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The ties program is amazing. The trip to Kazakhstan was a great experience. It was really awesome to see where I was from, and experience life there. Some things to be ready for are, always having a water bottle because sometimes you can't drink the water depending on where you go. Another thing to be ready for is it can be hard to order food sometimes and so it really helps to point to the food or point to pictures. Overall it was a great once in a lifetime experience
Wow, Echo, thanks for writing a review. I'm glad you figured out a way to order food that worked for you. Did I ever tell you I love your name? If not, I really do love your name!
We did the Ties Program trip to Kazakhstan this past summer (2015) and had a great experience. Everything was taken care of including interpreters, transportation, sightseeing, lodging, and Baby House visits. I may be making it sound like a very regimented trip but you had plenty of free time and you could opt out of any of the sightseeing trips. My favorite activity was visiting with a host family that cooked and served us a traditional Kazak meal. It was so much fun and they were very excited to host us and teach us different Kazakhstan traditions. Everything we did from the hosted dinner to the Kids Camp, to visiting a Kazak village was an opportunity for my daughter and I to see the excitement and enthusiasm the Kazak people had to see us and share their culture with us.I was a little nervous when we first arrived at my daughter’s Baby House. It seemed like they weren’t expecting us but I think we had just ended up being early. Once we started touring the facility everything changed. The caregivers welcomed my daughter with open arms and were so happy to see her and visit with her. They showed us everything on the Baby House tour and my daughter was able to hold the babies and play with the toddlers. It was gratifying for me the to see that my daughter was able to observe how protective and carrying the Baby House workers where with the babies and children under their care.Ian and Sophia were amazing! Through the whole trip I watched the social workers interact with the children individually and in groups and I realized how important it was to have them there.Asemgul, our interpreter, was also amazing! She was always willing to answer our questions and help us out. Our first day in Almaty she had just taken a family to a money exchange place and on the way back to the motel she ran into us. When we told her we were going to exchange money she turned around and made the same trip with us!It was wonderful for my daughter to meet the other adopted Kazakhstan children and their families that made the trip. She made friendships that will last a lifetime.
Thanks Marcia. Friendships that last a lifetime are really important. :)
We had a wonderful trip to China with our two girls! It was the best of all worlds on this heritage trip which balanced so much – orphanage visits for both girls; an emotional visit with our oldest daughter’s foster family; tourist sites such as the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, the Temple of Heaven, and many more; small yet intimate sights like an afternoon cooking lesson in a small village setting; breaks from the heat in the hotel pools with the kids from our group just playing; and sharing groups for both the kids and parents (separately), skillfully guided by Ties staff, which encouraged the girls to process and integrate the meaning and importance of the trip for them individually. Every step of the way there were guides walking us through airports and getting us on flights; vans showed up and took us where we needed to go; nuances of the world around us were explained; and critical interactions with foster parents, orphanage staff and airline ticket agents were interpreted skillfully. As someone who prefers to travel without a group, I can’t imagine doing this trip without the personal support of going with other adoptive families and the logistical support of a tour group. The Ties Program excels in both, with an emphasis on the former – a big difference from other agencies. We felt so well taken care of during our 3 week trip. On multiple levels, the Ties Program met and exceeded our expectations!
Thanks, Russ and Diane. So glad your family was part of China Ties 2015!
I took my two daughters who were adopted from KZ on the Ties trip this past summer. To put it simply - the trip was fantastic. Emotional, for sure, but that's part of what made it so special. Our two leaders - Ian and Sophia - are just super human beings and always seemed to know what to do and what to say. I believe we will stay friends for a long time. Our travel group was diverse and just wonderful to be with. Our in-country guide - Asemgul - was terrific and the activities planned were great - a nice mix of sightseeing and being with local families. My daughters' baby houses made my girls feel so welcome and special that I wished we could have spent a bit more time there, although I don't know what activity I would have wanted to give up. All in all, it was the trip of a lifetime and it's made my kids more in touch with KZ and a time together I think we will always treasure. As another reviewer said, I wish we could go back and relive every moment.
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
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.
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.
Thank you so much Susan. I’m so glad that this journey could help illuminate your daughter’s story!
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!
Thanks, Kathy. We'd love to have you join us again for a "trip of a lifetime!"
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!
Thank you Kurt!
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.
Thank you Diane! It was so wonderful traveling with your family as well!
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.
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.