For those of us who have adopted Internationally, a Homeland Trip to your child’s birth country is normally something that crosses our minds. When looking through adoption magazines or surfing adoption websites you often see guided tours to China or Korea being advertised.
When we were in Ethiopia picking up our girls I had a urge to return when they were teenagers so they could tour the country and see the culture once again before becoming adults. Our plan was to come back in ten years when our kids were 18,18, 16 and 13. The trip costs quite a bit and we never really thought about making several trips.
Now that our kids have been home a year our thoughts have changed a bit. Just a few months ago, when one of the kids was going through a “Ethiopia was better than here” fits I realized that they don’t remember a lot about Ethiopia. Just the other day Enu said, “In Ethiopia no-one was in charge of me, I liked that better.” Then I realized that they have idealized Ethiopia a bit.
To be clear here, I want them to remember Ethiopia fondly, I want them to remember the good times and their family. I also realize that it is normal for all children to idealize things, especially adopted children who have had a lot of changes. That said, I want them to someday understand why their dad did what he did and why Ethiopia is open to International Adoption.
It was all of this in mind that made me bring up a discussion with Hubby that both Mita and Enu need to go back to Ethiopia in their pre-teen/early teen years. I want them to go and experience it as a tourist, and possible see some family members. He agreed with me and it is our goal that the entire family go back in the next four years, but at least one parent and Mita and Enu if that is all our finances permit. I felt very happy with the resolution.
Earlier today I was listening to a blogtalkradio show put on by Dawn Davenport. The topic was Becoming an Multicultural or Transracial family. It was good stuff to begin with. They started talking about homeland trips and how important they can be. The shows experts recommended to go before the kids where teens if possible as teenagers and young adults tend to have a lot of anxiety when going to their homeland, while younger kids are just looking for fun. It felt great that Hubby and I were on the right track.
While our own Homeland Trip my be a few years away, I do want to learn more about preparing our kids and what to expect as far as their emotions and reactions may be. I look forward to learning more about Homeland Trips and promise to share what I learn.
I would love to hear from others about any Homeland trips you have taken or are preparing to take. Are you planning one or have you decided it would not be best for your family? How important are Homeland Trips to your and your children? Is it something worth the money? Do the kids want to go?