This is the third part 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 four  will be published Wednesday, February 22 . To read part one of the blog series, please click here. To read part two, please click here.

Don’t Have A Cover Like Every Other: (I credit this one to my wife)

It’s true – people judge a book by its cover.  Your cover of your adoption profile is your first impression – it needs to be appealing on some level.  Otherwise, it’s just one of many…and may go unnoticed.  You may never have the opportunity to showcase how wonderful you are.  That’s unfortunate.

I would argue that most people don’t even have a photo that is cover worthy.  Most people likely need to have one professionally taken.  We seriously considered taking our dogs to a photographer to get a good family shot.  However, my wife had a crazy idea.  We went with it.

The photo on our cover showed us having a blast.  We looked fun – crazy fun really (complete with goofy smiles on our faces).  It was us, riding an antique two -person bicycle at Grandma’s cottage.  I’m probably the only guy that has ever appeared topless on the cover of an adoption profile.  I was pretty sure someone would pick it up, even just to see how whacky we are.  She did.

That photo, although interesting, wasn’t a great photo for the cover in and of itself.  We looked like a couple teenagers goofing around.  For birthparents, that’s probably not so good.  I’m sure maturity and responsibility rank pretty high on their list.

We balanced it out by adding a nice picture of us from our wedding.  We looked happy, responsible and mature.  Together, the pics told a story about us no single photo could.  Similarly, I would argue that most couples also have a serious side and a fun side.  Accordingly, I think two pictures on the cover is probably best – one that’s serious and one that’s fun.

Otherwise, the reader may never see the other side (because they didn’t pick it up).   It’s my first impression – I don’t want to come across as too fun, or, too serious.  I’m both – and I want you to know it!  I think two pictures on the cover is probably the simplest way to be sure your profile will be appealing enough to be viewed.

We also bolstered our cover by including a few of our favorite quotes.  From the quotes, you get an idea of what we value.  From the two photos, you get an idea of what we’re like.  Much like a magazine, the reader had an idea of what was contained within and the cover was visually appealing (colorful, with a nice layout).  It was unique and interesting.

With a cover like ours, we were pretty confident someone would take the time to learn about us.  That’s huge.  A “cover like every other” is a big risk that the profile may go unnoticed and unviewed.

Follow the Basic Rules for Presentations:

Tell them what you’re going to tell them.   Tell them.  Tell them what you told them.  We’ve all heard it before.  A presentation or sales pitch that fails to say “we’re going to show you”, then shows you, and concludes with “we just showed you” is very weak.  It virtually requires the audience to draw their own conclusions, rather than communicating the message you are looking to convey.  Still, very few profiles actually offer a good intro and/or conclusion.

An adoption profile is created to help the birthparents choose a home and family for placement.  Your intention is to invite the reader in to your life.  A short narration of what they’re going to see (in your profile) is highly influential and proper.  In the introduction for our profile, I pulled a stunt I’ve never seen done before – I highly attribute our success to the very first thing the birthparents saw after reading the required “Dear Birthparent” letter.

I consider our intro to be the “secret sauce” for a killer adoption profile.  Accordingly, I don’t share it with everyone.  In short, I presented a few (6, in particular) bullet points sure to grab the birthparents attention – and – briefly articulating qualities we posses and they would find desirable.

My rationale was that if I positioned their mind to believe that there were a few critical (or highly beneficial) traits (which we portrayed), their mind would be pre-disposed to select us (if the photos validated those claims).  And, my conclusion reinforced the benefits a child would receive by having us as parents.  It also gave me the opportunity to tell them how we are – even if we failed to portray it in the profile.  It’s a winning formula.

Communicate the specific message you want the reader to receive by using a good intro.   If the introduction appeals to the reader, they are very likely to continue reading.  You want the reader to think, “sounds good, now show me”.  End with a good conclusion to let the reader know you validated your claims.  It’s a solid way to present a highly influential presentation.

SIDE NOTE:  We specifically asked our birth mother why she chose us.  She responded with what we strongly believed made us most attractive and unique.   It was no coincidence that we mentioned this quality in the very first sentence after the “Dear Birthparent” letter. 

Use a Computer to Create Your Profile:

Other things being equal, you do not absolutely need to have a digital profile.  Using scrapbook materials, glue, and scissors will do just fine.  However, your profile should/must be perfect – it’s not very likely it will be unless it’s done digitally.

Have a pic you forgot to include?   Shrink down the text here and there, make the other photos smaller.  Insert the pic and you’re done.  Save it as a different file name and if your spouse doesn’t like it (happens to me all the time), you still have the old one.  A digital profile is much more flexible than doing it on paper.  It really helps you make the best of your valuable space and will help it present much better.

There’s one more advantage to digital profiles (I might get beat up over this one).  To be clear, I don’t think birthparents are biased against older adoptive parents.  However, I do think being out of touch with the times is a disadvantage (many birthparents don’t even remember a time before computers).

Today’s generation digs technology – you don’t want to appear to be stuck in the 80’s.  And, please avoid the ClipArt from back then too.  Your profile shouldn’t look like it was done years ago.

“Me and my BFF”, WTH?

In many of the profiles I’ve seen, people try too hard to relate to a younger audience.  Relating to them is a good thing, right?  Absolutely!  However, the fact that you’re “trying” is a turn off.   You don’t want birthparents rolling their eyes and thinking you’re corny.

What’s more, if you’re not really being yourself – the reader can pick up on it.  Create a nice, professional profile – one that portrays you honestly and accurately.  Don’t create one that has been crafted to appeal to a sixteen year old girl (more on this later).

Need help with your profile?  Contact the author at

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Stay tuned next Wednesday, February 22, for part four.