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Russia Jul 2014

Aug 22, 2014 by Putnam/Harnitchek

A life changing event. Not only did this trip bring the original adoption journey "to life" for our daughter, but it finally transferred the adoption story from us to her. She now owns her adoption story….it’s her's to tell. Also, traveling with the other kids gave an emotional cushion of “kids like me” and provided a forum to talk to kids who “get it.” The Regional Birth Family visit was almost fairytale perfect in its execution and results for all of us. And, finally, it gave me the wonderful opportunity to make the journey again. I couldn’t ask for more. Thank you for your time, dedication, and overall commitment to making a difference in the lives of others. We can’t thank you enough for an overall perfect trip. Sarah G. and Sami W., you were friendly, helpful, funny, compassionate, patient, and added so much to our trip of a lifetime! Thanks! Mark, Betty, and Staci

Romanian Ties 2014

Aug 21, 2014 by Victoria

Thank you to Pat and all you Colleagues of hers; that made this Romanian Ties program 2014 such a successful and memorable trip! Couldn't of been so great if it weren't for all of you taking time to set things up and put things into place and all the hard work you all did. Best trip of my entire life! One of the most special moments in my life! Thank you all! -- (age 20- Milwaukee, WI)

Trip of a Lifetime

Aug 20, 2014 by Ann Palen

We thoroughly enjoyed our Russian Ties trip this summer. My adopted son has been wanting to return to Russia and meet his birthmother for a very long time. Travelling to Russia is more than I would undertake on my own – the logistics, the language and customs, and the emotional side of traveling to a country so important to the family.
The group activity in Moscow and later in Saint Petersburg were just right at 3-4 days to see all the main sites and sights of the rich rich culture and history. Our time in Murmansk region was very special. Our driver and interpreter drove us in the back roads of the area searching for our important locations and people. We were so blessed (I still can’t believe it but my son is blessed and lucky) that we reunited with his birthmother and became acquainted and are continuing the relationship on and facebook. Mikhail, Alexander and Lena were fabulous helping us to solve this mystery!
It really was the trip of a lifetime for my family, thank you Sarah and Sami and the whole US and Russian team!

Russian Ties 2014

Aug 18, 2014 by Mike and Sarah McCarthy

Our family recently experienced the TIES Russia program and I feel compelled to write you and share with you some thoughts regarding our experience. Let me begin by saying that the trip far exceeded our expectations in every way. The logistics and amenities were outstanding. But more importantly, the personal support to families was phenomenal.

I want to specifically highlight the work of Sarah G. and Sami W. Sarah was both an outstanding tour guide and a very good resource to adoptive parents. She acknowledge the fact that she is not a parent yet she served as an excellent "sounding board" to parents. She demonstrated a high level of understanding and maturity through her thoughtful approach to questions and concerns. Sarah was very organized with regard to the logistics of the trip. Each detail was carefully orchestrated and well planned.

I can't say enough about the work of Sami W. Her knowledge and understanding of the needs and nuances of adoptive families was invaluable to our experience. Sami brought a natural yet professional demeanor to the families and provided outstanding support and guidance to families. She helped to guide the emotion of the experience into a very constructive experience full of reflection and thoughtful meaning. It was evident that Sami is passionate about her work and this was clearly demonstrated by her caring support provided to families. She was simply outstanding.

Our family is grateful and thankful to TIES and specifically to Sarah G. and Sami W. for making the trip an experience of a lifetime. Thank you.

China - summer 2014

Aug 16, 2014 by Patrick

We traveled to China with China Ties this summer and were quite pleased. A friend of mine had recommended them for their ability to customize a homeland journey, and for the relatively small size of the travel groups. We are adventurous travelers and definitely could have made the trip on our own, but having someone else in charge of almost everything allowed us really to focus on the experience of being in China while we were there. And the experience was fantastic! The local guides in Beijing, Xian, Guilin, and Chengdu were excellent, and the sights and sounds and emotions of the trip will reverberate in our memories for many years to come.

Russian TIES 2014

Aug 10, 2014 by Barb Stellwagen

When we went to Russia to adopt our 2 boys 7 years ago, we were SO focused on the adoption process that we didn't have the time or the energy to appreciate the country or the culture of our children's birthplace. The TIES program had everything well planned on our trip and it was SO nice to explore Russia and just be tourists in Moscow & St. Petersburg! The hotel in Moscow was so close to Red Square that we could walk there when we had free time. We loved walking through the lovely pedestrian street and just exploring Red Square and the surrounding area on our own. In Murmansk, it was amazing to reconnect with our boys' siblings! They were able to show us all of the places that were important to our boys, even the "big rock" that the boys remember playing on as young children! Our boys' faces lit up as they explored their old neighborhood & realized that their memories weren't just dreams after all! It was fantastic for our boys to be able to share their home country and their Russian family with their American family. We knew that the trip would be good for the boys, but we had no idea how great it would be for our whole family! Honestly, I wasn't looking forward to the "Connect & Chat" times that the TIES program staff facilitated with all of the families in our group. I felt I wouldn't really be interested in sharing my personal feelings with people whom I'd just met, but I couldn't have been more wrong. Especially after the regional trip to Murmansk, I found that I needed the time to share with people who uniquely understood my feelings. The TIES staff were excellent at helping us interact in meaningful ways and they were a great support as we returned from a very intense and very emotional time in our boys' hometown! Thanks SO MUCH to the TIES program, especially Sarah and Sami for organizing and facilitating the trip for us! This will forever be an INCREDIBLY special time in the life of our family &, while in some ways it feels like a completion of our adoption journey, in other ways it feels like the beginning of our journey as a Russian/American family...integrating our 2 families from across the globe! THANK SO MUCH for making this an unforgettable trip for all of us!!!

China Ties 2014

Aug 08, 2014 by Kathy Apple

I cannot express how great our China Ties trip was. Our adoption specialists were very in tune with our daughter and the rest of our family; our guides were incredible; and we dearly loved everyone that we traveled with. The trip went very smoothly with everything being well thought-out and executed. Our daughter’s favorite part of the trip was our orphanage visit. She was touched that people there who cared for her still cared about her. She was able to meet two of her four nannies and the doctor who took care of her. When we went to her finding place one of her nannies came with us and she was right at our daughter’s side holding her arm and caring for her as she saw the place for the first time that could bring lots of emotion. It was great seeing all of the adoptees interact and a little sisterhood emerge. Another highlight was going to CCCWA and seeing our daughter’s adoption file. We were only the second group to ever be able to do this. We loved the Talk Times of learning and sharing with other families. Even though our daughter does not share much, the Talk Times meant a lot to her. I think a perfect summary of our trip would be that I have seen a peace fall over our daughter’s spirit that has not been there before.

Response: Kathy, I especially like the last statement--\"I have seen a peace fall over our daughter\'s spirit that has not been there before.\" Really lovely wording.

Ties families traditionally stop at CCCWA where the children are welcomed by officials and various hands-on cultural activities are offered. We are greatly appreciative when CCCWA staff are able to arrange for families to review their child\'s archived file.

Russian Ties 2014

Aug 06, 2014 by Colette Prohofsky

Our daughter had consistantly expressed interest in her origins over the years, and a trip to Russia with Ties seemed like it would be a good way to reintroduce her to the country where she was born. It was so much better than we even imagined! Experiencing Russia with kids her age who "get" being adopted was a priceless gift to her. We had a great time getting to know the parents as well, and Larilyn and Amy from Ties were wonderful helpers and hosts. If you are thinking about birth country travel I highly recommend a group experience with Ties.

Russian Ties, 2014

Aug 05, 2014 by Patricia Kurth

I adopted my son from Russia fifteen years ago and had always felt that someday we would go back, but I could never figure out how. I researched translators and drivers and found it so overwhelming that I just gave up on that dream. Then one day, about a year ago, a friend provided a link to Russian Ties. I couldn’t believe it. It looked like everything I needed and more. We talked to Sarah at Ties and signed up immediately. We traveled in June/July, 2014. We met families who were so kind to us, and my son instantly connected with the other kids. That turned out to be so important to him. Our every need was met and often anticipated before we even knew it. Our accommodations couldn’t have been nicer, and we saw everything we possibly could in our two week trip. The Ties staff facilitated a meeting with my son’s birth family that was smooth and warm and the highlight of our trip. He is planning on returning, and I am confident that he will continue to reconnect with his homeland for many years. What a huge gift for him!

Thank you so much, Larilyn, Amy, and Sarah. I know it’s been said a million times, but this truly was the trip of a lifetime, for both of us. I highly recommend it.

Russian Ties 2014

Aug 03, 2014 by Cill & Bob Richards

We had been wanting to return to Russia with our two sons for a long time, but could never really figure out how to do it. After finding the Ties website and investigating the possibilities we knew we had found what we were looking for. The amount of planning and support for this trip was amazing, much more than we could have ever hoped to do ourselves. The biggest bonus, and one that we did not anticipate, was the opportunity to travel with other adopted kids and their families. This was probably the biggest highlight of our trip. Our two boys bonded almost instantly with the other kids. Together they formed an instant support group that both boys turned to constantly during the trip. The able guidance that Amy gave this group made all the difference. She was always there for the kids, and always supportive. Truly amazing! As a result, a very emotional trip became a source of growth and learning on many levels. We loved the tours and excursions around Moscow and St. Petersburg. They enhanced our understanding of Russian culture and history and deepened our appreciation of the Russian people. The trips to the Baby Home and Baby Hospital that our sons came from were truly wonderful experiences. Our boys really had a chance to reconnect to a part of their past that had previously been inaccessible to them. It meant a great deal to all of us. Many thanks to all of you at Russian ties, but especially to Larilyn, Amy and Sarah who did so much to make this once in a lifetime experience come together for us.

Adoptive Family Travel by The Ties Program 414 774-1080 Wauwatosa WI, 53222 USA 5.0 5.0 44 44 A life changing event. Not only did this trip bring the original adoption journey "to life" for our daughter, but it finally transferred the adoption story from us to her. She n