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.

____ A JOURNEY BACK—A JOURNEY FORWARD—BIRTH COUNTRY TRAVEL, THE BIG PICTURE. A heritage journey is one of the most significant factors in the identity building process of internationally adopted people. So, what’s the journey all about? What age is the best age? How can families prepare? What role does adoptee loyalty play in the journey? What are the pros and cons of group vs individual travel? What adoption exploration is possible in country? How do the kids react before, during and after the trip?

____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 and your child emotionally? This workshop will look at these factors and allow for lots of interactive conversation.

____ TWEENS, TEENS & YOUNG ADULTS: BUILDING IDENTITY AND COMMUNITY THROUGH BIRTH COUNTRY TRAVEL. A heritage journey is one of the most significant factors in the identity building process of international adoptees. And, over time, we’ve learned it is also an amazing opportunity for adoptees to build friendships that create lifelong community. So, what’s the journey all about? How does the adoptee’s age affect the journey? How can you help your family prepare? What role does “adoptee loyalty” play? What are the pros and cons of group vs individual travel? What adoption exploration is possible? How do the kids react before, during and after the trip? And, how do the friendships created en route build an important community for both adoptees and parents?

____TWEENS, TEENS & YOUNG ADULTS: WHAT I WOULD TELL YOU IF I COULD FIND THE WORDS If you are raising a tween, teen or young adult, have raised one, or will raise 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 tweens, teens and young adults 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 going through your child’s mind, or MAY be soon. 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 your kids 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.