Passports: BIG Change, What You Need to Know

Beginning January 22, 2018, ALL passengers boarding an aircraft in the United States for domestic travel may be required to present a REAL ID driver’s license or valid U.S. passport.

Some states have not complied with offering the REAL ID, meaning people living in certain states can ONLY use a valid U.S.  passport for domestic travel starting on Jan 22, 2018. You need to check with your state on their current status, restrictions and exemptions for travel.

For International travel, as always, you must have a valid U.S. passport good for at least 6 months (sometimes 7) beyond your return date of travel.  U.S. Passport Information.

Community in its Most Authentic Version

Community in adoptive family travel-it is a huge part of a Ties travel experience. Maybe even THE biggest part. There is really no way to overstate the importance of adoptees and their families traveling with other adoptees and their families on this particular journey. 

It’s not just that we all have this big life experience-international adoption-in common. It’s that when we are together, other people in the group “just get it.” There’s no judgement, no unease, no raised eyebrows as we dive into our stories. Almost instantly, we create safe places for each other, allowing us to be ourselves, vulnerabilities and all.

With ease, we share and learn, laugh and cry. We become wonderful support for each other, a rock solid community that goes well beyond the trip end date. We are making life long friends.

Belonging–for some of the adoptees, it will be the first time they have ever created friendships that feel comfortable and meaningful. For others, it will be the first time they have let their guard down enough to enjoy the company of others without being afraid of what the “cool kids” think. On Ties trips, there is no sense of cool or not cool–everyone simply IS, and is accepted, and it is very freeing. For many, it will simply be the place where they find the strongest sense of belonging they have ever felt.

Then, as if that’s not enough, we go on great adventures together. We explore the culture, food, sports, people, and places significant to adoption.

The kids feel safe, giving them permission to be interested, engaged, and yes, even enthusiastic. We learn from each other and inspire each other. We create meaningful connections.

We create community in adoptive family travel, in the most authentic version of the word.

And that’s pretty beautiful to be part of.


Questions of Identity, International Adoptees

A thought provoking statement…


“Visiting one’s birth country is a series of directed questions at one’s own identity, whether an adoptee is aware of their own questions or not.”

Janelle Bentley, an international adoptee, is the author of those profound words. Janelle traveled on a Ties trip to her birth country when she was 17. Janelle is 27 now and continues to process her experience, her life, and her identity.

“I’ve met people who have been elated to return to their country of birth – feeling like a puzzle piece has snapped into place, a rush of national pride, a validation of their born identity… and people who have been extremely angry, upset, or confused.”

“My own first experience was a nebulous blend of uneasiness that ran the gamut from moments of full-on appreciation, to moments of confusion, to moments of extreme sadness, to simple ambivalence,” Janelle remembers.

Like many adoptees, Janelle’s integration of her experience has led her to a wonderful place in life. She has embraced the range of emotions, and let them “be” within her.

She is preparing now to take her place as part of the Ties travel staff, and becoming a mentor to adoptees following in her footsteps. She understands the need adoptees have to explore identity questions, and embraces the parents who support their kids on this profound and emotional journey.

Janelle shares this wisdom:

“I think it is key for adoptees and families to understand and accept that whatever happens on the trip is what needs to happen. Emotional reactions are what they are. There is no right or wrong way to respond to the journey.”

Janelle’s soft spoken voice speaks loudly to the reality of birth country travel.

INDIA TIES: What My Daughters Knew Intuitively

by Neale Schwarting

I have to say, when planning on our return trip to India, I kept saying, ‘I could do this so much cheaper, I don’t like traveling with people I don’t know, I want my own schedule.’

After talking to our girls, they thought making friends and experiencing this with others “like them” on this trip of a lifetime would be a highlight.India Blog

Well, I have to say we were amazingly well taken care of by all the TIes’ staff, we didn’t have to worry about getting around India, we saw more than I would have been able to plan on my own, but most of all the friends my girls (and us) made were priceless!

I never would have guessed that after returning home, we talk more about the people we met on the tour and in the country than the places we went.

That is what my girls knew intuitively and I would have never been able to give that to them myself!

Well worth it! I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to go back!

India Ties Upcoming Dates

Private travel is also possible.