- Connect & Chat and Talk Time
- Airline Flights & Booking
- Adoption Therapists & Consulting
- Blog-Information and Stories
- Writers' Circle for Adoptees & Families
Optional Connect & Chat for adoptees and siblings and Talk Times for parents, spouses and other members of the adoptee’s travel support team are opportunities for program participants to gather in a group to discuss and process their journey as it unfolds. Groups are facilitated by an adoption specialist.
Adoptees and siblings are grouped by age, or sometimes by gender, and support team members meet in their own separate gatherings.
Arrangements can also be made if you prefer a more private meeting. Our staff is there to meet with you in your comfort zone.
These times, like all activities, are completely voluntary.
- Adoption Airfare Adoption Airfare books all airlines and has access to fares offered by the airlines as well as Humanitarian Airfares, which Ties families qualify for. They have been very helpful and cooperative as we’ve thought through plans for how to best assist Ties travelers. We hope you enjoy working with Tabitha (owner) and her staff (Adam, Phaedra, Ben and Michelle). You can start by completing the information found on this page.
- Book with the airline directly. Online reservations work pretty smoothly now, so chances are you won’t be on hold endlessly trying to talk to an agent.
- Book with a travel agent you know. If this is someone you have had experience with and really like, please let us know. Perhaps there is a way for Ties to connect in the future.
Have frequent flyer miles you are trying to use? Hooray! Families who have frequent flyer miles work directly with the frequent flyer desk of the airlines.
ADOPTION THERAPISTS AND CONSULTING
We are excited to provide adoptees and their families with resource professionals who:
- Have traveled on adoptive family heritage journeys both as participants and as adoption professionals, so they understand the unique issues at hand.
- Have their master’s degree in Social Work or other degree/life experience qualifying them to assist you.
- Have extensive personal and professional experience with adoption.
- Are enthusiastic and passionate about helping you prepare for and process this amazing experience.
Some of the MANY important questions….
- Who should accompany me when I travel to my birth country?
- What can we do to prepare for a heritage journey?
- What age is the right age? Should I have gone when I was younger? Should I wait till I’m older?
- What kinds of adoption exploration are possible and how can I explore in a healthy way?
- What is adoptee loyalty and how might it impact me and my family?
- What if I receive difficult information?
- How much do I want to know and what will I do with the information if I find it?
- How does poverty affect the journey?
- What might it be like to meet birth family?
- What if we search, but don’t find out anything?
- How do I continue to process a birth country experience?
- What is reverse culture shock and how might it impact me?
How to get answers… If you would like to have a consultation or consider ongoing therapy, we suggest you contact Erin Ahlquist or Amy Wilkerson via email to set up a phone call.
Amy Wilkerson is a transracial and international adoptee from Chile, as well as a licensed clinical social worker. She has been in reunion with her biological family for over 20 years and has always had a passion for working with the complexities of adoption. Amy is in private practice specializing in complex trauma, adoption, reunion, race, and identity building. Her passion is helping individuals find the courage to live their lives authentically while staying in connection with themselves and others. Amy is also the author of the children’s book, Being Adopted, and co-host of the podcast, Adoptees Dish. Amy traveled with Ties in 2008 to Korea and Cambodia and believes homeland tours are a profound way for adoptees to integrate meaningful insights for the identity building process. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Erin Ahlquist is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and international and transracial adoptee from India. Erin has worked with individuals and families for 11 years as a mental health therapist in Oregon. She specializes in Early Childhood, Trauma, Adoption, and Autism Spectrum Disorders. Erin has traveled with The Ties Program as a participant herself in 2017 and as Adjunct Travel Staff since 2018. Her service to families traveling with Guatemalan Ties has been exemplary. She provides an open, non-judgmental listening ear and source of support to all Ties participants as she strives to help them discover insights into their life experience of adoption. Email: email@example.com
We will be adding to this list. Watch for updates here.
You might also find this list of adoptee therapists helpful. This list has not been vetted. Due diligence advised.
Special thanks to Jaclyn Skalnik for her many years of service to Ties families. She is a remarkable adoption therapist. Life changed for her in many ways these last few years, creating a shift in her life focus. We wish her the best of everything as she approaches her next chapter ahead.
For international adoptees and their families, birth country travel is NOT about travel.
It’s about identity building, understanding culture, and discovery.
Travel is the fun stuff that happens around all the other truly important stuff. It’s the cake topper, not the cake.
So, pull up a front row seat to what will be an up close and personal look at the discoveries of the homeland journey—from preparation to long term processing. You’ll hear about a variety of topics from a variety of perspectives.
We hope you’ll share your feedback, and be part of the discovery, because that’s what discovery is all about–learning about ourselves and others. When we do that together as a community, all the more meaningful.
Welcome to a writers’ group where YOUR humble opinion has found a home!
The Ties Program Writers’ Group was created informally a few years ago by Ties Program Founder, Becca Piper, who frequently writes articles for publication. Feeling articles are more interesting when adoptees’ and/or adoptive families’s voices are heard, Becca frequently asks alumni travelers for input. Gathering these reactions provides readers with another opportunity to process the messages discovered while traveling, and gives insights to others on a similar journey.
The feedback she has received has been overwhelming in its quantity, and both insightful and meaningful in its quality.
If you would like to write an occasional answer to an occasional question that:
- helps you process your birth country experience
- helps the adoption community’s collective knowledge
- is fun and…
- looks great on your resume
Please email Becca to indicate your interest.
You don’t have to be a perfect writer to be a perfect writer.
Don’t worry about your grammar and punctuation. It’s your thoughts that count.
Thankfully, Becca’s degree is in journalism, and she can help with the parts you may need help with,without changing the essence of your thoughts. 🙂