NEW YORK, NY: On August 15, Spence-Chapin Services to Families and Children launched a Back to Community campaign to highlight its new and returning programs for the adoption community, which coincide with the return to school in September. Many of these programs will be offered in person for the first time since the start of the pandemic, and there are several new offerings as well.
Finding a community of peers can often be a challenge for adoptees and individuals connected to adoption but can be a critical component of healthy identity formation and confidence building, particularly for children and young adults. Especially as young people are dealing with isolation and loneliness in record numbers, with clinically elevated adolescent depression and anxiety at 25.2% and 20.5% respectively in a recent study, connection to a community of peers is even more vital.
“Coming to our community programming exposes adoptees to other adoptees and makes them more confident in their own identities. It helps build community and is a vital way to experience that sense of belonging,” explains Gladys Ramos, LMSW, a Spence-Chapin Counselor.
Programs that are being highlighted during the Back to Community campaign include two children’s playgroups, Bagels & Blox (ages 0-5) and Play Café (ages 6-9), which will return to gathering in person on Saturdays and provide a space for young adoptees and their parents to meet other adoptive families, have fun, and make new connections. The groups are overseen by experienced Spence-Chapin staff and counselors who can answers questions or address concerns that families may have. For adolescents, Spence-Chapin offers a Teen Mentorship Program (ages 13-18) and a new Junior Mentorship Program (ages 10-12) where adoptees meet for monthly group outings with adult adoptee Mentors, make new friends, and have meaningful discussions with other adoptees about their life experiences.
Both children’s playgroups and Mentorship Program registration includes access to Spence-Chapin parent group, where parents come together to discuss issues around adoption and parenting with other parents and with Spence-Chapin counselors and staff.
Spence-Chapin‘s Voices of Adoption, which was launched in 2019, is a space for adult adoptees to come together to share in an open space with other adoptees. When the pandemic struck, Spence-Chapin transitioned this to a virtual format, and it has since attracted global participation. This Fall, Spence-Chapin is launching a Teen Voices of Adoption that creates the same safe and open space, but for teens ages 13-17.
In addition to the community programs, Spence-Chapin’s podcast, Adoption Talk by Spence-Chapin, will feature three special episodes in August featuring topics central to the adoption community and returning to school, including the importance of community programming for healthy child development.
To learn more about Spence-Chapin’s community programming for adoptive families, visit https://spence-chapin.org/community-programming. To listen to Adoption Talk, go to https://spence-chapin.org/podcast or subscribe on Spotify, Stitcher, or Apple Podcasts.
 Racine N, McArthur BA, Cooke JE, Eirich R, Zhu J, Madigan S. Global Prevalence of Depressive and Anxiety Symptoms in Children and Adolescents During COVID-19: A Meta-analysis. JAMA Pediatr. 2021;175(11):1142–1150. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2021.2482
Spence-Chapin has been offering exceptional adoption and family services for more than 100 years. Its mission is to help find loving families for children whatever their needs or circumstances and provide counseling and lifelong support for all children and families to whom they have been born or entrusted. Spence-Chapin’s roots date back to the early 1900s with the pioneering work of Ms. Clara Spence and Dr. and Mrs. Henry Chapin, who established nurseries for infants abandoned on the streets of New York City, led humanitarian efforts, and created families through adoption. Spence-Chapin has since expanded to include other comprehensive support programs. The organization’s award-winning efforts have served more than 25,000 women, children, and families through domestic, international and special needs adoption, post-adoption support, and humanitarian aid programs such as the Granny Program. Learn more at www.spence-chapin.org.