What was it like to be part of a community of adoptees when you were younger?
My time at Spence-Chapin’s Adoption Mentorship Program began in sixth grade. My mom had me go to a few one-day workshops at Spence-Chapin the year before and asked if I wanted to sign up for the Program which was once a month. To be honest I only enjoyed going at first because it meant a trip to the city once a month and a meal out after with whoever brought me. I was very shy back then and the Program helped me work on coming out of my shell. Through talking to other kids around my age, the mentees, as well as the adult mentors. It was nice being able to hang out with kids and adults who had similar stories as me. I think the fact that there are adopted Mentors is key to remind kids that they will be carrying their adoption stories with them for life. It felt very comforting to have people go through similar stuff as me and not have to explain why my family looked so different than all of my friends.
How has this impacted your willingness to share your adoption story with others?
After talking about my adoption story and feelings on it with the mentorship program for seven years, I feel much more comfortable sharing my story with others. The program helped me celebrate my story instead of being ashamed or feeling strange for being adopted.
How has your participation in the Program impacted your life since you left?
Since leaving the mentorship program, I have gained everlasting friendships that I cherish. My mentor MeeJin and I get together most times I am home from school, and she has visited me at school as well. I am so glad I have such an amazing person in my life because of the program. I also have a community of the mentors and mentees on Facebook and Instagram where we are all able to glance at each other’s lives and speak with them online. I feel I have a lot of people I can turn to share my continued adoption journey with. I am so glad I continued with this mentorship program it really changed my life. I think it’s a great program that all adoptees could use in their lives at one point or another.
Spence-Chapin’s Adoption Mentorship Program is for adopted middle and high school students. Our program empowers adoptees through friendship, building self-confidence and challenging them to discover and understand their adoption identities and experiences. To learn more about joining the Program as a Mentee or Mentor, contact us at 646-539-2167 or [email protected].