Created by transracially adopted person, April Dinwoodie, AdoptMent (adoption+mentoring) is a specialized mentoring program where adults who have been adopted and/or spent time in foster care mentor young people who have been adopted or have a plan for adoption. April’s vision was to create a fun, nurturing and safe space to inspire connections via shared life experiences. The mission of AdoptMent is to provide young people with an enriching mentoring experience that offers a unique layer of support, advocacy, and guidance from caring mentors who have personal connections with adoption and/or foster care. AdoptMent focuses on encouraging personal development, healthy identity, cultural awareness, and relationship building. Creative, thoughtful, and engaging programming coupled with mutual validation of feelings and experiences, helps to manifest meaningful, long-lasting relationships for the mentee/mentor matches and the group overall. Currently, AdoptMent is in partnership with New Alternatives for Children and Mentoring USA.
Learn more about this special mentoring program from our amazing mentors and mentees.
Be inspired by the images of the very first AdoptMent family of mentors and mentees.
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Learn more about AdoptMent as seen on Good Morning America.
Learn more about AdoptMent and it’s creator as part of Tomorrow’s Newsmakers.
We recruit foster/adopted youth from New York City’s foster care agencies and adoption programs. Youth must be between the ages of 14-17 years old and either be: 1) adopted or 2) on the path towards adoption. Youth must also be able to travel alone to the group sessions.
Steps to Become a Mentee:
- A referral is made to the program, often by a caseworker. For more information about making a referral, contact April Dinwoodie, email@example.com.
- AdoptMent will review referral information and respond to the referral source in a timely manner to confirm youth’s enrollment in the program and gather more information. **If the program is at capacity or there is not available mentor, the youth may be put on a waitlist.
- The youth will then be matched with a mentor and will be provided with a program calendar. This calendar will also be shared with the caseworker/socio therapist and the caregiver.
- Once matched with a mentor, youth will be invited to the first session where he/she will meet their mentor and the rest of the participants.
Mentors are either recruited through Mentoring USA (MUSA) or through AdoptMent’s own outreach. We recruit dedicated and caring mentors who have been adopted and/or spent time in foster care. AdoptMent mentors are responsible, flexible, mature adults who have the ability to commit to the program for a minimum of one year. Anyone interested in becoming a mentor will be invited to meet with the program leaders and/or a current mentor before being matched with a mentee. Mentors may also have the opportunity to observe a session to ensure his/her compatibility with the program.
Steps to Become a Mentor: If mentors are recruited by MUSA, they may follow the steps below. If mentors are recruited directly by AdoptMent, they may begin with Step 2 and will need to connect with the AdoptMent program specialist and a current mentor before filling out MUSA application.
- MUSA Application: Fill out the application online (see MUSA’s site here)
- a) MUSA notifies and connects potential mentors to AdoptMent staff.
b) AdoptMent staff connects directly with potential mentors, describes the program, the expectations, and interviews the potential mentors to assess if they are the right fit for the program. The new mentors will then be introduced to MUSA’s program manager, who will walk them through the application, screening, and training processes**.
- MUSA will schedule the potential mentors for training. Training lasts about 2 hours and will cover general mentoring practices. MUSA will also direct the mentor to go though a criminal background check, which can take 1-3 days to process.
- The mentors must also get fingerprinted and screened for child abuse/neglect through the DOE. This can take one week to be processed.
- During the screening process the potential mentors will be connected to current AdopMent mentors who can answer any questions about the program and their experience.
- Once accepted, and mentors have completed the screening processes, they will have the opportunity to observe a session (if sessions have begun) to aide in their decision-making process.
- Once new mentors have been confirmed, they must attend an AdoptMent Orientation where they learn more about the program, their role as a mentor, and a general overview of the child welfare system. This takes about 2 hours.
- Mentors are matched with mentees and attend their first session together.
**Realistic time to get application and fingerprints done is 3 – 4 weeks but much of it depends on the applicant and scheduling.
This process may seem complicated and daunting, but each mentor will be walked through it and there will be open communication throughout. If there are any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to April Dinwoodie, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mentor Orientation & On-going Training
At the beginning of the year, new mentors will be required to attend a preliminary AdoptMent Orientation specific to mentors. This orientation lasts about 2-3 hours and will cover topics related to:
- Understanding the child welfare system
- Role and expectations of a mentor
- Cultural Awareness
- Adoption related issues
- Healthy Identity Development
- How to talk to young people about tough stuff
**Any mentors that enter the program later in year will be able to meet with AdoptMent staff to get one-on-one orientation.
During the first year of mentoring, new mentors participate in ongoing training and support sessions held once per month immediately after a group meeting. These sessions last an hour and offer the opportunity to process the group dynamics with a trained facilitator as well as learn information and skills that help to maximize the mentors’ relationships with and support of their mentees. The mentors’ needs determine which topics are covered; these topics include but aren’t limited to:
- Checking in and processing with mentors
- Gang involvement
- Effects of child abuse and neglect
- Separation and Loss
- Identity Development
- Substance use
- Exploration of Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity