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Last year at this time,,October 2014, my daughter, Joy adopted from China 20 years ago, and I decided to go back to her homeland. We found \"Ties China July 2015\" and from the minute we signed up we knew we were in very organized and trusting hands.
We flew out of Traverse City, MI and did not need to think about one thing until we flew back to Traverse 18 days later.
Ties & their affliates in China literally took care of everything, we had not a worry.
Joy\'s visit to her orphanage in Nanjing could not have been more incredible as she met with her caretaker from birth until I adopted her.
Joy now has touched, felt & knows her homeland, what a gift she has received. And myself as well.
The entire trip, Ties Staff, China aflliates staff involved, other people on the tour were all spectacular........a trip of a life time. I only wish we could relive every moment of it.
joy & patricia thomas
Response: We believe it\'s important for us to take care of the details so families can focus on the messages of the journey. Thanks for sharing that you felt that way.
2015 Ties Trip to Russia
I would describe our recent trip to Russia, via the Ties Program, as ‘beautifully orchestrated’. This is an emotional and complicated trip to make, so traveling with the Ties Program allows families to enjoy and relax as they experience this complex journey. From planning, booking travel and delivery of an amazing trip – the Ties Staff were fantastic. Both Dr. Sami W. and Sara G. were very helpful and well versed in the Russian travel and culture. Dr. Sami has the amazing ability to connect and understand kids of all ages – she is the ultimate professional to have along in on this journey.
My 13-year-old daughter and I traveled without husband/dad, so having the benefit of the group structure provided a safe and comfortable environment. And although the group trip included many plans that were pre-scheduled, there was always the option to do whatever you might choose – so there was still flexibility. The group also demonstrated to our daughter that there are many wonderful children, just like her, who have been adopted from Russia.
Our visit to birth region (Kirov) was definitely the most amazing part of our trip. The region was peaceful and lovely, but more than that – the birth family we met were incredibly welcoming and amazed us with their kindness. We visited 2 baby houses and actually met one caregiver who definitely remembered our daughter and the caregiver was in tears when she hugged her. These moments were more than I expected and will be forever engraved in our memories. The story that I have been telling to our daughter for last twelve years – came to life.
This type of trip is one that is never forgotten, and fortunately we had a very positive experience and would recommend the Ties Program to others. We have joyfully relived many moments – especially those with amazing siblings who I never dreamed it would be possible to meet.
Response: Thank you so much Susan. I’m so glad that this journey could help illuminate your daughter’s story!
China Ties - Amazing in Every Way!
Our travels with China Ties were so well organized in every way. The schedule suited everyone, leaving options for those who wanted less or more. The restaurants were excellent and diverse (we all commented on this during the trip), and the staff provided for all sorts of dietary restrictions on top of this. Bea and Paula, and the guides, in essence, took care of everything, and not just travel logistics, but in finding us answers to questions on everything we needed (as well as things we really didn't "need”(!)), and really just madek the trip so relaxing and adventurous, and most of all FUN! The care and personal attention they took with each family and each family member was quite amazing, and we felt not just taken care of, but cared for.
The hotels were excellent — ranging from beautiful palatial locations to, in province where choices were more limited, very good. The in country travel arrangements were well done and scheduled in a way that took advantage of our time and where we were going — taking the bullet train from the South was an incredible trip and just gave us so much more to see in the ride and was a highlight!
We are ready to return and do this “trip of a lifetime” again. They made everything so easy, but also so very meaningful.
And best of all, it really was about creating ties, not just to each other during our travels, but for our family, in making ties to the country that brought us our daughter and so much joy. I think we all brought home a lifetime of memories and good feelings. Thank you, Bea, Paula, and everyone at the Ties Program and Tempoo Travel for these many gifts. We will carry these fine gifts for a lifetime!
Response: Thanks, Kathy. We\'d love to have you join us again for a \"trip of a lifetime!\"
Korean Ties Program
We were very impressed with the Korean Ties Program and our entire experience in South Korea. It was a "trip of a lifetime" for our family. We couldn't help but be impressed with the level of planning and coordination that went into this tour.
Not only were we thoroughly introduced to the history and culture of Korea, we also experienced many things which had a profoundly personal meaning to each of us. Right from the time we landed until we left we felt very comfortable with the entire group. Also, throughout the trip, all of our questions, concerns, and requests were handled with kindness and understanding by the friendly staff.
I would definitely recommend this tour!
Response: Thank you Kurt!
Russian Ties Program
We cannot say enough positive things about the Russian Ties program. My 82 year old father, my 17 year old son and I (Mom) traveled in July, 2015. While I had done my research prior to the trip and had high hopes for it, the trip exceeded my expectations. The coordination and organization of the trip were exemplary. Every detail was handled almost perfectly with a tremendous customer service focus. We were so warmly welcomed to Moscow by the Ties staff that we almost felt like family instantly. It was wonderful how the adults and children bonded with each other over the 13 days and how well everyone got along.
The accommodations in Moscow and St. Petersburg were great and the sight seeing experiences were amazing. While the accommodations in the birth regional part of the trip weren't quite so nice, it was the best the region had to offer. The tour of the birth region and the connections with the birth family, visit to the baby hospital and tour of the orphanage were extremely well done. My son rated the trip a "12" on a 10 point scale when a friend of mine recently asked him about the trip. He was extremely pleased with the experience and is thankful he had the opportunity to go back to his homeland and to meet his biological family. Going on this trip was one of the best decisions I have ever made and I will always be truly grateful for the incredible opportunity we all had.
Response: Thank you Diane! It was so wonderful traveling with your family as well!
Positive & Transformative Journey!
Our family went to China in July, 2015 with the Ties Program with our three children, ages 12, 9 and 7. Our middle child, the only girl, was adopted from China in 2006. Helping our daughter stay connected her origins has been a priority for us from the time she joined our family when she was 11 months old. Our decision to visit China with the Ties Program (rather than on our own or with a different group) is one of the best decisions as parents we have made. The experience was transformative for our daughter and for the family in terms of her growth and understanding of herself. She was entirely engaged in the journey from beginning to end and she returned to the U.S. with a fortified identity. The many positive encounters she had (whether that was with other adoptees on the trip, visiting the orphanage or interacting with the adult adoptee representing the Ties program) affirmed her connection to China, her understanding of herself as an adoptee and her overall well-being as a person who has a unique origin story. We are so pleased to have worked with the Ties Program and feel that the significant resources we dedicated to this trip (time and money) were very well utilized.
We did have some complaints – some of the hotels were not as nice as we expected given the cost of the trip and the food coordinated by the program was not noteworthy (which would be hard to do when feeding over 40 people at one time) but these issues were not the highest priorities for this trip. The Ties Program, especially their focus on the provincial visits, excels at prioritizing the most essential reason for making this kind of journey – to support our daughters in ways that we (as non-adopted parents) can never truly understand.
One final comment is that our family prepared for this journey is several significant ways in the year before the journey with the Ties Program. These efforts included participating in an adoption support group for parents & adoptees and reading several books that helped us (parents) more deeply understand what was at stake for our daughter.
20 Things Adopted Kids wish their Adoptive parents to knew by Sherrie Eldrige
Ghost of Sangju by Soojung Jo
Growing up Black in White by Kevin Hofmann
We highly recommend the Ties Program and look forward to maintaining our relationship with them in the future.
Response: Laura, thanks for your insightful comments. \'Fortified identities\' through birth country travel captures the essence of The Ties Program. We are thrilled your family felt supported on the journey, and appreciate hearing about areas where we can improve. The books you mention are great resources for others as they prepare to travel. Best wishes to your family as you continue to reflect on the messages of the journey.
China Ties 2015
My husband, two daugthers, and I traveled to China this past July via China Ties LIte. It was an amazing, yet emotional trip. Our days in Beijing were spent bonding, dining, and sight seeing with the other families in our group. Although my husband and I had previously experienced the wonders of China, we felt especially blessed to see it all again through our daughters' eyes. Bea, Scottie and Alice were a collective weatlh of infomation and a tremendous help in navigating our group to places of interest. Bea was flawless in facilitating our in-country flights and providing tour guides/translators/drivers within each daughter's province.
We were able to visit both daughters' orphanages, one in Wuhan, Hubei, the other in Zhanjiang, Guangdong where we spent time with our girls' former care takers. We also traveled to their "finding places," surely, a heartfelt memory we'll not soon forget.
Prior to flying home, our China travel culminated with a wonderful few days in Hong Kong. Throughout the entire trip, we felt secure in the knowledge that at every juncture, the capable China Ties staff was only a phone call away.
Response: Thanks, Deb. We were happy to coordinate the details of your family\'s journey, so you could enjoy seeing China through your daughters\' eyes!
China Ties Lite - Remembering a Trip of a Lifetime
My daughter and I traveled to China with the Ties program this summer. We had been waiting to take our homeland visit until I felt my daughter was ready. It was a great experience and I can't say enough about the attention to detail and expertise provided by the Ties staff. Our accommodations were nice and the various “in-country” excursions gave us a true taste of the culture. At each location we were met by a guide and driver, so we never felt abandoned or unattended.
We traveled extensively throughout Beijing and then off to Huazhou for my daughter's orphanage visit and finding site. It was a great experience for her to see where she spent the first year of her life, meet some of her care takers and gain an appreciation for how different her life would be today if she were still there. She still communicates with some of the orphanage staff.
Throughout the trip, the Ties staff spent time separately with both the kids and the parents discussing our thoughts and feelings and concerns.
I would definitely recommend any Homeland trip that the Ties program facilitates – they are experts at making certain that you and your family have an experience that you will remember forever.
Response: Thanks, Kathy. It was a pleasure to travel with you and your daughter!
My 64 year old husband, 11 year old daughter, and I returned to Kazakhstan in August 2014. As an adult adoptee and social worker, I knew this trip was so important to her soul. I also knew the trip was long and made harder by assorted health problems etc.
The support of Becca Piper and the Ties program, was an important before the trip, as during the trip. And after.
The Ties program was the equivelant of a private clinical and travel concierge. Having a group of other adoptive families was perfect, especially for our daughter. We went places, met people and ate foods, that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. No matter what happened I knew Ties was a phone call away.
That security gave me the freedom to focus on what really mattered---my daughter and her process returning to her birth country and orphanage. My gratitude. Thank you.
Romania 07-26 through 08-06-14
This was truly a rewarding and life changing experience. The trip was well organized and the itinerary was thoughtfully planned, with every attention to detail. We had a lovely and knowledgeable tour guide, Victoria, who shared with us the very rich and interesting history of Romania, as we travelled from city to countryside, and village to village. The children all seemed to form a special connection, got along very well, and were able to share and process experiences amongst each other, as the journey unfolded. The highlight of our trip was connecting with the people and missing pieces of the past. My daughter Brianna met her birth father, two sisters and her brother for the first time. I can't put into words how amazing that experience was, for both of us. The people of Romania were warm and friendly, and we enjoyed every minute of the trip. Romania is a beautiful country, and I am thankful to have been able to see the changes and progress made since my last visit. The trip was memorable, meaningful and exceeded my expectations. I highly recommend this experience for international adoptees and their families.