Let’s talk specifics: Profile and Presenting

One of the biggest tasks at the start of our adoption process was to create a family profile book. The purpose of the profile is to share information about ourselves as well as paint a picture of what kind of life we could provide for a child, and connect with someone in a genuine way.

We chose to have our consultant lend her expertise and help us with this project, so she provided us with a list of questions to answer. We took time to answer things such as what we do for a living, what our house and neighborhood are like, our “favorites,” our goals, and even education plans for our future child. Once we had our answers compiled, we sent those to her along with dozens of pictures of the two of us, our families, vacations, and our every-day-life. Susan essentially created a photobook of all of our information and photos, which we had printed and included in our agency application packets. We think it came out nice and hope it presents us well!

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The front cover of our family profile.

So how does our profile get put in front of a birth mother? You may have heard anyone connected with domestic adoption talk about “presenting” or being “matched.” This is the part of the process where we say we want our profile to be shown to a particular birth mother, in the hopes that she will choose us to parent her baby.

We receive emails from both our consultant as well as directly from agencies with which we are active when there is a birth mother ready to choose a family. These are referred to as “situations,” and based on the information we receive, we can choose to have our profile presented to them. The emails typically include some basic information about the birth mother, due date, gender (if known) and health of the pregnancy, but the level of detail ranges concerning medical information (for both mom and baby), substance abuse, family history, likes/dislikes, preferences for the baby’s family, etc.

There is usually a pretty small window of time to make the decision to present, usually just a couple of days, and we even missed out on presenting one time because the agency determined they had received enough profiles after just a couple of hours. Some agencies limit the number of profiles that are presented to a birth mother, while others allow however many respond to present. The birth mother then has the weighty task of reading through the family profiles, and making the difficult decision of choosing a family.

It is also expected that if the expectant mom chooses you, that you should not back out, so we have to be fully ready to move forward if we are matched. The time between match and baby could be anywhere from four months to immediately, it just depends on when the plan was made and the family is chosen. We’ve received situations where the due date is still several months away, but have also seen several situations of mothers in active labor or even with a baby already born! So, while we’re in a wait, there is always an anxiousness of “it could be anytime.”

We probably receive on average a couple of situations a week, though there have been periods of time where we don’t see anything for a few weeks, then a stretch of time where it seems there is at one new situation every day. It is overwhelming to decide to present or not, and we usually end up in a long, discussion trying to determine the best way to move forward. It is such a potentially life changing decision based on a simple email. We have reached the point in our presenting that if there are no obvious reasons not to present, then we usually agree to ask that our profile be presented to a situation, and trust that if it’s not our baby that God will close the door.

Since we became active with agencies (October 2016), we have presented multiple times. Obviously, we have not yet received a “yes,” but we are still waiting. Each time we receive an email letting us know that someone else was chosen, we must not see it as a “no” to us, but rather the birth mother just saying yes to a different family.

God will open the right door at the right time, we just have to be ready and willing to walk through it. We’re hoping it is soon, but we really have no idea, and are waiting as patiently as possible for a birth mother to choose us to love on her and her baby!

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