Back in the day, an agency would match birthmothers and adoptive parents and neither would ever know anything about the other. Everything was shrouded in secrecy. Things have changed a lot in the past 20 or so years. Nowadays, open adoption is the norm, and birthmothers typically pick adoptive parents themselves. Each party gets to know about the other before a match is made and they typically meet in person, with the adoptive parents even attending the birth if possible. It’s pretty cool and much healthier for everyone involved.
When choosing the adoptive parent or parents, a birthmother looks through many adoptive parent profiles to decide who would be the best parents for her child. The profile is super important – it is sometimes the sole decider in a birthmother’s choice. When we first talked to our agency, our caseworker suggested that we hire a graphic designer to create our profile to make sure it looks as good as possible (as good as all the other profiles designed by graphic designers). Right away, Jamie said no way – we should create it ourselves. (I work in marketing so he thinks I have a whole slew of skill sets I don’t always have.)
Me: But Jamie, I am not a graphic designer. Everyone else is paying $1,000 for their profile. If I make it, it will look awful compared to theirs.
J: You can make a profile every bit as nice as those –and it will stand out because we did it ourselves.
Me: You overestimate me. I do not know anything about graphic design. Like, nothing.
J: So buy a program and learn it. It will be fun.
Me: What? Are you serious? It’s not that easy to just “learn” a program.
J: Just find a program you can learn — I know you will have a lot of fun doing this.
Me: You’re being cheap.
I’m not proud of that last line, by the way, but it’s what I said. I may or may not have also stomped my feet. Anyway, I decided to pick my battles and just try it his way. I knew that eventually I would end up with a horrible profile and he would realize we had to pay someone to do it. But I would humor him. Lord knows he does that for me. So I did a little research and found a supposedly simple Mac program called Pages. The reviews were good and said it was easy to both learn and use. It cost $20. I bought it.
And then I started to collect photos. If you know me, you’ll know that I take one photo every five seconds. I love, love, love to take photographs. This was a daunting task but it turned out to be one of the most enjoyable aspects of the last few months. I have so many photos but I never do anything with them and rarely even look at them, so going through the past several years of memories was not only fun, it was therapeutic. My memory lane is beautiful and I was reminded time and again how blessed and fortunate Jamie and I are to have found each other, to live this incredibly rich life, to have such a loving family, such remarkable friends and lived in (and traveled to) so many incredible places. Any lingering feeling I had of loss at not being able to have our own child vanished. How could I feel that we were missing anything? We were so blessed, and so fortunate to be in the position to be able to consider adoption.
Then I began to write. I wrote about our story, myself and the love I have for Jamie. I wrote about what makes Jamie special and great and wonderful and why life with us would be pretty damn great for a child. Once again, I was reminded how lucky I am to have such an incredible partner and wonderful life. My cup truly is so full.
If it’s not obvious yet, Jamie got to say “I told you so.” I had such a great time creating our profile. I worked on it for hours — many, many hours over a period of a few months — gathering photos, writing copy, putting together the pages. I mastered the program and I can honestly say that I am glad we didn’t pay a professional to create it. I got to use so many photos I’ve taken over the years and I even used landscape shots I’d taken to create the background of each page. Beats the hell out of clip art in my opinion and makes every inch of this 12-page profile our own.
I just put the finishing touches on our profile tonight. It will be read by birthmothers all over the country until someone special feels a connection with us and chooses us to be her child’s parents. Jamie has approved it and now we’re just waiting for our caseworker to approve it before we print 40 copies. As soon as we deliver the 40 profiles, our wait time to be matched will officially start.
Creating the profile myself has been the best, most therapeutic and meaningful way we could ever have started our adoption process. Another reason why my husband is the best husband in the world: he knew what was best for me long before I knew myself.