July 1st, 2009
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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.

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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?

Photo Credit Kriss Szkurlatowski

5 Responses to “Homeland Travel”

  1. tarzanfan says:

    I don’t think a homeland trip would be beneficial to us since the Chinese would not even recognize her as being Chinese. She has albinism. So for her to learn about Chinese culture without being subjected to ridicule we would host a Chinese exchange student. In that way we could open the mind of one person from China about albinism and learn from them customs,language, etc.

  2. tarzanfan says:

    We were watching Extreme Home makeover tonight and the couple had 5 girls with special needs adopted from China. My daughter said ” it must be difficult to be different” . I had to chuckle because she stops traffic with her platinum hair ! She hasn’t been treated differently so she doesn’t know she is. I tell her that she’s rare like a diamond and that her birth mother must have been a very beautiful woman because she is so beautiful.
    My husband and I started hosting students when our girls were 5 and 7. They LOVED having a big sister and I LOVED having some extra help around the house. They are now 11 and 13 and still talk to all the “sisters”we have hosted. China just started letting their students come here. But there are many other countries you can get a student from through ISE.
    That’s International Student Exchange.
    i want to adopt from Ethiopia but my husband is not on board :( i’d love to have a boy ! Some day God willing. i have to be content renting a kid from another country. i hate having to send them back ! My kitchen wall is covered with the painted hand prints of students. Everyone loves it. Good memories.

  3. meddy1987 says:

    My name is Medina Am 3 months pregnant.i cant afford to raise a child becose am unemployed and my elder sister is the one taking care of me here in london(UK) i dont have my own place to stay and dont have anything that is mine.am 22years old and i tried to go for abortion, but i have being having series of nightmare about it. i cant handle this i want a career and an education.i wear girdle so it dont show that i am pregnant.i cant bear to give birth to a baby and throw it away as some girls do. my conscience will never forgive me. please if you wish to adopt this baby, please contact me on medinaosayomwanbo@yahoo.com my mobile number is +44-702-402-9378. may the almighty God richly bless you. Amen

    Medina

  4. ttstevens says:

    We took a homeland trip to Korea back in April. It was amazing and life changing for my children (ages 9 & 11). Preteen was what we were aiming for. We were able to meet some of my son’s b-fam. We are already planning our trip back. I wrote about it in my blog – http://thejourney69.blogspot.com/
    It was worth every penny and then some! And so important to my children and their understanding of who they are and where they came from.
    Toni

  5. alanna_rose says:

    This is in response to Tarzafan’s comment above, regarding hosting a Chinese exchange student. I work for a nonprofit exchange organization (Youth For Understanding), and I have been speaking with several families with internationally adopted children who are so excited for the opportunity to bring their child’s birth culture and language into their home. With this in mind, I have been doing my best to share this opportunity with families who might view this as a great experience, while also being sensitive and respectful to the members of the groups. In the past week, I have been reaching out to several different online adoption communities with this information, and have received all kinds of responses, from very positive to very negative. I can understand the varied responses – On the one hand, it can be a great cultural connection resource that families are so glad to hear about; on the other hand, people may feel like they are being solicited. I in no way want to infringe upon online adoption support communities and blogs, but do feel that there are people in these groups that would greatly value this information. I want to know if anybody has any suggestions on how and where I should share information on this topic.

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