In a recent post, I stated that there are four ways to create an adoption profile scrapbook:
- Create the profile out of paper, the old fashioned way.
- Create the profile on the computer using some sort of software. (I use Memory Mixer.)
- Create the profile on the computer using a photo web site, such as Snapfish or Shutterfly.
- Say to heck with it and hire someone else to create your profile.
In 2005, when I searched the web for “adoption profiles” all I got were forum posts. At the time, I thought, “Hey, I should make a business out of this.” Long story short, others beat me to it. I can tell you what to look for when choosing a professional to create your scrapbook.
There are some services (one that I know of well) that will simply critique your profile and give you advice. They charge for this service. Don’t do it. Instead, bring your adoption profile scrapbook to a few acquaintances – like your sister-in-law’s niece, your doctor’s receptionist, a co-worker you can trust not to blab. Ask them to look through it and tell you what they think. Ask them what kind of an impression they get. They will do this for a cup of coffee or some other minor token of your esteem. I have just saved you more than $100.
Professional adoption profile creators tend to fall into one of three categories:
- Adoption professionals or semi-professionals who happen to be good at scrapbooking
- Scrapbookers who have adopted and want to help others while doing something they love
- Designers, who may or may not have adopted
There are a lot of professional scrapbookers in the world. They might come and roast me, but I don’t recommend choosing a professional scrapbooker who does not have a background in adoption profiles. Traditional scrapbooks and adoption profiles are very different. Unless someone has been in the adoption world, they just won’t have the knowledge to create an effective profile for you.
Adoption professionals who also scrapbook may be a good source. However, you want to make sure that they’re not just doing the same profile over and over again. These people may think that they have a formula that works, so they don’t change it. Your profile looks the same as the last one, which looked the same as the one before that, and so on.
Straight-up designers will have a different approach than people who scrapbook. Designers tend to see the marketing aspect of the profile better. It will likely be sleek and stylish, polished and gleaming. Scrapbookers tend to see the personal aspect. Rather than a slick marketing tool, you’ll have something that looks more personal, but less polished. Both of these approaches have their pros and cons. You need to go with what you like the best in this area.
Attitude is everything. The profile designer is working for you, and should try to make sure that your profile is unique. You don’t want to work with someone who won’t listen to you. At the same time, a professional profile designer does have more experience in this area than you do, so if they offer advice in a friendly and professional manner, consider it. Regardless of how good her samples look, if you can’t handle a particular professional’s attitude, don’t use her.
You do want to see samples, and you want to make sure that those samples differ from one another. If the professional will be helping you with the “Dear Birthmother Letter”, you want someone who can edit and embellish upon your ideas, not someone who is going to write the letter for you. (For more about “Dear Birthmother Letters”, see the US Infant Adoption blog.)
The pricing for adoption profile scrapbook services varies. Costs start at about $100 for a 1-2 page profile, which is probably nothing more than a “Dear Birthmother Letter” with pictures. It seems that, for about $300-$500, you can get a complete profile scrapbook of about 20 pages. That price may or may not include printing, so remember to ask. Printing can get very expensive. I just spent $90 on 20 copies of my own profile, and I just took it to Staples. Prices continue on up over $600. Before you balk at those costs, understand that these people are putting MANY HOURS into your profile. If you receive your profile and you don’t believe the work warrants the cost, you should have a safeguard in place. Most services ask for a deposit – up to half of the total cost – upfront. You pay the rest when you receive a finished profile that you find appropriate. Never pay all of the fee upfront, especially if the service is newer.
I hope this has helped you in your adoption journey. Good luck and God bless!