciting step to getting him/her home, so don't delay!!

18750[/snapback]

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