How Youth-Centered Profiles Empower Kids in Their Adoptions
April 6, 2023 – At Adopt Kansas Kids, we believe every child is adoptable and deserves a loving family. The sad reality is that it is much more difficult to find families willing to adopt older youth. As they approach age 18, they are at a high risk of aging out of the foster care system, and when this happens, they are far more likely to face homelessness, incarceration, or teen pregnancy.
For youth that have been up for adoption for a significant amount of time without finding a permanent family, we often utilize a tool we call Youth-Centered Profiles. Youth-Centered Profiles allow youth to be involved in creating an in-depth online biography that incorporates writing, video, photos, and other creative outlets. It encourages them to tell their own story and lets their personality shine through to families who are wanting to pursue adoption.
“It’s an opportunity for children to be involved in their adoption recruitment and have some control over what that looks like,” Says Jordan Johnson, Adoption Exchange Child Specialist. “It helps them feel empowered in the decisions that are being made about their future. When I meet with kids, I try and tell them, ‘you’re running the show. If we do this, I’m just here to help you showcase what you feel is important about yourself.’”
Our staff utilizes what is called the 3-5-7 Model®. Developed by social worker Darla Henry, it helps address a youth’s grief and loss while preparing for what adoption might hold for them. Through a series of two to four meetings with the child, our team listens to what they want to include and how they want to tell their story. Some youth lean fully into the creative side of things, putting together Spotify playlists, artwork, and other expressive elements that are unique to them. In their video profiles, some youth want to show themselves doing the activities they love: sports, horse riding, music, etc., in addition to just speaking.
“During the process, the youth often go from being hesitant to being excited,” Johnson says. “They really open up, get more silly, and have a lot of fun with it. Meeting with these kids is my favorite part of my job.”
Everything that goes into Youth-Centered Profiles is requested by the youth and published with their explicit consent. We follow the guidelines set forth by national campaigns including Adopt US Kids and the US Children’s Bureau, and no identifying or confidential information is shared about these children publicly. We only disclose information to prospective adoptive families on a continuum throughout the adoption process, the same way that we do with any child who is eligible for adoption.
Kids that participate in creating Youth-Centered Profiles deeply desire to be adopted, and they want it to be by a family that loves them for who they really are. We believe that this is the best way to help this happen. If you know a child who might benefit from a Youth-Centered Profile, contact us today!