Founded in 2005, Spence-Chapin’s Mentorship are Adoptee-led and run programs for teen and tween Adoptees which meet monthly as a group with adult Adoptee Mentors.
As Adoptees, our relationship with our identity can be more complex than for others. In our meetings, we do activities, play games, and talk about adoption, our birth families, friendships, and what it’s like to be in a home where you may not look like anyone in your family. Most importantly, we have a lot of fun! Countless friendships have been made and many Adoptees feel like they finally have a space where people “get” them.
We understand Adoptees might be hesitant to join a group like this if they’ve never been with other adoptees before, and that’s ok, that’s true for many of us and we’re all figuring this out together. We are excited to have you join us!
Spence-Chapin currently offers a NYC Teen Mentorship Program for Adoptees ages 11-18 that meets in person monthly, and a National Teen Mentorship Program for ages 13-18 which meets virtually once a month.
Spence-Chapin also offers a parent group that runs parallel to the Mentorship program, where adoptive parents can connect in conversations that are led by experienced Spence-Chapin clinicians with support from adult adoptees, whether or not their child is part of the Teen Mentorship Programs.
Our son participated in the Spence Chapin Mentorship Program during Middle and High Schools. We have made friends with other families in the adoption community that have lasted through the years. Having a community to turn to in difficult times, whether adoption related or not, is immeasurable. Having mentors and mentees for our son to share his adoption journey with has been nothing but positive.
~Irene and John, Former Mentorship Parents
I thoroughly enjoyed participating in the Mentorship Program and have many great memories from my time with Spence. I’m also still in contact with some of the friends I made during my time in the Mentorship Program. Spence has been very important to me and my family and I even supported it by collecting items for my Eagle Scout project to distribute to children waiting for their forever family.
~John, Former Mentee
This mentorship provided a safe space for me to explore my identity and be myself with full support and no explanation. There I formed strong relationships with people of all different ages and backgrounds, who were all bonded by the one thing that had previously always isolated me. This in turn fostered a confidence in me to not only recognize but take pride in the unique experience of being a transracial adoptee.
~Dana, Mentor for 9 years
Jessica is a Colombian transracial Adoptee and Adoptee Advocate. She was a founding Mentor of our NYC Teen Mentorship program and now oversees all Community Programming for Spence-Chapin. Jessica’s passion for connecting with Adoptees and their families has always been the driving force in her work and is the reason she continues to create spaces for Adoptee voices.
Our Mentors are Adoptees! They volunteer their time because most did not have a program like this when they were younger. Being a part of this group and hearing from their fellow Mentors and the mentees helps to sculpt their own identities as Adoptees. Mentors are passionate about the work they do in creating these open spaces for our adoptive community to connect and learn from one another.
We asked a few questions so you can get to know them!
We asked our mentors:
Hear from Mentors, Mentees, and Parents about their experiences in the program.
Understanding the importance of community, adoptive parents are invited to participate in a separate monthly group. Topics include talking about adoption, advocating for your child and navigating birth family search. Parents whose children participate in the mentorship program are automatically enrolled. If your child is between the ages of 11 and 18 but is not participating in the program, you are welcome to join us.