Adoption Profile Book
When we chose to adopt from the USA, we were told that we would need a profile book about us that would be shown to prospective birth mothers/families. I love taking photos and make my own albums frequently. So, I thought this would be something I would do. We naively had the attitude of why pay someone else to do something I enjoy doing and do all the time.
However, once we got further into the USA system it became clear that we would need to hire a graphic designer. In fact, we were essentially required to and given very little choice in the matter. We were even told who to hire. I’m sure we could have searched further afield to find someone else if we chose to, but ultimately, we just went with the recommended graphic designer. (And of course, this cost is over and above the ones we were already expecting).
So, being the ever practical person, I wrote a pro and con list about my initial thoughts on hiring a graphic designer:
- Graphic designers are not cheap. And for us, we have to factor in the US – Canadian dollar exchange rate. Really, at this point, we are just bleeding money.
- Fear of having our book look mass produced. Will all the profile books look so similar that no-one will stand out? We’ve never even met her, will she really get the feeling of us?
- Ease of making edits. Will it be easy to work with the designer to make changes? Will we be given the time to be constructive? Will our edits be incorporated?
- The actual books are cheaper than using MyPublisher or Shutterfly. In fact, they are drastically cheaper for the quantity required.
- The designer knows what they are doing. They know what attracts a birth family and what does not. They know which pictures will look best where. They know what colours will go best together.
- Professional look and feel of the book. While we have still not actually held a book in our hands, the look is that of a professional product. And, I am confident that feel will be as well.
- Stress free – if we are not making the book, we will not be agonizing over every single photo placement, color choice, etc. That’s the designer’s job and we’ll let the designer do what they are best at.
In the end, now that our book is finished, I have to say, hiring a graphic designer* was the BEST DECISION EVER!
While I could have put together our book, it would never have looked as good as it does! When I saw it, and read it, I actually had a tear in my eye on more than one occasion! As I looked through the book for the first time, word for word my thought process was:
This is real! This is it! Wholly F*!#, this is it!
The final book was not nearly as weird as I had expected. (I say weird, because the idea of making a multi-page book of us to show to birth-mother’s felt very salesmanish, and I was nervous about the entire experience).
Really we love the book. First, the colours were a bit of a twist on our preferred colours, but a really good twist. The shades that were chosen worked for us, and they complimented the photos really well. We were pleasantly surprised.
As we gave the designer more photos then required to choose from, so it was fun to see what photos were included. It was also neat to see how the designer broke down our dear birth mother letter into smaller snippets to convey the information in a much friendly format. Really, it was interesting to see how someone else portrayed our lives in picture and text. The designer did a great job breaking down everything and re-packaging it into something more manageable for the right audience. The end product is really easy to read and appealing to the eye.
To be honest, I have to admit that the process of working with our designer was slower than I would have liked, and sometimes the response times to my emails were outside of my preferences. That said, I do realize I was feeling so anxious to get the album done, so I was very sensitive to this. In the impatient context of an adoptive parent trying to cross off the last item on the to-do list, it felt like an eternity! I realize that our excitement is the result of a long adoption approval process and not the fault of the designer’s timelines, so I really cannot hold this against them!
All In all, the designer was professional and friendly. In a professional context the turnaround times for completing the book were decent and almost all the deadlines were met as expected.
And now we wait…
*To protect my anonymity, I am not linking to the designer we used. Should you want to know for your own adoption purposes, feel free to contact me via email – firstname.lastname@example.org.
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