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Adoptive Family Travel by the Ties Program

My adult daughters (25 and 28) and I were thrilled about the prospect of finally traveling to Peru for the first time since they were adopted as infants. Our initial plan was to join a Ties group tour, but when this was not possible, Ties put together an itinerary for our family to travel independently. I've done a lot of international traveling, almost always making the arrangements myself--with the usual frustrations and mix-ups involved. What a delight to be guided and supported through an amazingly hassle-free trip! We took multiple flights in- country and stayed at multiple hotels and at every step were met at the airport as planned and so well taken care of. Our guide in each city was incredibly helpful, not only with touring but also managing personal needs and unexpected "emergencies" (e.g., frantic searches for the Peruvian equivalent of Pepto Bismol and for a new suitcase when mine fell apart). Prior to leaving for Peru we were fortunate enough to have located the birth family of one of my daughters in a small town near Cusco. Travel agency staff there made arrangements for a meeting with the family, and our guide accompanied us to translate--not a planned part of the trip but probably the most important experience of all. I can't thank you enough for helping up put together this unforgettable trip. Both of my daughters say it's changed their lives, and I feel the same way!

Thank you for taking the time to let us know about your experience in Peru. We are thrilled that you had a wonderful journey!

I wish we had found you earlier!

Thanks for an incredible trip! I just wanted to write and tell you what a wonderful experience the Romanian Ties trip was for my daughter and for me. She connected with the other kids (she isn’t the ONLY one who felt awkward and weird in high school) and loved Paula, our group leader. Paula was so reassuring to us parents that we had raised great kids who would continue the journey to understand their dual cultures. And Victoria was a tremendous guide who related well to the kids, and created a trip that was memorable for the adults (we loved the wine tastings!) and the kids. Everything was so well organized that I could concentrate on my daughter and not any of the logistics of the trip. I know my daughter left with a much better understanding of her culture and the richness of the history of her homeland. And meeting the birth family was something that she needed to do, and I am so thankful that Mariana and Vali found the family, and that Mariana supported my daughter during the visit. I know she will continue to process what all of that means, but it is such a necessary part of her growth, that I am so glad that she was able to finally see her birth family and home. I think the quote my daughter chose from the kids' last talk with Paula – “I am not what has happened to me, but am what I choose to become” sums up exactly what I was hoping that the trip would provide for her – a chance to begin to make sense of how to incorporate her adoption into her self-worth and identity.I am so grateful that we found you guys, and that we could participate in what is likely to be the last trip to Romania, since the adoptees are now getting so old.I only wish that we had found you guys earlier!

Wow! Such a nice message. Thank you!

Korea 2016

I just want to take this opportunity to thank you for all the hard work you and your staff put in so that our trip to Korea would run so smoothly. It was definitely a trip of a life time. One that we will cherish for the rest of our lives! Our family gained so much from this trip that it is hard to put into words - but I'll try!! Because of the hard work and organization by everyone involved, our family was able just to completely enjoy every aspect of this trip. We didn't have to worry about where we were going (bus drivers covered that), what we were doing next (guides had that covered) or would they be able to understand us (translators and english-speaking Koreans took care of that)!Your organization covered every aspect of this trip that I had concerns about. What do I need to pack? What documents will I need? Along with a 100 other questions that were all covered either in the material we received before we left or on the actual trip. It amazes me still that you're able to take 28 families on a group trip to Korea and make it feel as though the trip was tailor made just for your family!!All this being said, what probably was the most amazing aspect of our trip is the difference it made in the lives of our children. Our sons now have great pride in their heritage, as well as, great friends they made on this trip and I believe they will be life time friends!!Again, thank you so much for everything and for giving our family the greatest trip ever!! At least until we return to Korea on another ties trip!! Time to start saving again!!! Lol.

Thanks Nancy!

Review of Kazakhstan Ties 2016

We just go home from the trip of a lifetime to Kazakhstan. We are still slightly jet-lagged, and still deep in unread mail and laundry. While the trip is still fresh I just wanted to let you know how wonderful it was. All of arrangements worked perfectly. There was a great balance between seeing the country's progress and the adoption-related experiences at the baby house and with the birth family.The staff in Kazakhstan were all amazing. Kudos to you and your in country team for making it all happen.My daughter felt that the best part of the trip was experiencing it with a group of kids who, as she says "get me". For the parents it was nice to have people to process the experience with.

Thanks Meryl!

Guatemala 2016

Hi Bea,

I just wanted to take a moment and thank you for putting together an awesome trip itinerary for us. We had a wonderful time, we learned a lot, the weather was great and our guide was a perfect fit for our family! I am so glad that we decided to enlist your help instead of just trying to go it on our own! We made so many memories and really enjoyed watching our daughter interact with the local people and just take it all in! Thanks again and please know that what you do is so important!!!

Kazakhstan Trip 2015

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!

Kazakhstan 2015

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. 🙂

Great Trip - June 2015, China

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!

Kazakhstan 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.

Thanks Cindy.


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.

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