Building An Adoption Portfolio


Adoption portfolios are a combination of scrapbooks and photo albums; they introduce you or your family to a perspective birth mother. These portfolios should be designed to highlight you and your family’s strengths as a couple and as parents.

When looking through an adoption portfolio, it’s highly possible that the birth mother will choose you or your family simply because she likes what she sees and feels drawn into your family. The most important thing for a birth mother when considering adoption for her unborn child is knowing that her child will be loved and taken care of. An adoption portfolio can help convey that message.

Some guidelines to follow

First impressions count for everything, and that’s especially true when a birth mother is looking for a family to place her child with. Adoption portfolios give the prospective parents the chance to explain who their family really is and why her child would be safe with them. That’s why it’s very important that the prospective family be genuine with their approach. Because the birth mother will have read many other portfolios by the time she gets to yours, it’s important that yours is genuine, informative, contains photographs and captions, and shows more than it tells.

Being genuine

Being genuine means nothing gets left behind or forgotten when writing an adoption portfolio. This means that no matter what goes on in your household, the birth mother has to know about it, and it, therefore, has to be documented to some degree.

Even though the birth mother may not like the large dogs you keep in your home, she will appreciate the fact that you were open and honest enough to tell her about them. This kind of genuine approach will serve you and your family well in the long run. The birth mother reading your portfolio may decide that your family is not the right one for her child, but she will appreciate the fact that you felt like you could tell her anything and that you essentially made your life and home into an open book.

This is your chance to connect with a birth mother who thinks you’re wonderful, rather than with several who just think you’re average. This will increase your chances of adopting a child in the near future.


Photographs should be as natural as possible. Of course, a few photos that have been taken by a professional, or staged, are acceptable. However your portfolio’s goal is to show your family at its natural best, and to show that your home is a place where people can be free to be themselves and live their lives as happy as can be.

This would be an excellent example for prospective mothers to see. There’s never any guarantee that the work you put into your adoption portfolio will be enough for a birth mother to actually pick you and your family, but the pictures that you choose will give the birth mother an idea of who you are and what kind of environment her child could potentially grow up in.


Captions should describe what’s going on in the pictures, but they should also say something more. They should describe exactly each individual in the picture, the kind of room they’re in, and exactly what they’re doing in the picture. This may seem like easy or already-known information, but captions should also be as exciting as possible. Exciting captions can help convey your personality to the birth mother. She should come to understand who you are by the words she reads under the pictures that she sees.

An adoption portfolio is something that you should enjoy making because it’s the beginning of a story: the story of you and your future child. When a birth mother looks through your portfolio, she should be genuinely moved by what she sees, so far that she starts to make a connection with you and your family, ultimately deciding that this is indeed the place where her child should grow up in. This is a decision that is never made lightly, but with the help of an adoption portfolio, the birth mother can make the right choice and you can finally have the family you’ve been dreaming of.

This article was written by Helen Philips an adoption specialist, who educates birth mothers on giving a child up for adoption.

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