What are In-Depth Profiles?

Breaking down Northwest Adoption Exchange's youth storytelling projects, In-Depth Profiles™, and why involving youth voices is important.

Written by Laurie Bohm
Updated over a week ago

Every youth featured on Northwest Adoption Exchange is a youth in foster care who needs an adoptive family. If you visit our Featured Youth page, you will see the stories of each of these youth, which highlight their personalities, their passions, their strengths, and what they’re hoping for in an adoptive family. You will also come across a small tag below some youth names that reads “In-Depth Profile.” So what is an In-Depth Profile?

What are In-Depth Profiles?

In-Depth Profiles are creative storytelling projects that give youth in foster care a greater voice in finding their adoptive family. Featured alongside all of the youth stories we share on our site, In-Depth Profiles are a unique opportunity for youth to share directly with families interested in adopting.

In-Depth Profiles most often begin with two simple questions posed to youth who want to be involved: “What do you want to share with potential adoptive families, and how do you want to share it?” Northwest Adoption Exchange staff meet a handful of times with each youth to carry out their vision, from an initial brainstorm to reviewing the finer points of their soon-to-be published project. Youth are engaged from start to finish, and the results are authentic and inspiring.

Creations range from videos, to podcasts, to photography and artwork, to written narratives, and more – however a youth wants to share. In-Depth Profiles allow youth to feature their poetry or original artwork; demonstrate their passion for cooking in the kitchen; share about their dreams for college; or create an album of songs to show how important music is to them. Every In-Depth Profile looks different because every youth has something specific about themselves to share.

And not only do these projects allow youth to share with potential families, they bring youth deeper into the whole family search process. Youth who create an In-Depth Profile are much more likely to engage in how their profiles will be shared, who will see them, what happens next, and what role they can play with their social worker in finding the right family for them. Youth can step into the deeply involved role they deserve in a journey to find their adoptive family.

How do you engage with younger youth on In-Depth Profiles?

Recently, we’ve expanded our In-Depth Profiles work to include younger youth between the ages of 9-12, as well as older youth of different abilities. While the goal of an In-Depth Profile remains the same, how we collaborate and create projects with this wider group of youth differs slightly. For example, we’re more regularly engaging adults who know the youth to also contribute to the project, if the youth so desires. Some of the adults we’ve collaborated with are social workers, teachers, therapists, CASAs, biological relatives, and more.

Working with an even wider range of youth is continually leading to new project ideas, and we’re proud to be able to showcase even more diversity in how In-Depth Profiles are created with youth.

Why do you create In-Depth Profiles?

We create In-Depth Profiles because youth in foster care deserve to have a platform that features their own voice and ideas in the search for an adoptive family.

Because nobody knows a youth’s story better than they do. And these youth are uniquely equipped to be their own creative storytellers and advocates.

Because youth have specific hopes for an adoptive family, dreams for their future, and a desire to be actively involved in the process to find that family – not just be a passive participant.

Because youth engagement and involvement allows potential families to see a more comprehensive and more authentic portrait of a youth.

Because youth storytellers inspire families to come forward as potential adoptive homes, and inspire families to consider adoption.

And lastly, because time and time again we are blown away by the courage, authenticity, wisdom, and joy that every youth brings to their In-Depth Profiles.

What should I do if I really connect with a youth's story on their In-Depth Profile?

Reach out to us! Whether you are a family with a current home study and ready to adopt, or are just beginning to think about the idea of adoption from foster care, we want to hear from you. We’d love to know why you feel connected to a particular youth and their story. We can then help answer questions, lay out possible next steps ahead, and point you toward any more resources that may be helpful.

We hope you won’t hesitate to contact us if their stories have inspired you.

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