Adoptees shouldn’t have to walk the road alone. So, I made this space for us.
Stay connected all year long!
During a time when isolation has taken its toll on our communities, my hope is that adoptees would continue to have a chance like this to know they’re not alone and receive gentle guidance for needs related to adoption.
12 Sessions Weekly on Zoom – Wednesdays 4pm-4:45pm central (2pm-2:45pm pacific, 5-5:45pm eastern): 9/21, 9/28, 10/5, 10/12, 10/19, 10/26, 11/2, 11/9, 11/16, 11/30, 12/7, 12/14.
To preserve our small-group atmosphere space is limited to 20 teens.
These days it’s hard to get teen adoptees connected in spaces built for them. Either access in your area is limited (or doesn’t exist) or they just might not be interested in these conversations yet.
This fall through our virtual adoptee group, teens will find a refreshing, invitational environment in which they’re free to ask questions, listen to others, and enjoy meeting new peers who share this connection point in our experience of adoption.
Eliminate travel time and connect from the comfort of your own home!
We’ll have fun through icebreakers, games, social connection, sprinkled with teen-friendly conversations about adoption and mental health. They’ll learn/review basic terms and ideas, and rehearse skills they can apply beyond our time together to navigate adoption-related themes with family, friends, peers, and community members.
Most of all, they’ll see hope and new possibilities in one another.
This is a place where their voice counts, and they get to practice using it in a context designed with their unique stories in mind.
What an honor and thrill it is to be able to offer this kind of space for adoptees.
I can’t wait to work together with you and your family this next season!!
Includes tailor-made resources & materials based on the personalized needs of group members as we journey together throughout the fall season.
Hosted by trans-racial international adoptee and therapist Cam Lee Small, MS, LPCC
WHY: Your teens are already thinking about these dimensions of their lived experience. Right now they need a warm, inviting and adoptee-centered space to a) know they’re not alone and b) receive gentle guidance and encouragement throughout this season of their development (Riley and Meeks, 2006). Please also see Kelsey Blackwell’s writings regarding the importance of spaces dedicated to BIPOC individuals.
WHAT: Weekly themes – adoption story, birth family and birth culture, identity, belonging, race and ethnicity, how to handle racism and microaggressions, family and social relationships, self reflection, emotion regulation, exploring personal strengths and interests, independent living skills, perspective taking ability, communication patterns, and general awareness around mental, emotional and behavioral health.
HOW: There will be overlap in our topics from week to week, but each week will have one general theme that we explore together based on the themes list, and teen adoptees will be given space to reflect and connect based on a fun and semi-structured prompt/dialogue facilitated by Cam.
OUTCOMES: We want adoptees to feel included, to know there are others who share their experience, and we also want to cheer for them as they discover their own voices and participate uniquely and meaningfully in the world around them. This space is for them, and it’s amazing when I see their faces light up when they experience that for themselves, and leave the meeting feeling uplifted and equipped.
How cool it would have been to have something like that when I was a teen! By God’s grace I’m here to offer it now, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to help facilitate that process in your family’s story this next season.
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“If you could go back in time and advise your parents, what message would you want them to hear?” Another question I addressed at a recent adult adoptee Q&A panel.
A few ideas came to mind. A main one was an encouragement for them to connect me with other adoptees.
Even if everything seemed to be “just fine,” the experience of a relationship with others who might have shared my experience as a trans-racial adoptee would have benefited me significantly.
Growing up with white parents, in a predominately white town, without the daily ongoing micro-affirmations that most folks take for granted… I had no language to articulate what was going on internally or all around me.
I actually never knew what I was missing until a friend invited me to work at a Korean adoptee camp one summer. There was a kind of comfort and belonging there I’d never experienced before.
I went back the next summer. And the next. Too many adoptees were finding joy and connection and I couldn’t help but go back and cheer for them again and again.
Six summers later I was offered a position as camp director for Holt International.
In all these settings, I’ve seen and felt first hand how incredibly refreshing and nourishing these communities are for adoptees. It’s hard to believe I made it out of my childhood without them.
By God’s grace I did, and somehow here I am offering another season of the adoptee group for teens through Therapy Redeemed.
Virtually of course! 🙂 I know these days many of us might feel a bit limited in what we might be able to access due to COVID restrictions. My thought is that being able to offer this online (at least for now), more adoptees could access the experience where time and distance may have otherwise prevented them from attending.
Teen adoptees will also be guided together through Cam’s This is Why I Was Adopted Workbook (digital copy included with tuition!)
In-person camp would be awesome at some point, and one step at a time 🙂
Message Cam with any questions firstname.lastname@example.org
Who: Teen adoptees, Ages 14-17
We’ll gather weekly and virtually on Zoom.
Wednesdays 4pm-4:45pm central (2pm-2:45pm pacific, 5-5:45pm eastern): 9/21, 9/28, 10/5, 10/12, 10/19, 10/26, 11/2, 11/9, 11/16, 11/30, 12/7, 12/14.
Didactic and experiential curriculum in which adoptees explore various topics related to the adoption narrative. The group will meet with Cam as facilitator. ALTHOUGH THIS IS NOT GROUP THERAPY, our agenda includes activities to promote outcomes such as: cognitive-behavioral development, identity, improved relationships, peer support regarding adoption, increased interpersonal awareness, and practicing coping strategies related to racism, anxiety, adjustment and other social dynamics.
Technical Details & Rationale for the Community:
Teen adoptees typically desire connection & relationships the same as their non-adopted peers. In addition, when friends, teachers, or even other family members ask curious questions about their adoption story, adoptees can sometimes experience: Fear of rejection, Embarrassment, Discomfort, Distrust, Avoidance, Sadness, Anxiety, Loss.
Such stressors in relationships might contribute to a variety of maladaptive interpersonal styles and patterns of emotional disconnection. The Campfire Community for Teen Adoptees will be facilitated by adult adoptee and therapist Cam Lee Small who will lead teens through a fun and exciting sequence of games/activities, education, group membership and interpersonal exploration. Adoptees will get to share their narratives and learn about adoption-related terms and themes, as well as various tools and resources to help them navigate their personal journey through adoption.
For adoptees, navigating identities can be a complex journey. Adoptee, daughter, son, brother, sister, sibling, friend, peer, student, ethnicity, race, gender, spirituality, ability, age, and so on. It can be difficult to find a place to explore, try on, and adjust to all those, especially in the midst of everything that’s happened in the past year. Cam is thrilled to make that space come to life here in this setting.
Community Themes Include:
You’re not Alone: affirmation from meeting others who share the transracial adoption narrative; shared experience and mutual understanding.
Let’s try that again here and now: explore and experience adoption-related interactions in meaningful and satisfying ways, to counter unhelpful ways they’ve experienced them in the past.
Socialization: learn how to navigate relationships in various settings with higher self esteem, along with heightened awareness of options for decision-making and empowerment.
Role Modeling: try on strengths from each others’ way of being. Guidance from Cam through topics such as race, current events, birth family, and other adoption-related themes.
Interpersonal Learning: receive group validation about adoption and interact with others in a brave space.
Group as Social Microcosm: identify how challenges and patterns in other relationships might show up “in here.”
Corrective Emotional Experience: gain increased flexibility around emotional experiences from the past and present.
Cohesiveness: feel acceptance and unconditional positive regard from other group members.
Catharsis: express emotions related to adoption in a regulated space with Cam and the group.
Existential Factors: co-create healthy and authentic meanings together regarding the adoption experience.
Guided themes will include storytelling, acceptance, connection, trust, loyalty, and exploration of thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and relationships.
ALTHOUGH THIS IS NOT GROUP THERAPY, the psychological model for Campfire Community for Teen Adoptees integrates language and concepts related to interpersonal process (Teyber, 2011; Yalom, 2005), identity development (Phinney, 1989), models for racial and ethnic identity (Quintana, 2007), and cultural socialization related to transracial adoption (Lee, 2003). Terms such as identity exploration and achievement will be adapted to acknowledge an individual’s clear and secure acceptance of one’s own identity as an adoptee. As members get to share pieces of their story with the group, we will explore past and present emotions, interpersonal feedback, stages of group development, and issues related to adoption such as race, ethnicity, family, and community.
The 12-week group curriculum also follows along with Cam’s workbook This Is Why I Was Adopted.
Lee, Richard M. 2003. “The Transracial Adoption Paradox: History, Research, and Counseling Implications of Cultural Socialization.” The Counseling Psychiatrist 31(6): 711-744.
Phinney, J. (1989). Stages of ethnic identity development in minority group adolescents. Journal of Early Adolescence, 9, 34–49.
Quintana, S. M. (2007). Racial and ethnic identity: Developmental perspectives and research. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 54(3) 259-270.
Riley, D., & Meeks, J. (2005). Beneath the Mask: Understanding Adopted Teens. C.A.S.E. Publications.
Teyber, E. (2011). Interpersonal process in psychotherapy: An integrative model (6th ed.). Brooks/Cole: Pacific Grove, CA.
Yalom, Irvin D., Leszcz, Molyn. (2005) The theory and practice of group psychotherapy (5th ed.). New York: Basic Books.