Adopted Teen Empowerment and Mentoring (ATEAM Program)
The Adopted Teen Empowerment & Mentoring Program (ATEAM) is a statewide post-adoption service program designed for adopted teens in 6th—12th grades. The ATEAM provides teen participants with an opportunity for mutual support and self-expression through group interactions with other adopted teens and is hosted monthly by both public and private colleges and youth facilities across the state of Georgia. ATEAM support meetings are held one Saturday each month and are generally from 9:30 am – 4:30 pm with one-weekend leadership retreat planned each year.
Adoption adds to the complexity of adolescent development and adopted teenagers may need extra support in dealing with certain adoption issues. For those who were adopted at an older age from the foster care system, this type of supportive environment may be helpful. In most cases, even when teens appear happy and well- adjusted in their adoptive families, they may still be dealing with the effects of their early life experience.
With the help of adult mentors, ATEAM participants strive to understand the unique aspects of adoption and are encouraged to express their concerns openly in a safe environment. For many participants, this type of peer support group is their first opportunity to interact with others who were adopted and to see that their experiences and feelings related to adoption are normal. By hearing how others have coped with their feelings, participants can oftentimes inspire other adopted teens to work through their own issues and learn to grow in self-acceptance and self-respect.
In addition, the ATEAM offers parent support, educational resources, training materials and respite opportunities for adoptive parents. This program is designed to offer this special population the additional support they sometimes need, in order to help them forge even stronger family attachments and enhance their future relationships.
Eligibility: Eligible teen participants are those who are currently receiving Adoption Assistance funds and/or that have been in the custody of a state agency and are either in an adoptive placement or a finalized adoption. The ATEAM welcomes adopted teens that will benefit from becoming part of a supportive group where there is mutual respect, and participants demonstrate an acceptance of others in a group setting. This may not be well suited for teens that may experience difficulties interacting within a large group setting.
Pre-registration is required for all participants, as space is limited at each host site.