Workshops for Your Camp or Event


Are you hosting a culture camp, conference or event? Looking for a GREAT speaker, with a MEANINGFUL topic? The Ties Program proudly offers the following topics. If you are interested in a speaker for your event, please contact The Ties Program or use our Speaker Request Form.

To see where we are speaking next, click here. 

Here are a few of the topics we present.

Please note any of our topics can be presented with a country or region focus.

____TWEENS & TEENS: WHAT I WOULD TELL YOU IF I COULD FIND THE WORDS If you are raising a tween or teen, have raised one, or will raise one, chances are they are holding back on their thoughts.  It’s what my daughter calls “restricted information.” “Why is it restricted?” I ask, holding on to her every word, listening for clues for what is on HER mind, despite the fact that via my professional work, I’ve got a pretty good clue. “Because I don’t want to hurt you, or make you feel bad about stuff,” she replies. “But what stuff?” I ask. “You know Mom, just stuff.”

So what’s the stuff? What are tweens and teens pondering in the corners of their minds? The answer: questions and thoughts related to:

1. Fitting in
2. Their relationship with their adoptive family & adoptee loyalty
3. Feelings related to their birth family and birth country
4. And the double whammy—things that combine both birth and adoptive family
5. Understanding background, a.k.a. Life History
6. Poverty in birth country
7. Why? Why? Why? (to a million things)
8. Abandonment issues, insecurities, and control
9. Self-worth & guilt
10. Hope

This workshop will take a look at concrete questions & thoughts that MAY be going through your child’s mind, or MAY be soon. In this very interactive workshop, you will hear and experience the thoughts of international adoptees….the “restricted information” shared openly and honestly by adoptees themselves. It will provide insight to help you create a strategy that will strengthen your relationship with your child.

*Important note: We’ve quickly learned the title of the workshop has a flaw. The issue is this…the things we’re discussing are not exclusive to teens and tweens. The reality is that “kids” across the ages—little ones and fully grown ones are holding in many of the same thoughts. That’s because it’s not so much about age as it is about the entire life experience of an international adoptee. Different things occur to “kids” at a different ages, and their exposure to information is tangled in the web of online information and social media. So, we extend a warm welcome to all parents of international adoptees. 

Click here to find a venue to attend this workshop. 

If you would like this workshop (or any other) presented in your area, please let us know. 

____BIRTH COUNTRY TRAVEL–A JOURNEY BACK—A JOURNEY FORWARD—THE BIG PICTURE. A heritage journey is one of the most significant factors in the identity building process of internationally adopted children. So, what’s the journey all about? What age is the best age? How can families prepare? What role does “adoptee loyalty” play in the journey? What are the pros and cons of group vs individual travel? What adoption exploration is possible in country? How do the kids react before, during and after the trip? This workshop will address the top questions asked by families considering birth country travel.

____ 23 THINGS KIDS WANT YOU TO KNOW ABOUT BIRTH COUNTRY TRAVEL (Ok, so maybe a few more than 23!) Parents have lots of great questions about what is on the minds of kids as they approach traveling to their birth country, as they actually travel, and how they process the experience afterwards. In this very interactive workshop, you will hear and experience the thoughts of international adoptees in their own words. This is also a great workshop for adoptees, who often have difficulty thinking about birth country travel in real terms. Through the voices of their peers, adoptees can experience reassurance and readiness.

____EXPLORING MY BIRTH COUNTRY–DISCOVERING ME People ask “Why is it important to go back to my child’s country of birth?” While some adoptees may not want to visit their birth country, others do and would gain much from such a journey. This workshop will explore how going back to one’s country of birth can help find answers, create a sense of connectedness to people that share a common heritage, help build identity, and more. It will also provide things to think about when planning a trip to your child’s country of birth. The presenter will share stories and insights from her personal experience, as well as knowledge gained while escorting adoptive family heritage journeys around the world.

____FROM LIFEBOOKS TO FACEBOOK–TRAVELING THRU MYSPACE With increasing frequency, families formed through international adoption are returning to visit the country where their child was born, an experience that builds family bonds and nurtures identity. This workshop looks at the five factors of a homeland journey that help a child build a strong sense of identity as they work toward finding a comfortable and meaningful “self.”

____BIRTH FAMILY: TO SEARCH OR NOT TO SEARCH? TO FIND OR NOT TO FIND? Those are questions with VERY big answers. International birth family search is a hot topic. What are the logistical pieces of how to go about doing a search? Is this something you and your child WANT to do? Is the timing good? What are the goals? What if you seek and find? What are the short and long term implications? What if there is NO finding? Where does that leave you and your child emotionally? This workshop will look at these factors and allow for lots of interactive conversation.

____HOMELAND TRAVEL: BENEFITS AND COMPLEXITIES (Taking off the rose colored glasses!) The benefits of birth country travel are straightforward and universal. The topic is beaming with positive aspects: Identity Building, Pride, Belonging, Validation, Answering Why? and the “Settling Effect.” But journeys as emotionally charged as this one come with challenging aspects families need to consider. This workshop will discuss the benefits as well as the challenges.