For a long time, and even when I wrote my book , I did not think any online book services had enough tools and resources for families to truly personalize a book created there and make it their own enough that it was a profile for adoption and not just a coffee-table book. I have always loved Shutterfly for my own printing of photobooks and even recommended their services for printing of landscape profiles in my book. In 2015 I was approached by a family who had created their adoption profile in Shutterfly who wanted me to help it look more like a profile and I was so excited to find the evolution of Shutterfly and the addition of backgrounds and embellishments and the ease with which they can be added and moved around- that is when I approached Shutterfly about creating a general layout specifically for adoption profiles that families could customize to reflect themselves, who they are and their lives. You see, I have always wanted to level the field- it is not fair that wonderful families are not chosen because they cannot create a lovely profile and Shutterfly has embraced that view as well. Shutterfly accepted the challenge to create a beginning template for adoption profiles and are committed to a quality product for families who are beginning the adoption process and take it very seriously- I was honored to be a part of the process. I have not been paid for my endorsement of the quality of Shutterfly's work or for books sold- it is something I have seen firsthand, over and over again and I see as a doable option for families going through the adoption process. I am excited to say that Shutterfly's adoption profile beginning template layout will be available at Shutterfly in May of 2016! Exciting! The great thing is, even if you need to create your profile before their layout comes available or if you are creating it at a later point with the adoption profile layout, there are clear ways you can make your adoption profile uniquely yours-
here's a few tips how to do just that:
1. When you choose your book layout, choose soft-back or hard-back depending on your agency or attorney guidelines. It is always important to follow guidelines as you also make your profile your own.
2. Choose cover photos that are appropriate for an adoption profile
I know you are time of paperwork after your homestudy. I know you just want this project finished but this is important. Your cover first is your first "hello". Do not just slap any old picture you have in a Shutterfly folder or on your laptop. Make eye contact. Have a nice neutral background. Be yourselves. Don't have too many shadows, especially by your faces.
3. Don't be afraid to change the background colors to customize each of your pages.
The colors should reflect you, not what you think the reader will like. It is a part of the feeling the reader will get about YOU. You are not locked in to the backgrounds that come with your chosen layout. It is very easy to do! Look to the left of the screen that you are creating your book on. Click on the BACKGROUNDS tab- look to the bottom of that section and click the +GET MORE BACKGROUNDS box. When the background selections pop up, click the ones you would like to add to your edit screen and then click to the top right on ADD TO PROJECT and they will appear in your selection choices under that tab.
4. Don't be afraid to change/add/delete embellishments to customize each of your pages and let them tell more of your story.
Embellishments can help divide sections on your pages, tell part of the story, give the reader a clue of what the page is about. It is a part of the feeling the reader will get about YOU. You are not locked in to the embellishments that come with your chosen layout and I encourage you to change them. We do not want 100 adoption profiles that look just alike. The layout is just a starting/guiding point for you. It is very easy to do! Look to the left of the screen that you are creating your book on. Click on the EMBELLISHMENTS tab, look to the bottom of that section and click the +GET MORE STICKERS box. When the embellishment selections pop up, click the ones you would like to add to your edit screen and then click to the top right on ADD TO PROJECT and they will appear in your selection choices under that tab. You will be happily surprised at how many choices you find- things like travel, holidays, kiddos, frames, just pretty little stamps and ribbons and LOTS more!
5. Need to add more photos or another text block to a section to tell your story?--DO IT! It is very easy to add additional pictures and text to pages by clicking on ADD PHOTOS or ADD TEXT BOX at the top of the editing screen.
6. Do not put yourself in a box or be a cookie cutter- create pages and sections that are specific to you and YOUR life!
Do you go to Disney every year? Create a Disney page. Do you spend weekends at the lake on your boat and cannot wait to teach a little one to fish--create a section or page to include it. You can search the embellishment section for "fishing" and find lots of choices to add to your page. Whatever your interests, whatever paints a picture of the life you hope to share- add a page or section that includes it and find embellishments and backgrounds that enhance the story you are telling.
7. The most important element of every adoption profile, no matter where it is created is honesty and authenticity.
Be YOU. There is no pressure to make promises you do not know if you can keep--be honest. There is no one that is a better you, than you and you cannot be someone else. It is the things that make you unique that make you memorable- it is the things that are truly you that will help others feel some kind of connection. As to honesty- it is what you deserve, what those who read your profile deserve and you will answer to your future child one day.
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