The stakes for the images going into your adoption family profile are pretty high. You're not just looking for a nice memory of your family or likes and shares on social media; you're needing to catch the attention of the birthmother of your future child. We've put together this guide to help you put your best foot forward in your adoption profile, using images to ensure the best introductions to birthmothers possible without you ever saying a word.

Candid is King...

The most important job of an adoptive family profile is to give the expectant parents a sense of what your life is like, and by extension what kind of life a child of yours might lead. Because of this, candid photos are a necessity. Choose photos of your family celebrating holidays, spending time together, and on vacation. Most importantly, add some photos of you relaxing in your home, to show where the child will be growing up.

When choosing candid photos, try to make sure most of them tie back to the text in some way. For example, if you mention that you love hiking, include a photo of your family on a hiking excursion. Saying something conveys the idea, but an image can cement that fact in the birth family's minds. Remember, your goal isn't perfection, it's realism, if perhaps a bit idealized.

Use the Pros...

While this may seem counterintuitive to the advice above, using candid photos doesn't negate the importance of a professional photographer! The first photo a birthparent should see should always be professionally done. You still want to look natural, but in order to look like the best version of yourself, you may even consider getting your hair and makeup done professionally. Wear clothes that look nice but are of the sort you'd wear on an 'everyday' basis, but absolutely most important is the professional photographer -- sadly, your friend with a good camera just isn't good enough for these important photos.

When looking for a professional photographer, it is important to find someone with experience in lifestyle photography. While portrait photography makes for nice memories to hang on a wall, they're a bit bland for an adoptive family profile. Choose a photographer who has a knack for capturing the personality of their subjects in photos that don't appear as staged as portraits. When it's time for your shoot, bring along a few changes of clothing and talk to your photographer about the possibility of using several locations throughout the shoot for some variety. Choose your best professional image for the cover of your profile.

Include Others...

While you and your partner and any children you have should certainly be the focus of your adoptive family profile, it's important to also include others. Expectant birth parents want to see the people your child will be interacting with regularly, so your siblings, parents, and close friends should definitely be included. Also consider including a few pictures of you interacting with children, as this can help birthmother envision their child's place with you. Your furry family is also important! If you have any pets, be sure to include them in some of your images. Everyone loves animals, after all, and some people even feel very strongly about how beneficial pets can be to children growing up.