AdoptMent (Adoption Mentoring) is a specialized mentoring program that brings foster and adopted youth together with adult mentors who have had similar experiences. Adults who have personal connections with adoption and/or foster care mentor youth who have either been adopted, are on the road to adoption, and/or feel ambivalent about adoption. AdoptMent creates a safe space for mentees and mentors to share feelings, thoughts, and questions surrounding adoption as well as to enjoy activities that focus on personal development, identity, independence, personal skill building, and having fun. Our ultimate goal is to provide adopted youth with a significant level of support in order to prevent adoption disruptions, help ambivalent youth to become open to adoption, and promote more permanent options for older youth. This enriching mentoring experience offers these young people a unique layer of support, advocacy, and guidance and the connection they build with their mentors is underlined with a mutual validation of feelings and experiences, which helps to create meaningful, long-lasting relationships.
The concept for AdoptMent was created by April Dinwoodie, FCFC co-founder and Vice President of the Board. After spending several months in foster care, April was transracially adopted by the Dinwoodie family. Even with her rock-solid family, April was always curious about her biological roots. When a search for her biological family did not initially yield a positive result, April channeled her disappointment into action. AdoptMent was April’s way of offering young people who are adopted or in foster care, the opportunity to have an adult mentor with a shared experience. In 2004, April was introduced to Barry Chaffkin (then Director of Foster Care and Adoption at Harlem Dowling and currently the CEO of FCFC) and Doris Laurenceau. Together they launched the first AdoptMent group at Harlem Dowling in partnership with Mentoring USA (MUSA). The rest is history! AdoptMent soon added another site at Hillside in Rochester, which ran for several years, and another at New Alternatives for Children in New York City, which is still running.