Creating a video for your adoption profile is one of the best ways to give potential birth families a window into who you are. They can hear your voice, see your mannerisms, and begin to picture you as a parent to their child. Some birth parents choose families based on their video alone. So how do you make one? How can you make sure you stand out?
You’ll first need to get your hands on some video equipment. If you are adopting through an agency, they may have some for you to borrow or rent (our first agency did). Please use a tripod! I can’t stress this enough. No matter how steady you think your hand is, or your partner insists that theirs is, use a tripod. It makes it easier to frame the subject (you!) and eliminates the shakiness of your hands.
Once you have the right equipment, you can begin shooting your video! What do you get video of? As strange as it might seem, take the camera along with you for a few days while you go about your daily life. Set it up while you cook dinner. Record hanging out with your friends and family. You should record inside and outside your home as well as around your neighborhood or other places you spend a lot of time. Try to avoid forced activities that are unnatural for you. If it’s not usual for you to walk around your neighborhood with your neighbors’ kids, don’t do it. If it’s normal for you to sit on the couch instead of at the kitchen table to have your morning coffee, record it! If it’s not a true representation of you and your home, don’t force it. This footage will become background video for the voices in your video.
Set up an interview location in your home (ideally a couch or set of chairs) where you can answer some questions about adoption for a potential birth family. Wear something that’s comfortable and fairly neutral. Avoid loud, busy, or trendy clothes. It’s important to speak clearly and be honest in your answers.
Ask yourselves: Why are you pursuing adoption? What type of contact are you hoping to have with the birth family? How has adoption played a role in your life? How do you see a child fitting into your family? How does your family feel about adoption? What are your hopes for this child? These are just some guiding questions to answer, and your responses can help a potential birth family get to know you even more. It’s okay to be emotional in this interview. Have some tissues on hand and don’t be afraid to take a break or two if you need to gather your thoughts.
You can also have your family and friends answer questions in the video. How do they know you? Why do they think you’ll make a family for a child? Why are they excited about adoption for you? The most important people in your life can give a different glimpse into what you and your life would be like for a child, and many birth families like seeing the faces and hearing the voices of other important people in your life.
Once you have all your footage, it’s time to start editing! If you are making the video through an agency, they might have the resources to edit and finalize the video for you. If you are doing the video on your own, you can edit it yourself or ask a tech-savvy friend to help you out. The interviews should be the driving force behind the editing process. For example, if you are discussing your neighborhood, put it over the footage you shot in your backyard or on your street. If you are creating the video on your own, once your video is finished, you can upload it to a sharing website like YouTube. You should give a link to your agency or lawyer as well as share it on any social media platforms. Birth families are finding adoptive families in so many ways in this digital age, so you never know who might see it! Good luck!