The Ties Program–Adoptive Family Homeland Journeys

It’s been a fantastic summer of travel, and now time to look forward…here’s the news…..

Gift of Identity Grants

A new fund has been set up to provide grants for international adoptees visiting their birth country. The first grants (up to $5000 each) will be given out for summer 2014 travel. Deadline for application is September 15, 2013. Gift of Identity is a 501(C)(3) non profit organization, and the only organization to provide grants to international adoptees traveling to their birth country.

Early Bird Discounts

Register for summer 2014 Ties programs by August 30, 2013 to receive a $100 per person discount.  Summer programs are open in Bulgaria, Cambodia, China, Colombia, the Philippines, Guatemala, Kazakhstan, Korea, Paraguay, Peru, Romania, Russia, Ukraine and Vietnam (and possibly Nepal).

Winter Program Availability

Ties programs to Vietnam, Cambodia and India are still taking registrations, but airline space is becoming very tight. If you are interested in travel to these countries, please prioritize making your plans to avoid last minute hassles.

Humanitarian Aid & Service Projects

World Ties is a 501(C)(3) non profit sister organization to The Ties Program. For nearly two decades, Ties families have provided humanitarian aid and done service projects around the world—helping people in their (or their child’s) country of birth. There is not a separate World Ties website. Rather, information is on each of our country pages on a tab marked “Project Kindness-World Ties.”


Thanks to Sarah Goth, Pinterester Extraordinare,

New! Journeys of Discovery focus on culture rather than adoption

You’ve asked. We’ve listened. While our traditional Ties programs (with an adoption focus) are exactly what some families are looking for, others have asked us to create non-adoption focused trips.  Our first Journeys program will be over Thanksgiving 2013 to Guatemala, and is open to families who have adopted from all countries.  More to come.

Autumn, Winter and Spring Speaking Events

Looking for a speaker for your upcoming event, or want to plan one for a group you participate in? We do a variety of workshops about birth country travel, but also on topics like  "Teens and Tweens: What I Would Tell You If I Could Find The Words" and "From Lifebooks to Facebook–Traveling Thru MySpace." See our Resources page for workshop information.

That’s the news!

Becca Piper
AP x 4, Bereaved Parent x 1
Founder & Co-Director, The Ties Program–Adoptive Family Homeland Journeys
Founder & Co-Director, World Ties–Home of Project Kindness
Co-Director, Journeys of Discovery–Global Journeys WITHOUT an adoption focus
Proud Board Member–Gift of Identity Fund….finally, funding for international adoptees on homeland journeys


Ever After: Encouraging attachment with lifebooks and family albums

If you haven’t already started a lifebook, memory book, or a new volume of your family album when you decided to adopt or got your referral, now is the time to catch up and get active with this important project. You may decide to also tell the story of your adoption trip itself. With an older child you may be able to use joint work on a lifebook as an enjoyable shared activity that reinforces your child’s place in the family and in your heart. For a younger child, such a book will also capture so many little details and feelings about your adoption journey and your child’s arrival in the family that are easy to forget later on.

You can approach this creative task in many ways, depending upon your own skills and perspective. Many adoptive parents put together a lifebook for their child that includes information, details, photos, and a narrative or little story about the child life before and after adoption. Some parents use a photo album or one of the ready- made lifebook albums available, others more try more elaborate, scrapbook-style approaches. Whatever you choose, your efforts are a heart-felt gift from you to your child of your child’s own story: beginnings, the work towards adoption, arrival home and beyond.

Lifebooks can help adoptive parents feel more comfortable, more matter of fact in talking with children about sensitive issues in adoption. We may not know all the information about our child’s birth and time in care, but we can sensitively present and reframe the thrust and possibilities. For example, rather than use the work “abandoned” when birthparents could not parent a child, we can focus on how birth parents’ difficult decisions assured that their child would find a safe place and a new family. In addition, lifebooks communicate the message that being adopted and being part of an adoptive family is a positive thing. Adoption is “just another kind of normal”, another strong and healthy way parents and children come together.

Here are some practical resources for lifebooks:

  • Adoption Lifebook: A Bridge to Your Child’s Beginnings by Cindy Probst (a Workbook for International Adoptive Families)
  • Lifebooks: Creating a Treasure for the Adopted Child by Beth O’Malley
  • Adoption Life Books
  • Adoption Shoppe

Also check out the following children’s books for ideas:

Attachment and International Adoption. From Choices and Challenges in International Adoption by Joan McNamara ©2009

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