Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Adoption Profile is...

... still a work in progress.

Just as I feared, it's taking us forevvvverrrr to get it done. And it's not just because we want it to be the perfect representation of who we are as a couple. We also were told we had to change the format after we thought we were almost finished.

A screen shot of our masterpiece-in-progress.

At first we just though it was a typed 2-page letter with pictures interspersed. So I found lots of examples of "dear birthparent" letters with pictures and got to work. Once we put the mostly finishing touches on that, we found out it's supposed to be more like a picture book with lots of captions and little word blurbs. So our agency let us borrow an example from one of their couples (they've already adopted 4 children!!) as a guidline and we got to work again.

We're using SnapFish to make our profile. You like?

Let me give some advice to those out there who are thinking about adoption but haven't gotten this far yet:

Take lots of pictures! Lots and lots and tons and pounds of pictures!

Of all the components of our profile, pictures have slowed us down the most. I happen to love taking pictures, so we actually had a lot to choose from, but we still had "holes" in our story, pictorally speaking.

My dear husband, summed up in 2 pages.

So this past week has been spent taking the pictures we wish we had already taken.

We needed to take more pictures of our aparment, which wasn't too hard, but we had to clean it first.

Then we needed more pictures of us doing our favorite things: cooking, playing games together, going on walks, etc. Also, not too hard. It just took time to bake cookies and then play a game together and then go for a walk. Oh, and we also needed to find someone to take the pictures for us. More on that in a second.

Then we needed more pictures of us with babies, which has proven to be most difficult, as we don't really know many babies who are readily available as picture props. You'd think my husband, who works at a children's hospital, would have tons of pics with babies and kids, but (rightfully so) they don't allow the hospital staff to take pictures with kids without written consent. So that left us digging through all our old pictures and just settling with low-quality iPhone pics of the two of us with my niece. It's a good thing she's cute.

And unless there's anyone out there who'll let us borrow their baby for a weekend of photographizing in Memphis, that'll just have to do.

I kid mostly, as our profile is supposed to be an accurate representation of John and me. And baby stealers we are not. But it would be nice to be able to show birthparents that we actually do like being around kids.

Finally, we needed some updated "us" pictures. We have a bunch of beeeeautiful professional pictures from our wedding day, but those are 2.5 years old now. And John wasn't rockin' his hipster glasses, long hair, and beard that day. Plus, I'm sure birthparents would like to see me in more outfits that just my wedding gown, even though it was very pretty.

We didn't want to shell out extra money for new professional pictures. While I'm sure they'd be great, we would much rather save the money for pictures of us with our adopted newborn. :)

So we asked a good friend, Rachel, if she'd spend an hour snapping pictures of us using our decent camera and she said yes!! Sure, we bribed her with Mexican food, but I think it was a fair trade.

We thought a cute little park with a pond was a nice backdrop.

We started our photo sesh around 2pm, so the sun was very bright!

We had to face the sun so that we didn't end up with lots of shadows on our faces. 

You may think he's smiling super big, but really he was wincing in pain from brightness of the sun. Hehe.

After some practice, we started to figure out how to smile and keep our eyes open and look cute while staring into the sun.

Switch sides, stand in front of a tree, smile.

We faced away from the sun for a second to get the lake in the background, but the shadowy faces came back.

So we faced the sun again and came up with this cute pose.

Note the sunglasses.

And then we went for a little walk, hand-in-hand.

And then I danced a little because photography is fun, weather is beautiful, and life is good.

Allow me to introduce you to our talented photographer:

Thanks for your help, Rachel! We heart you!

So we're still not done with the profile. We've got some more picture placing and tweaking to do. And we still have to write a short and heartfelt "Dear Birthparent" letter for our first page. But we're hoping to have everything finished by the end of this week. Mostly because: 1.) I don't like this task hanging over me and 2.) SnapFish has a 40% off coupon for photobooks that expires after Friday. A silly reason to finish our profile? Sure. But at least it's motivating me.

And at least we have more pretty pictures to choose from now. One step closer!


  1. Working on ours right now, too! We should read each other's to help! email me!!! Those pics are so, so, so cute!! Find Sew and get her babies!! LOL!!!!

    1. I hope you enjoy looking at it. :) Anyone else want to see our profile? Just ask and I'll send it to you!

  2. Great pointers!!!! I'm so glad that I'm fanatical about photos. We have a TON to choose from. :)

    1. That's going to make it so much easier on you! So happy for you guys! Such an exciting time for all of us!! Does your agency ask for a picture book too?

  3. AHH! The pictures look so good! I'm so glad that they are turning out the way you wanted them. That photographer of yours is GORG, if I do say so myself. And I do..because it's me. Heart you too!!

    1. You are GORG!!! Aren't they great? :) You should look into professional photography if, you know, that teaching gig doesn't work out. Ha! Jk.

  4. I think it looks great so far, Stephanie!!


  5. It looks wonderful!!! I love the new pictures from your photo shoot too! I am beyond anxious about this step. I know my perfectionism is going to cause massive issues here. I will definitely be turning to you for tips. And has anyone ever told you, you look like Zoe from House of Cards?

    1. Please don't hesitate to send questions my way! I'd be soooo happy to help. If I didn't have the help of all those couples' profiles I borrowed ideas from, I have no clue how I could have done this! Also, I've never heard that before! Googling pics of her now...

    2. Would you recommend starting before the home study? I know we could get the guidelines from them beforehand. Here's a link to Zoe: http://house-of-cards.wikia.com/wiki/Zoe_Barnes

    3. I think you could go either way with this. But if you have the time to do it now, and you get the directions you need, I say go for it! So long as your agency is ok with it!

      I'd start by putting together pictures and thoughtful blurbs about the two of you while you're waiting for the home study to kick off. At the very least, be more mindful of taking pictures of everything you're doing together. It'll be easier to get them as fun things actually happen than to put it off and then have to stage all of your pictures later. I'd say if you have the energy and you know what your layout is supposed to be, go for it! It's a lot of work, so it'd be good to get it done before the craziness of home study paperwork gets underway. Ask your agency for a little guidance before you start, just to be sure you know exactly what they're looking for. For example, our agency wanted lots of pictures, little writing, and all writing to be very basic, so that moms with low reading levels could read along too. Though, even if you don't know all the details, you can still get your story out on paper now and tweak a lot later. That's ultimately what we did.

      Hope this helps! Looking forward to seeing how your profile turns out. :) I'm sure it's going to be wonderful. Oh, and I'd be happy to send you a copy of ours if you'd like. Just let me know.

      Zoe's very pretty!! So thanks for the compliment. Not sure I see the resemblance, but I'll believe you! :)

  6. My dh and I did not have a lot of pics to choose from so we had to improvise and just take some...on our couch, at the kitchen table with dinner food present, asked friends at restaurants. Our profile turned out nice...and it speaks "us"...Lord willing, it will speak to a birthmother. Love your pics!

    1. And that's the most important part! That the profile really shows who the two of you are. I'm sure it's wonderful! Lord willing, you'll end up with the perfect baby in your arms! Did you find it stressful at all? I've been a ball of stress ever since I started it, but it was all worth it because I'm very please with the final product. :)

  7. Those are some beautiful pictures! We need to get back into taking more pics, good reminder! Love the heart pic with your arms, I've never seen one like that before...coolio!

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the pics. Yours are so great too! I have no idea how we came up with the arms heart picture. It just happened! Took about 10 tries to get it right (you can make some really weirdly shaped hearts with your arms), but I'm glad with the way it turned out. Feel free to copy. Maybe we've started a trend. :)

  8. I was near tears reading this. I hope your home will be filled with kids who need parents and joy!

  9. You and your husband are too cute! Thanks for sharing your adoption profile. My husband and I are also Catholic and have been TTC since we were married, January 2012. We started the adoption process in October of last year and we just passed our home study! All we have left is our profile book and it's so hard for me! I'm having the toughest time with it, probably because I am a perfectionist :) Anyway, just wanted to say hi and that I'll be praying for you guys. I've just started finding all these Catholic infertility blogs, where have I been the past 2.5 years?? It's nice to not feel so alone in all of this! God Bless!

    1. Hi, beingmrsmurray! It's nice to e-meet you! :) So excited for you on your adoption journey. Thank you for your prayers and sending up some prayers for you as well! The profile was a real challenge for me too. I just wanted it to be PERFECTION. I spent so many hours choosing the best pictures, rewriting different parts, aligning everything three times, rearranging pages. It was a bit of a headache, but once I finally just forced myself to sit in a corner and not get up 'til it was finished, the masterpiece was complete! I'm still a little nervous that it's not perfect, but I guess so long as it attracts the right birthmom, it's doing its job. :) Would you like me to send you a copy of ours? I still have the digital version!


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