May 25

Turning on the Light: Designing an Adoption Book During COVID-19


Life moves on even during a pandemic — something I know we all are experiencing and trying to accommodate.

Although many events have been canceled and the line between work attire and pajamas is very fine, there have still been so many things to celebrate. Birthdays, anniversaries and holidays don’t recognize COVID-19, and babies are brought into the world every day, regardless of complete and utter chaos.

I have spent much of 2020 thus far helping two of our clients with a special personal project — designing their adoption book. With nothing short of fantastic writing from Mary Ann (naturally), the book details and illustrates the couple’s story over 18 pages — their relationship, friends and family, interests and hobbies and their promise to love the little nugget they will one day call their own.

Mary Ann shared that at the time she was adopted, it was normal for people to just walk into an orphanage, pick out their favorite peanut and take them home. While I try not to burst out in a memorized number from Annie for Mary Ann’s sake here, since then, the adoption process has become quite lengthy, complicated and highly selective — making it even more of an honor to work on this book.

Before the Stay Home, Stay Safe order, I met with the lovely couple and got to know them on a more personal level — I was ready to learn about their quirks and interests, things to describe their character, that will help set them apart from the other candidates. Over a cup of MadCap coffee (I know, I miss it too), I learned they enjoy and bond over cooking, value the importance of fun and more than anything, faith is at the core of who they are as individuals and as a couple.

I incorporated these key insights in their book, using a simple layout with clean lines and a mix of posed and candid photos that illustrate those quirks and interests. While deciding on a color scheme, font and overall aesthetics was important (and food for my soul), I was most concerned with making sure it represented who they are and what a beautiful life a biological parent could see for their child.

Delving into this project and learning more about our clients’ personalities was a bit of the much-needed human connection I have been missing. It was nice to learn more about the couple as I took a deeper look into their life, even if just on paper. Oh the things we appreciate while quarantined.

While this is not a silver lining blog — I know many have faced much more serious situations and consequences than me during this pandemic — I couldn’t be happier with this project’s timing. During the mental and emotional highs and lows that I’ve experienced while staying at home, I am truly grateful for having something so positive to work on and think about.

Babies are still being born (two in my extended family, in fact) and prospective parents are still out there looking for a little someone to love. COVID-19 can certainly delay the process a bit, but hope is still there and hope is what we need as life continues to move forward.

Once again, Dumbledore’s wisdom rings true: “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

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