Would you like to hear the reasons to travel, from those who know best–those who have done homeland journey?
Here is their list. We couldn’t have said it any better ourselves.
1. So that your child has a personal past and not simply a narrative.
“Whenever anyone asked questions about the circumstances of my birth and adoption or my birth country, I recited it like I was telling a story about someone else. When I got to my birth country, all of that changed.” Anisha Pitzenberger, 17
“You will know your own history from experience, not from stories.” –Theresa Read, 15
“It was exciting learning about my culture!” –Zoe Kunze, age 9
“It turned my grey (adoptive experience) impressions into Technicolor.” –Linda Feltes
2. To give your child a solid sense of beginning.
“I learned who I truly am. I knew I was adopted from China, born in Anhui Province, found somewhere in Tongling City, but when you actually get a chance to go back to your roots, everything seems to come together.” –Molly McPeak, 15
3. To give your child a sense of the circumstances his/her birth parents dealt with.
“Before I traveled, I wondered what could have been so bad in my birth country that my birth parents couldn’t or wouldn’t raise me. I saw pictures, even a movie, but it seemed like no one could be that poor, like maybe it was an old movie or an old picture from a long time ago, not now.”—Anonymous
“I got to understand more about the struggles my birth family went through.”–Matt Ouellette, 14
4. To give your child a more complete vision of “self.”
“Because of this trip, I fell in love with my birth country, learned so much about my heritage, and can truly identify and appreciate where I come from. I am so very proud to be Indian!” –Gopi Pitcher, 22
“I would describe it as discovering myself. I’d definitely recommend kids visit the countries that they were born in. They’d be able to learn the history and pride that comes with discovering your own inner self.” –Joe Sgori, age 14
5. To provide “whole family understanding.”
“I hadn’t realized was how much it would mean to me to see where my daughter was from and meet the women who took such good care of her and amazingly still remembered her.”–Marshall-Ebenal Family
“Holding my grandson’s nanny’s hand and witnessing her emotion was heartfelt–I’ll never forget her.”–Rose Osterberg
“Being with other families helped me to see things in more context and in perspective.” –Scott Ash
6. To continue to build relationships within your family.
“Grace and I are so much closer now. She has really opened up and found her wings. Words just can’t express how perfect this trip was!” –Robbie Rose-Poel
“Our family has grown closer as a result of this trip and we have made many new friends who we would have never met otherwise.”–Debbie Uliasz
7. To give your child a critical sense of belonging.
“My favorite part of the trip was meeting the other kids that were JUST LIKE ME.” Rosa Heady, 13
“I made friendships I will always have.”–David Lueck-Mammen, 17
“Traveling with other kids was AWESOME!” Anna Armour, 10
“I think that the healthiest outcome of the trip for my daughter is that going with a group ‘normalized’ her situation and her adoption.” Bonnie MacAdam
8. To help your child work through loss and grief.
“I was loved from the beginning, all the time. My foster family took really good care of me.”–Anonymous
“I liked visiting the baby home. One of the doctors remembered me and that was special to me.” –Julia Machnyk , 13
“You can talk about your feelings and no one will laugh.” –Cadi Stair, 12 (referring to optional Connect & Chat times when the kids get together to talk about their experiences.)
“When I met my birth family for the first time, I was so nervous, but once I started to talk to them I just felt at ease and like the “hole” in my heart was filled.” Kari Glass, 16
“I thought meeting my foster mom was the most meaningful because she was the one who took care of me,” said MANY kids.
And in perhaps the most profound statement ever made about coming to terms with loss…. “Like those who have lost a parent through illness, or absenteeism, I know I have an emotional burden of the uncertainty, hurt, and unfairness of the situation surrounding my birth parents and unknown history. But like many others, although I can’t say I’ve found peace with the situation, I’ve come to terms with it as a part of my whole. Instead of covering the emotions over and pretending they’re not there, I think I’ve learned to accept their existence and live alongside them.”—Aimee Sonkiss, 19
9. To give your child a strong global cultural understanding.
“I really identified with the quote in the itinerary that read ‘I am not the same having seen the moon on the other side of the world.’”–Matthew McIntosh, 14
“It was an experience that changed how I look at the world.”–Sahni Moore, 20
10. Because birth country travel has a settling effect and a lifetime impact.
“It was the greatest experience of my life. At first I thought it was not that big of deal,
but this has been one of the best times of my life.” —Matthew Kaplan, 18
“This trip had a thoroughly positive impact on the children, the parents, and on our children’s birth countries.” Jody Blouch
“For the first time in my life, I felt complete and at peace with who I am.” –Landy Hancock, 18
“We looked beyond what we could have seen alone, and together experienced more.” –Bill Uliasz