Profile books are glimpses into the lives of hope-to-be adoptive parents. Lawyers and agencies show these books to birthparents so they can choose their babies’ adoptive parents. No pressure, right?
I first learned of profile books before Joseph and I decided it was time to adopt. I can thank Pinterest for that. I read blog post after blog post about different facets of adoption and fostering, and I pinned many of them that seemed helpful, encouraging, or even convicting. The posts on profile books, however, rarely made the cut, because we were planning on adopting through DSS, which doesn’t need profile books to show to birthparents.
When we decided to cast our adoption net a little wider and apply with a private agency, we learned we would join the group of hopeful parents who tried to capture their lives in photos and brief words that would “promote” themselves without seeming self-promoting, one of the more challenging tasks I’ve faced in recent years.
How does a couple introduce themselves on paper in a way that says they’ll be great parents without casting judgment on the birthparents or without seeming arrogant and self-centered? A way that shows gratitude without being overly sappy? A way that extends grace and even friendship without presuming to know anything about the birthparents? A way that shows their family and friends without offending them because there just wasn’t enough room to share all the pictures of all the people they love? A way that presents their personalities without making them look stuffy, or self-absorbed, or weird?
I still don’t know!
But I tried.
For as simple as this book truly is, it took me days to complete it. Some of the first pages I created were the ones that contained the letter to the birthparents and our closing remarks. I dropped in the pictures, but I kept putting off the text. I just didn’t know what to say. Words and thoughts had been swimming around in my head for a couple of weeks, and I didn’t know how to string them together in a coherent manner. I didn’t know how to open our hearts to people who needed our love poured out to them on paper.
So, when the last pictures had been placed and all the captions had been written, when there was nothing left to do, I stared at a blinking cursor. Our house was quiet except for the hum of the appliances and my sleeping husband. I had no words.
So, I prayed.
God answered, and words came.
They aren’t particularly eloquent. My grammar probably isn’t perfect. There may be typos. I may have forgotten to include something that most birthparents really want to know (at least according to the dozens of blog posts I read about creating the perfect profile book).
But those words are our heart. They express our gratitude and our intentions. More importantly, I hope they express our love through Jesus for people we haven’t yet met.
I debated whether or not to include these images of our book, not necessarily because they’re private (and we all know how private I am … HA!), but because I didn’t want this to come across as a “look what I did” kind of post. I’m not seeking a pat on the back or a “that turned out great, Rachelle! You’ll be matched in no time!” I decided to share our book because it was so helpful for me to see what other people included when they created their books. I found this post particularly helpful. Their book is beautiful, and I used a few of their ideas when organizing ours.
If you are one of our friends or family, I hope your feelings aren’t hurt if you weren’t included or if I included more pictures of someone else. Most of the pictures I used were either on our phones or in albums on Facebook, and I had a hard time including everything I wanted to on some of the page layouts. I’m particularly sensitive about this issue, so I’m nervous about sharing our book!
OK … here it is. Man, I didn’t realize how nervous I was until it was time to start uploading the pictures!
(Click on the images to view them larger. You may need to click your browser’s back button to return to the post.)
We had them printed at Walgreens, which wasn’t my first choice. We still had a tiny sliver of hope that we would be presented to these birthparents, so we wanted the books in our hands as quickly as possible. Walgreens has same day printing, and we didn’t have to wait on shipping. Because of no shipping charges combined with a coupon, we purchased five copies of our book for a little over $60. Not bad. The color isn’t perfect, and I don’t love the binding, but we have them, and they didn’t cost us a fortune, so I’m content.
Now we’re waiting on a few pieces of information for our home study. Hopefully, we’ll be considered an “approved and waiting” family very soon!
It probably isn’t fair to call it a rejection, but it feels that way.
Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve received several emails of situations, both babies and older children in need of adoptive parents. We read through the emails, but none of them seemed to be the right fit (for various reasons).
Then … a different email.
Thursday morning, I was still curled up in bed, going through my daily routine of fighting the reality that I must exit said bed. I browsed my email, and I came to an email from our agency. I read through the details, and I came to life! I read the email to Joseph, and we agreed something was different, something stirred within us to pursue this baby – this baby girl due in the Charleston area in just over six weeks.
My stomach was happy twisty, and I had thousands of words that needed to escape my mouth in the hours to come. Joseph didn’t have quite as many words. ;O)
The birth parents’ agency is showing them profiles of prospective adoptive parents next week, so we scheduled our home study for Monday afternoon, and I worked on our profile book while watching a few more episodes of LOST and dehydrating over an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. We were excited about the possibility of being matched and holding a daughter in our arms in a matter of weeks, though we attempted to remind ourselves that we weren’t the only ones feeling hopeful about this baby girl.
I had just finished dropping a couple of pictures into our book, and Joseph was putting on the finishing touches for lunch. My phone rang. The agency in Charleston. I grabbed the remote control quickly and muted the shouts of people who had just discovered another hatch. Joseph hurried over to listen.
Within a few minutes, the director of the agency explained that we wouldn’t be able to complete everything in time to be considered. She tried to encourage me that our agency would find another baby for us, but she may as well have punched me in the gut. In the moment, it would have hurt less.
I didn’t guard my heart. Probably a rookie mistake. Probably just who I am.
I let myself hope a little. I let myself start imagining Joseph as a daddy to a precious little girl. I let myself think about finding a pediatrician (part of the string of thousands of words within a couple of hours).
I know I shouldn’t have. I know that even if we had everything ready, we still weren’t the only ones who wanted this little girl. The parents may not have chosen us. That would have hurt even more.
I swallowed bite after bite of my lunch, choking back tears. I finally told Joseph I just wanted to crawl back into bed.
Back to the place where hope was stirred.
It probably seems silly to be crying over a child who was never ours, especially since we hadn’t even really begun the process. Her parents didn’t see pictures of us. We didn’t meet them. We didn’t see ultrasound pictures or start picking out a name.
But we hoped, and hope once stirred is a powerful thing.
So, now, we cling to our One True Hope. We trust He has a perfect match out there for us. He’s busy knitting them together in their mother’s womb. And He sees us waiting. He knows us. He loves us. That’s all we need today.
As we’ve been preparing over the last several weeks for our adoption fundraiser yard sale, the phrase “exceedingly more” has drifted in and out of my mind more times that I can remember. As I watched God work through SO MANY people, I knew He was going to do exceedingly more than I imaged last month when I thought we’d have a few tables in our driveway and maybe make a few hundred dollars if people were generous. I’ll write a separate post about all the ways He did exceedingly more, but, for now, I know a whole lot of people who want to know how much money God raised for us today. So …
drum roll please …
God gets all the credit! Joseph and I could have never done this on our own. This is completely inadequate, but thank you to everyone who donated items, time, or above a given purchase price so we could be one step closer to starting our family. We are grateful, and we love you! We’d name our children after you, but that would be a REALLY long name!
Hi, everyone! We are excited about our upcoming adoption fundraiser yard sale this weekend! God has lavished His love on us through family, friends, and even strangers the last few weeks. We are overwhelmed by the Spirit-led generosity we’ve experienced. My secret goal was to need to use every price sticker in our pack of 1000+ price stickers, and I think we’re going to exceed that! That’s without pricing clothes, shoes, books, DVDs, etc. that are all the same price. We serve the kindest God. If you’ve donated to our yard sale, thank you so much!
With that said, we could still use a lot of help! If you’d like to pitch in, here are some things we need:
Prayer – Oh so much prayer! Please pray for joy in our hearts as we price, sort, and step over piles of God’s blessings! Pray for our health as allergies/colds/sinus issues/something in our heads are trying to take us down this week. Pray for the weather. The forecast looks terrible for a yard sale, but we trust that if God wants us to have this yard sale, He’ll provide just the right weather. Pray that God would send people to our yard sale and that He would use us to encourage them while they’re here.
Bake Sale Donations – We’re planning on having a bake sale on Saturday in addition to the yard sale. We need individually wrapped baked goods to sell, anything from cookies to Rice Krispy treats to your grandmother’s famous pound cake. We’d like to have those donations by Friday or before 7:30 on Saturday morning (Friday sounds pretty good, huh?). We’re also going to have bottled water and canned drinks for sale, which leads me to …
Coolers – We need to borrow a few coolers for the bottled water and canned drinks. We would also need those by Friday or before 7:30 on Saturday morning.
Ice – Would someone be willing to swing by between 7:30-8:00 on Saturday morning with several bags of ice? That would free us up to focus on setting up the sale.
Tables – Like I mentioned, we have SO MUCH stuff to sell! That means we need SO MANY tables! If you have tables we could borrow, I’ll add your name to our list of baby name ideas. We’ll need tables by Friday morning. (If you could drop them off, that would be extra helpful.)
Tents – We have lots of items to peruse, so we think our shoppers would enjoy some shade. If you have tents we could borrow, we’ll need them by Friday morning.
Volunteers – There will be many ways volunteers can help this week!
*Setup Friday morning starting around 9:00. The sale starts at 1:00 on Friday. We could use volunteers for an hour or for several hours.
*Teardown at 7:00 Friday evening. We were going to leave everything out, but we’re scared people will steal from us. :o/
*Setup Saturday morning at 6:00 (what a test of friendship, huh?). The sale starts at 8:00, and we’re anticipating early birds. We’ll truthfully probably start before 6:00, but I can’t fathom asking people to come that early!
*Teardown at 1:00 Saturday afternoon. We’ll be boxing up anything left over to donate to Miracle Hill in Mauldin.
*Help during the sale Friday from 1:00-7:00 and Saturday from 8:00-1:00. We’ll take you for an hour if that’s what you can give, or we’ll take you for the whole time.
*Posting flyers around town.
*Setting up signs directing people to our sale. Unless it’s pouring rain, we’d like to set up signs Thursday. If it’s raining, we’ll wait until Friday morning.
*Helping us price and sort items. We still have a steady stream of donations coming in (yay!!), and pricing and sorting is overwhelming us. Even if you have an hour to help us with that, we’d appreciate it so much.
Spread the word – Please tell everyone you know about our yard sale. Share it on social media. Help us with flyers. Write it on your car. OK, maybe not. We just want as many people as possible to hear about our yard sale and come out and shop.
We’re praying for this yard sale, and we’re trusting God is going to move in a big way. If He chooses not to, we’re trusting He has something even better planned. He is good, and He loves us in ways we don’t even notice. He knows our children, and He’s moving to bring them into our lives. We’re excited to watch Him work!