At Northwest Adoption Exchange, we believe our role is to champion youth in foster care who deserve adoptive families. An important part of that work is thinking of how we can share the stories of youth through a strength-based approach. To understand a strength-based approach, think of how you characterize your best friend, your brother, or your partner. If you were introducing that person to someone, would you lead with the number of detentions they received in high school or their biggest challenge? Of course not. We believe the same should be true when presenting a youth to potential adoptive families. It's important to us -- and to the youth -- to lift them up, to champion them.
That's why our we've chosen to focus on a model that centers on strength-based recruitment that respects the safety, privacy, and dignity of youth in foster care and gives them the opportunity to be empowered, engaged, and involved in helping find their adoptive family.
You'll notice that approach in our youth stories, where we don't include physical descriptions, personal information like what medication a child may be taking, or anything that you wouldn't personally be excited to read if you were reading a profile about yourself. Instead, we focus on passions, positive characteristics, hobbies, and points of pride for the youth. We know that some of that personal information is really important to families, and necessary to know, but that information can be shared down the line. We know that sharing the stories of youth in foster care comes with a special responsibility to do right by featured youth, which we do by celebrating their strengths.
Strength-Based recruitment is closely connected to another one of our guiding values, youth empowerment. Through our In-Depth Profiles and other special projects, we incorporate youth as often as possible, to truly get a whole picture of who they are and what they are looking for in an adoptive family. In our experience, youth who need and deserve adoptive families want to be involved in the adoption recruitment process. Empowering youth also helps us recruit families as youth are wonderful storytellers and advocates for themselves. They are the heroes of their own stories.
We hope you will check out some of our featured youth, especially our In-Depth Profiles, to better understand how we rely on positive storytelling to find these kids the adoptive families they deserve.
If you have any questions about strength-based recruitment, please reach out to us via live chat, by email, or by giving us a call!