Are you happy with the journey you took with The Ties Program? Have you enjoyed a workshop we have done? If yes, then please let us know. That will be our greatest reward. For us, the value of your review means more than anything else. We will preserve your comments and always look at them as our greatest motivation for providing you even better services in future.
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Romanian Ties 7/26-8/6/2014
One of the best trips of our lives! Between Pat Hallada (who organized and lead our group of 22) to our wonderful Tour Guide, Victoria, we saw, experienced and shared so much over 12 days. Our group (from around the USA) were all friendly and interesting. Our children, who shared this profound and meaningful journey, forged a deep bond with one another. Highly recommend "The Ties Program" for their conscientiousness, thoroughness and careful thought in putting this program together. This will be an experience we will not soon forget.
China Ties July 2-16, 2014
"I have to admit that I was uncertain what to expect with this trip and that my wife and I were doing this exclusively for our 16 year old daughter who had not been back to China since we adopted her at 20 months of age. My hope was that I would have a speaking engagement that would allow us to return to Beijing but as that never occurred, China Ties appeared to be a very good alternative. Thank God for China Ties! It was outstanding experience. Between the very knowledgeable tour guides, the experienced and very people-friendly China Ties staff our experience was nothing short of phenomenal. We were able to travel - via experienced drivers - to six different cities/provinces and truly experience Chinese culture and customs. The girls ranged from 9 -18 and they were able to take classes in cooking, calligraphy, kite-making, and painting and all 12 families were able to experience touring a silk factory, explore an incredible cave, take a wonderful cruise down the Li river, take a bike ride around the city of Xi'an, and visit the Great Wall, Tianamon Square, and the Terrakota Warriors. The highlight, however, was being able to reunite our daughter with her foster mom - who China Ties arranged to come on a 12 hour train ride to meet us at her original orphanage. It was a very tearful reunion and my daughter - who had a tremendous experience - thought this was by far the highlight of the trip. China Ties even arranged for us to see our daughter's adoption file when we were in Beijing and I think that brought an element of closure to everyone who came. It was an amazing trip and I would recommend it to anyone who truly wants their daughter to have the ultimate experience when the decision is made for them to visit their homeland."
China Ties Lite July 2014
"My husband and I and our 19-year-old daughter travelled to China with the China Ties Lite Program this past July 2014. It was the trip of a lifetime and truly was a life-changing event for all three of us! 18 years after we adopted our daughter, she was able to meet her foster mother and others that worked at Mother’s Love Orphanage at the time she was there. It was heart-warming for her to hear the information they remembered about her.
We spent time in Beijing, Nanning and Chengdu. The China Ties Program did a great job planning activities and sightseeing opportunities for our group. The guides that were arranged for us in Nanning and Chengdu were such a positive part of our experience. Spending this time in China 18 years later has opened a whole new world for us. It was important for us to share this trip with a group of similar families. We have a whole new group of friends and are already talking about a reunion next summer!"
Russia Jul 2014
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
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
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 vk.com 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
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
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
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
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.