Recently, I watched the Red Table Talk where Jada Pinkett Smith and her mother, Adrienne Banfield Norris, hosted former Sex and the City star Kristin Davis for a talk about transracial adoption. I really enjoyed this podcast and think it can help many families considering transracial adoption (I look forward to including a post just about transracial adoption soon). However, one thing I found really interesting about this podcast was that both Jada and her mom were very surprised that the birth mothers for Kristin’s two African American children had actually chosen Kristin to raise their babies. That made me realize that there are probably many other people that don’t understand the domestic adoption process, and how adoptive parents are typically chosen by an expectant family considering adoption for their child – usually through the use of the very important adoption profile.
Typically, an expectant family considering adoption will contact an attorney or agency to help them locate a family looking to adopt, if they don’t already know of someone that may be interested in adopting their child. There are many different adoption attorneys and agencies across the country and they all operate slightly differently. Some state’s laws only allow licensed adoption agencies in their state to help choose an adoptive family, while in other states adoption attorneys can help with that selection process. However, in most cases, the expectant family considering adoption is presented with the “adoption profile” of families looking to adopt (historically, this was called a “Dear Birth Mother Letter”, a term that has fallen out of favor since a birth mother is only someone who has already consented to an adoption).
The prospective adoptive family typically does not meet the expectant family in person or even talk with the expectant family over the phone before they are chosen, instead, they are just “presented” to that expectant family through an adoption profile. These adoption profiles are generally scrapbooks about the prospective adoptive family, where an expectant family considering adoption can learn more about a prospective adoptive family’s story, their thoughts on adoption, and their plans for the future. These profiles typically contain information about the prospective adoptive family, how they met, if they have any kids, what type of house/neighborhood/community they live in, what their extended families look like, if they have any pets, and why they are choosing adoption as a way to grow their family. In the profiles designed by Purl, we typically include fun facts about the couple that make them unique, as those unique facts are often why an expectant family is drawn to a particular prospective adoptive couple.