Purl’s Director of Graphic Design, Ali Alvidrez, has been helping families adopt through profile and outreach material design for Purl for over four years. Ali has a background in journalism and more than 25 years of experience as a school yearbook specialist. Today she is sharing some ways to make your profile unique.

As prospective adoptive parents, preparing to create your family profile is an exciting time. It can also be full of doubts and questions.

The combination of action photos and posed photos help tell the most accurate story of YOU.

You may have thoughts like, “Will an expectant mother or father think we will make great parents?” “Do we look too old or too young to be parents?” “Is our faith the same as theirs?” “Will my career not seem like enough?”

Here is the thing, YOU are the family that SOMEONE is hoping to find for their child. Our job is to show all the unique things about you that will help the expectant family to connect with you.

It is true that one expectant mother may value dogs as pets and yearn for their child to grow up in a home that has a dog, while another expectant mother may not like dogs and lots of photos with your pet may be something they choose to veer away from. So, think about each choice but portray your reality.

Quality photos of you as a couple or as individuals, capturing your personalities, hobbies and lifestyle are going to be essential to having a “great” profile. Text is secondary to photos, your goal is to tell your story through dynamic, captivating photos and captions. For the text you do include in your profile, quick reads like bulleted lists, factoid boxes and large quotes are generally the first thing a reader looks at. Sometimes the only thing they read.

Here are five ways to share your true self (selves) in print.

1. Comb through your photos & take more: Look through your photos on your phone, ask friends and family for photos they have of you and with you and take more photos than ever during the weeks you are preparing. Ideally, you will find the original version of your photo. That might be directly from your phone or camera. If you download old photos from social media, it can lose quality which would mean it can only be used as a small supporting photo in your profile. The best quality will be the original photo. Jpg files are generally best.

Just a few fun facts with corresponding photos add insight to your lives.

2. List 5 fun facts about each of you and 5 as a couple: These can be anything from speaking multiple languages to playing Uno together on rainy days. Think of traditions you have or traditions you plan to start. Then, consider photos that would go along with these facts. (We don’t expect all 15 facts to end up in print but it is good to have a few extra to work with.)

3. More candid photos please! Are you silly or athletic or love music? Posed photos are good but they are not necessarily the main components. Candid photos of you doing life as a family are the real story tellers. Don’t scroll past the photos of the pick up softball game or impromptu late night kitchen dance party. Action, emotion and spontaneity will help us get to know you. A few selfies are great, but remember, we want variety so try to get some taken by other people as well.

Hiring a lifestyle photographer can help show what your life is like. Note: These photos are intermingled with others to create a full story.

4. Plan a photo shoot: Choose a lifestyle photographer or ask a friend to come over and take some photos of you in your space. Do you enjoy cooking, relaxing in the yard, hiking nearby, reading on the porch with your dog? (Pro Tip: change outfits a few times during the session so the resulting photos do not look repetitive or appear as if you have taken them all the same day.)

5. Struggling on what to say about yourselves or your spouse, try this: Pretend you are describing your spouse and your family to a friend you haven’t connected with in years. What would you say? The first few sentences will probably make great quotes!

Bonus: Never be tempted to embellish your real life: Remember that you are telling a story about yourself and your family, the little quirks or unique characteristics about you may be exactly why you are chosen, so don’t be afraid to share them!

Sometimes no words are needed!

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