International adoptees who have traveled on a Ties Program often have a unique ability to help fellow adoptees and their families as they travel. Over the 30 years we have provided birth country experiences for international adoptees, we have consistently worked toward increasing the number of international adoptees traveling in leadership roles with our programs. They are an integral part of the Adoptive Family Travel by The Ties Program adjunct travel staff. We are proud to note that more than 70% of our travel staff are now international adoptees!
As we restart programs post-COVID, we are reaching out to our Ties alumni, hoping to locate just the right Ties adoptee alumni who would serve Ties families with passion and enthusiasm. Our travel staff have day jobs but take time to travel with Ties adoptees and their families to help participants process both their experiences in-country and their vast array of emotions.
In 2023, we reopened Guatemalan Ties, Korean Ties, Next Gen: Korea and are opening up China Ties, Kazakhstan Ties, Next Gen: Paraguay, India, and Vietnam in 2024! You do not need to be an adoptee from the same country to be part of our travel staff, but it can be helpful.
Here is some additional information you will find helpful if being part of our adjunct staff piques your interest.
When adoptees and their families visit their birth countries, the staff accompanying them play a crucial role in ensuring a positive experience. They take on leadership positions while also being fully immersed in the families' activities, actively listening, and providing support. The staff's involvement is integral in creating a fulfilling and memorable trip for all involved.
Time Commitment: approximately 2 weeks per year.
Characteristics of Our Travel Staff - Are You a Good Fit?
Here are some of the many wonderful characteristics of Ties travel staff:
A leader and team player who is calm yet energetic, highly organized, and a quick learner. Can pay great attention to detail and is a planner who also is comfortable embracing change. An outgoing, social, patient, and nurturing individual who enjoys interacting with all ages. Someone who is always punctual, responsible, passionate, and committed to excellence. Additionally, someone comfortable working in international environments and has an above-average understanding of adoption issues. Lastly, someone who is willing to learn, open-minded, mindful of confidential information, and always strives to find solutions in a diplomatic and sincere manner.
Things Travel Staff Do
- Arrive a day or two prior to the group's arrival or perhaps fly with the group.
- Meet with in-country providers to reconfirm all details.
- Welcome adoptees and their families upon arrival.
- Assign pre-reserved sleeping rooms with hotels and check on meeting space.
- Coordinate with in-country guides and providers.
- Facilitate orientation gatherings with adoptees and families.
- Interact daily (and deeply) with adoptees and families as they travel.
- Implement daily logistics, responding to both changes and needs as they arise.
- Implement important details like pre-arranged orphanage visits, foster family, and/or birth family visits, etc.
- Lead and participate in group activities.
- Take pictures and videos, posting to the group's Facebook page to engage families as well as provide pictures/videos to The Ties Program to assist with marketing.
- Facilitate Connect & Chat for the adoptees and/or Parent Talk Time.
- Communicate effectively with adoptees, families, other travel staff, and in-country staff.
- Assist families with day-to-day needs as they arise (dietary needs, need for a doctor, toiletries, items they would like to purchase, etc.).
- Assist families day-to-day with emotional needs as they arise (the need to be heard, the need for helpful resources, etc.).
- Provide feedback and evaluation to The Ties Program.
- New travel staff will always be scheduled to travel with seasoned staff so they have a training period.
- Travel expenses, i.e., flights, hotel, meals, and transportation, are included. A stipend is paid after your second trip as staff. In some situations, we may have opportunities for interns with a different structure on travel expenses.
- Travel staff share a double occupancy room.
- Some (not all) of our staff have careers and/or educational backgrounds in social work and/or child welfare/post-adoption. Others have cultivated a deep understanding of adoption issues via other means--speaker forums, blogs, culture camps, etc.
- To learn about the countries we serve and lots of other helpful information, please explore our tabs above.
- Most of our programs run in summer and over winter break. As adoptees are becoming less and less tied to a school schedule, this may open up some other times of the year.