During Gladney's 125th celebration, a workshop was held for adoptive families wanting to learn more about making a heritage trip back to their child's country of birth. Four adoptive families, who adopted from China and Russia, spoke about their recent experiences in planning and travelling. While the meaning and experience was very unique and personal to each child and parent, the parents on the panel expressed consensus about these points:
- It was helpful to start the trip in a large city as a buffer for transition, spending the first few days adjusting to language, foods and appreciating the historical sites and landmarks. After these initial days, families felt prepared to travel onward to visit the local community in which their child was initially raised.
- For families that travelled in a group, both children and parents felt that the support of their peers was helpful in processing the thoughts and emotions that evolved during the trip. Everyone agreed that upon returning home, each child and parent continues to reflect on their adoption experience and that it will continue to shape their identities and roles.
Director Dr. Dou welcomes Seiler and family at ChuZhou SWI
- Children were most interested in seeing the actual site where they were cared for, and when possible, meeting staff who knew and remembered them.
- The caregivers and staff at the orphanages were very warm and enthusiastic to meet the children who returned to visit. For orphanage staff, seeing the children several years older as happy, healthy people, and knowing they were well cared for, was very important and rewarding.
If you have questions as you begin to think about planning such a trip for your family, please visit our website Gladney Asia (www.gladneyasia.org) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gladney's China Heritage Tours are primarily customized tours for an individual family or group of families who would like to travel together (no matter which agency they used to adopt). However, several families have come to us and expressed an interest in travelling as part of a larger group. We are open to (and excited about!!) organizing a group trip for the summer of 2013 and/or the summer of 2014 based on families' interest. If you have a tentative or strong interest at this time, please contact us at our email address above, indicating which year you would prefer, 2013 or 2014 and include your child's province. We will create a group email list to keep interested families posted on the specific developments of a group trip, as well as continue to update everyone generally through this newsletter.
--Wendy Stanley, Director of Social Services - Asia