How to Write an Adoption Autobiography

By Debra Strozier

Creating a family through adoption is a rewarding and momentous journey for the parents and the adopted child. Adoption, however, can be a roller coaster of emotions for those anxiously waiting to be selected by a birth parent. The adoption autobiography or profile plays a crucial role in the selection process, allowing prospective parents the chance to share their lives and feelings with the birth mother. With a little thought, you can write a powerful autobiography that will get noticed faster and get you one step closer to the family of your dreams.

Talk to your adoption agency about specific adoption autobiography requirements. Agencies may differ from one another in their recommended profile lengths or requirements on addressing certain topics.

Research your family. Sit down with family members and discuss your emotions about adopting. Think about your interests and dislikes, and what makes your family different. Focus on five major topics that are important to your family and feature them throughout the autobiography. Suggested topics include spirituality, family values, athletics and outdoor recreation. Focusing on your family values and key interest will give the birth parent a better understanding of your family and whether you would be a good fit for her child.

Emphasize what makes you stand out from other potential adoptive parents. For example, if your family takes annual camping trips, share that information. If you like to ice skate, dance, participate in team sports, collect dolls or dabble in photography, express it in your autobiography. These personal insights will help paint a better picture of the home the child might be calling his or her own.

Include photos in your autobiography. Profiles that get noticed typically contain 15 to 30 photographs. A special moment captured in your life allows the birth parent to see your eyes and smiles and feel your joy. Photographs of your home, family interactions and vacations are all good choices. Choose photographs wisely. Like text, photographs should tell a story and provide a peek into your lives. Examine the facial expressions and overall feeling of the photograph. Don’t just select photos to fill up your autobiography.

Share the stories of your life. It is important to give the birth parent the opportunity to experience what life might be like for her child as part of your family. Detail a special holiday memory. If you sing carols by the fire as you roast marshmallows, convey that through storytelling and photographs. Don’t just list that you live in a great neighborhood. Elaborate about what makes your neighborhood special. For example, if you enjoy the community spirit, Easter egg hunts and summer barbecues, provide as many specific details as possible.

Be honest. The adoption autobiography is designed to find an ideal match for your family. Don’t hide religious beliefs, lie about financial status or hide your true feelings about gender and race preferences or thoughts on the openness of the relationship with the birth parent after the adoption. Being honest will ensure that you and the birth parent are matched with the ideal family or child.

Ask for help. Refine your profile by asking a friend or relative to review your autobiography. Someone not as close to the situation can help critique and streamline your writing. Professional help can also be utilized. Some organizations offer personal guidance in writing and laying out an adoption autobiography.

Try to read your profile from the birth parent’s perspective. Rewrite any comments that might offend the birth parent. Saying that you can offer a loving home sounds innocent but might be interpeted as hurtful to a birth parent who loves her child immensely and thinks that wording implies she cannot provide enough love. Even well-meaning statements can be misunderstood.

Present your autobiography in an eye-catching, cheerful manner. With help from a digital scrapbooking program, adoption profiles can be as distinct as your personality. Let your creativity shine by using a variety of layouts, fonts, colors and papers. By putting your heart and soul into your adoption autobiography, your future child is one step closer to joining your family.

Things You Will Need

  • Adoption agency guidelines for autobiographies
  • Word processing software
  • Family photographs

Tip

Professional adoption autobiography reviews are available through groups such as BestLight Adoption Profiles. For a fee, BestLight will evaluate your profile for visual appeal, distinctiveness, red flags and tone. Recommendations for improvements will be provided. Fees for adoption autobiography review services may be applied toward the IRS Adoption Tax Credit