Don’t Sell Yourself Short: A Marketer’s Insight To Create a Powerful Adoption Profile

This is the first of a four part blog series on marketing yourself with your adoption profile book. It was written by John Yonkoski who is an adoptive father and marketing professional. Part two will be published Wednesday, February 8.

Understand the goal of your adoption profile; create one that specifically achieves that objective:

To be clear, your adoption profile is your marketing material.  It’s not a scrapbook and it’s not some sort of autobiography with pictures.   A birthparent reviews profiles to find the best home for a child.  You want them to “buy into” the idea that you will provide it.  To do so, you have to sell yourself (just like you would on a resume).  That’s marketing.

I’m surely going to take a lot of heat from those that say that I’m encouraging people to misrepresent themselves in their profile.  That couldn’t be further from the truth.  We have a great relationship with our birth Mom, and I credit that largely to the fact that “what you see (in our profile) is what you get”.

Our adoption profile accurately portrayed who we are.  My knowledge of marketing merely altered the way it was created.  Since we thought of her (rather than ourselves) when we created it – it was presented in a manner that worked for her.  That’s not misleading, it’s marketing.

Your goal is to get the reader to pick up your profile and hold their attention while they learn more about you.   Your objective is to help the reader visualize the type of lifestyle your child will have.   Understand that there will be aspects that may not appeal to some birthparents.  That’s okay.

Although you can’t be “all things to all people”, your profile must make a compelling case when you meet your match.  Like any other marketing piece, a great profile is interesting, informative and influential.

Marketing 101 – people “buy into” benefits, not features

My new car has a “2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 175 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque”.  It also has “antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags”.  These are features of my car – I couldn’t possibly care less about them and I’m pretty sure you aren’t impressed.

However, what I do care about is the fact that it’s a decent size car that gets 23 MPG (city), 33 MPG (highway).  I’m also glad to know it earned four stars for frontal impacts and five stars for side impacts.  These are the benefits of the engine and safety features.  That’s what I want.  I want benefits.  Similarly, the birthparents are interested in knowing the benefits of placing a child in your home, not the features of what your home entails.

After all, features are only meaningful to the extent that they produce benefits.  The same goes for you and your profile.  You may have a 3,500 square foot house in a great area.  You might have been married for 20 years and make $250K.   You may spend 3 weeks travelling Europe every year.  But, why do the birthparents care?  Are they supposed to be impressed?  Does it make you special?  Not really – lots of people have great features.  Besides, people don’t “buy into” features anyway – they “buy into” benefits.

The fact that you have plenty of room to play is pretty cool.  I’m sure they’d be happy to know that you live in a safe area.  They’ll think it’s great that you have a stable, equitable, and happy marriage.  They’ll appreciate the opportunities a child would receive and the absence of household pressures provided by your good income.  They’ll think it’s awesome that you spend time traveling with the family.  Those are the benefits a child will receive by being placed in your home.   That’s what they care about.  It’s those benefits you provide that they can “buy into”.

In adoption profiles, it’s very common to see someone make the mistake of discussing their features and assuming the reader will comprehend the benefits.  However, the power of focusing on benefits (rather than features) is absolutely amazing.

Consider this example:

– “Neither of our sisters have children”. (feature of our family)

– “Our child will be very lucky to be the first Grandchild.  Both sets of parents are young, active and healthy – they’re really looking forward to welcoming a little one”. (benefit to our child)

Can you guess which one actually appeared in our profile?   Although both statements are true, they read completely differently.  Whereas some people (myself included) may see the absence of cousins to interact and play with (indicative in the first statement) negatively, I think most would react positively to the latter (since our child gets the full attention of our family).

Don’t make the mistake of focusing on your features.  Instead, focus on what the birthparents are interested in – the benefits.  It’s Marketing 101.

Need help with your profile?  Contact the author at

Adoption STAR does not guarantee the services of third party providers

Stay tuned next Wednesday, February 8, for part two.