Workshops for Your Camp or Event

Here are a few of the topics we present. Please note any of our topics can be presented with a country or region focus.

____ BIRTH COUNTRY TRAVEL FOR TEENS, TWEENS & ADULT ADOPTEES AND THOSE WHO LOVE THEM.  A heritage journey is one of the most significant factors in the identity building process of internationally adopted people. This workshop draws from almost 30 years of traveling with adoptees and their families on Adoptive Family Heritage Journeys. Topics will include:

  • How does the adoptee’s age affect the journey?
  • What adoption exploration is possible?
  • How do adoptees tend to react before, during and after the trip?
  • How can you prepare?
  • How can parents, siblings, spouses and other loved ones support adoptees on this journey?
  • What role does adoptee loyalty play?
  • How is social media impacting the experience?
  • To search or not to search?
  • The pros and cons of knowing more.
  • What are the challenges when no information can be found?
  • Search is more than about birth family.
  • What are the pros and cons of group vs individual travel?
  • How do the friendships created in country build an important community for adoptees, parents and spouses?

____BIRTH FAMILY: TO SEARCH OR NOT TO SEARCH? TO FIND OR NOT TO FIND? Those are questions with VERY big answers. International birth family search is a hot topic. What are the logistical pieces of how to go about doing a search? Is this something you and your child WANT to do? Is the timing good? What are the goals? What if you seek and find? What are the short and long term implications? What if there is NO finding? Where does that leave you emotionally? This workshop will look at these factors and allow for lots of interactive conversation.

____TWEENS, TEENS & ADULT ADOPTEES: WHAT I WOULD TELL YOU IF I COULD FIND THE WORDS If you are raising a tween, teen or adult adoptee, (or married to one!) chances are they are holding back on their thoughts. It’s what my daughter calls “restricted information.” “Why is it restricted?” I ask, holding on to her every word, listening for clues for what is on HER mind, despite the fact that via my professional work, I’ve got a pretty good clue. “Because I don’t want to hurt you, or make you feel bad about stuff,” she replies. “But what stuff?” I ask. “You know Mom, just stuff.”

So what’s the stuff? What are adoptees pondering in the corners of their minds? The answer: questions and thoughts related to:

  • Fitting in
  • Their relationship with their adoptive family & adoptee loyalty
  • Feelings related to their birth family and birth country
  • And the double whammy—things that combine both birth and adoptive family
  • Understanding background, a.k.a. Life History
  • Poverty in birth country
  • Why? Why? Why? (to a million things)
  • Abandonment issues, insecurities, and control
  • Self-worth & guilt
  • Hope

This workshop will take a look at concrete questions & thoughts that MAY be rolling around in an adoptee’s mind.  In this very interactive workshop, you will hear and experience the thoughts of international adoptees….the “restricted information” shared openly and honestly by adoptees themselves. It will provide insight to help you create a strategy that will strengthen your relationship with your child.

____ WHEN “BECAUSE SHE LOVED YOU” IS NO LONGER ENOUGH As adoptees progress through the life experience of adoption, they often need or want more information. An adoptive parent recently called and said, “Our daughter wants to travel to her birth country to find her birth mom. We know that is not possible, but….” In actuality there are very few countries where that is the case anymore. Becoming familiar with what information and resources are available for international adoptees, and how to become an ally in the search for information is what this workshop is all about. Together, we will discuss:

  • What information and resources are available to international adoptees who desire more information?
  • What role is social media playing?
  • What adoptees would like you to know about the information they would like to have.
  • Is it possible or even desirable to wait to share information as technology increases?
  • In countries where very little information is available (so far), what changes, if any, may be ahead?
  • How do child-trafficking conversations fit into the discussion?
  • How to talk about information in a way that is helpful.
  • The pros and cons of knowing more.
  • What are the challenges when no information can be found?

____HOMELAND TRAVEL: BENEFITS AND COMPLEXITIES (Taking off the rose colored glasses!) The benefits of birth country travel are straightforward and universal. The topic is beaming with positive aspects: Identity Building, Pride, Belonging, Validation, Answering Why? and the “Settling Effect.” But journeys as emotionally charged as this one come with challenging aspects families need to consider. This workshop will discuss the benefits as well as the challenges.