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My son, age 9, and I just returned from our first return visit to his city of birth in China. TIES helped make the trip amazing for us both! I first contacted TIES after trying to go through another agency, and was amazed at the speed with which Bea was able to put together our trip (which was individualized, not part of a group trip). She understood that we had limited travel dates and was able to secure us our preferred dates of travel. She responded to email in a timely manner which is always so appreciated. We are expats living in China, so she accommodated us as we were able to arrange for our own flights and hotel stay. We proposed an itinerary of the sites we’d like to see in the city, and she came back with a well-balanced itinerary that included all of our requests as well as, of course, the visit to the Children’s Welfare Center that required pre-registration. We were also given the choice of only hiring a guide for the welfare center visit day or having a guide for our 3 days of touring, and we opted to have the guide the whole time. What a great choice! It was completely worth the cost, which was reasonable considering how wonderful our guide was and that all transport (by private driver in really nice cars!) entrance fees and even lunch were included daily. We were able to be in contact with him before our arrival via social media which helped put us at ease. At no point during our itinerary was he not by our side and, while we are very seasoned travelers, we appreciated this because it was crucial that the trip be as seamless and positive as possible to help my young son create his first impressions of his city of birth. He was flexible and paid attention to the needs of my son as we spent the days together. He was also just very sweet in general. He was a seasoned adoption service guide and his demeanor was very well-suited to the type of trip we were experiencing – things were fun, relaxed, informative, and geared towards discovery of this place that my son was experiencing for the first time. At no point did we feel like we were just typical tourists. On one day, when we encountered a problem with our hotel booking, he refused to leave until it was completely settled. I kept expecting him to drop us off at certain places and return to meet us, but he went with us everywhere in a non-intrusive way (even on the rides at the theme park! Even walking us through check-in and up to security at the airport!). He was a native of the city which was also very nice – he was proud of the city and helped my son and I to be the same. The welfare center visit was seamless and we were welcomed so warmly by the staff who were definitely expecting us. There were several staff members there who still remembered my son and you could see that everyone was so excited and proud to see how he had grown (the photo album we left with them was a big hit!). The pictures I had sent beforehand had been shared with the staff so that they could connect us with who we had met at the time of adoption, his special nanny, etc. We were able to garner some previously unknown information and photos that were real treasures. My son was absolutely enthralled, excited, and happy the entire trip and this is invaluable! I know this trip will serve him well as he grows and we can’t wait to return again with our whole family! Thanks, Bea and TIES.
Thanks, Julie! We are thrilled that the journey was so meaningful to you and your son!
Our family traveled with Korean Ties in 1998. Having such a successful trip we engaged the Ties Program to plan a family trip to Chile and Peru in 2013. Again everything was well planned and enjoyable. In 2016 we decided to travel to China and knew Becca would be our best connection to the best trip. In March/April 2017 we traveled to 6 Chinese cities. In each place well informed, friendly English speaking local guides showed us the sites. We walked on the Great Wall and in Tiananmen Square, visited palaces and historic sites, saw active pandas up close, sailed on the Yangtze River, enjoyed traditional Chinese shows and ate delicious and varied dishes among locals. Becca's connections are authentic and really made our journey as perfect as it could be. If you are traveling for adoption or just to see the world, I recommend Becca and all those who work with the Ties Programs.
We have loved every minute of every trip with your family!
I participated in the TIES 2016 India program with my parents. It was an eye-opening and life changing experience for me especially as a 23-year old! The itinerary was culturally-enriching and packed with activities. Experiencing India with other adoptees made the whole trip so much more impactful as we were able to share our personal stories and journey together. The winter is a perfect time to travel in this climate and the weather was beautiful. Our tour guide made each day exciting and brought humor and history to each location we visited! It was a great program and I would highly recommend to other families with adopted children.
I went on the TIES winter 2016 Vietnam trip with our 14-year old daughter adopted from Hanoi. We both would welcome the opportunity to repeat the experience. Adoption-related travel as planned by the TIES staff was a remarkable combination of a literal and figurative journey for us, most especially for my daughter. Taking it all in with other adopted kids and their parents made for a wonderful, enriching time that we will always cherish. The TIES staff are travel-savvy, supportive, and insightful. The tour guide they work with in Vietnam is exceptionally well suited for working with American adoptive families. The itinerary was comprised of sightseeing, adoption-related excursions, and free time--and none of it is mandatory, but we did all of it, with gusto! We are so appreciative of this program and highly recommend to other families of adopted children.
Thanks Carolyn! We'll be sure to pass along the nice comment to Chi as well!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!!!
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!