Tuesday Topic: Adoption Travel Highlights

It is Friday and I just realized that I neglected to post our Tuesday Topic! Holidays really throw me out of my routine.

Here is this week’s question:

Apart from meeting your child, what was a highlight of your experience when you traveled to your child’s country of birth?

The time for submitting answers is short this week, so please send your responses my way as soon as you can. As always, I’ll hold your responses until Tuesday, Dec. 1st, and post them all together along with my answer.

Thank you for the great participation on the Tuesday Topics; I love hearing from you. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!


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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. lorismusings
    November 28, 2009

    We were really glad that we got to spend time in India when we went to get our daughters. (We also look forward to going again in the spring when we pick up our son.) It gave us an opportunity to learn about the culture and its people in a way you can't do just by reading about it.

    We also took the opportunity to travel from Delhi to Agra so that we could see the Taj Mahal and some other historical sights. There is a rich cultural history in India.

    We came away with a greater appreciation for the culture and history of India and a desire to learn more. We know that we want to take our Indian adopted kids back to India when they are older so that they can see and experience their roots.

    We were also able to personally observe the socio-economic climate of India. There is a huge chasm between the very poor and those who are doing well. It was a shock to us as insulated Americans who had never been to a third world or developing nation to see poverty everywhere you looked.

    We now have an intense desire to be involved in whatever ways we can in easing the suffering of the poor all over the world. When you see it face to face you are never the same.

    Especially at Christmas we see the decadence of our society and that – as Americans – it seems we never have enough. We are thankful for the blessing of living here and are aware that we have a responsiblity to use our blessings to help others.

  2. christall
    November 28, 2009

    I was in Ethiopia for a month and aside from meeting/being with Ava the highlight of my trip was the time I spent at Mother Theresa's orphanage working with the children and the time I spent out in Addis talking with, praying with, feeding the people I came into contact with. I am so thankful that my daughter was able to spend time with me in Addis really engaging in an activity that is very important to me. Buying and giving food to the beggers on the street and then praying for them – in our first few days of meeting, my daughter was able to see what is important to me – she got to see who I am… We worked at 5 different care centers – together, side-by-side and if you ask her today she will tell you that the time we spent doing that was the best part of our time in Ethiopia – and I agree 100%!

  3. Jon and Jamie
    November 28, 2009

    I loved meeting people and seeing the gorgeous ethiopian countryside. The city is a study of contrasts, but I enjoyed all of the smells, sounds and sights, I absorbed the wonder of a country so steeped in history and rich culture. for me though the highlight truly was the people, they are so warm and generous, gentle and caring, a woman tried to give me her umbrella, the only item she had, for my little guy to keep the sun off. Everyone was so kind and helpful, and their love for children is so apparent, from the first hours in the country when my eldest did not feel well and little old ladies petted her back and offered her soda, to the grandmother who blessed Amelia and Gabe and admonished them to be good(I think that is what she was saying:) everyone loved my children as their own.
    Also seeing AHOPE was a huge highlight, the little ones were sleeping, but we met soem of the older kids, and the staff there is truly amazing and genuinely cares so much for their charges. there is such a zest for life in those kids, and the staff is hugely responsible. I am thrilled that we went, it has reaffirmed our decision to pursue an adoption through them in the future, God willing.

  4. Donna
    November 28, 2009

    I loved being able to visit historical landmarks around China and see (and touch) beautiful things that were many hundreds of years old! Nothing we have in the USA is that old! It really gave me goosebumps!

    Our Blog: Double Happiness!

  5. Kimberly
    November 28, 2009

    This is an easy question! Meeting all the other families and watching them meet their daughters for the first time. I felt so honored and the bond between all of us is going strong two years later. We communicate via email and facebook and we had a reunion this summer. I expected to meet great people but I was pleasantly surprised to find that they became my family. These precious girls have so many adults who love them and it thrills me to know that as they grow up they will have each other to lean on too. We are all so incredibly blessed.

  6. Shonah
    November 29, 2009

    The highlight of our trip to Ethiopia aside from finally getting our hands on our baby was visiting Lalibela. We visited Lalibela for the first 3 days our our trip to Ethiopia. We hired a guide that was awesome and saw the amazing churches within Lalibela and several outside of Lalibela. We were treated to a coffee ceramony and taken out to listen to traditional music and see traditional dancing.

    We sat out on our balcony that over looked part of the town and had amazing views of the mountians. We watched life in Lalibela happen before our eyes; children herding animals, women weaving baskets, men using mules to carry stone. We listened to the sounds, breathed in deep the aroma and took in the beauty of this holy little city in Ethiopia.

    It was a gift to us that we were able to make this trip and experience first hand some of our sons culture, a culture we now love as our own.

    Lalibela and it's people left a deep impression on us and was aside from meeting our child the best part of our trip:)

  7. triplehmoms
    November 30, 2009

    My experiences are only limited to Guatemala as it is the only country from which I have adopted but I am happy to share. If you are able, I would suggest that you spend some time, even if just a few days, in the country so that you can get a small taste of it. Granted the tourists' perception of life there and that of a local is going to be different, but it's a start. I also think if you are able to meet the birthfamily of your child you should do so. It may be scary to you and a bit awkward, but if the family is able to communicate that they are ok with the child going, it could be an easier transition. In other words, the family could give the child "permission" to go with the adoptive family. If you are unable to meet the birthfamily or if the birthfamily has not played the role of a care taker for the child, having the care taker tell your child these things is important. Even though we can recognize that our family situation is "better," the child's current living situation is his life. I don't know if I am making sense here or not. Lastly, I would suggest that you plan to return to your child's country of birth. I know that when I return to Guatemala with my daughters, one of my daughters always tells me "I'm home now, Mommy." Yes, she loves me and I love her. She, however, feels Guatemalan and will always be "at home" there.

  8. Mamita J
    November 30, 2009

    Ooooo…I hope I'm not too late.

    We traveled to Guatemala 4 times in 2 years. We have so many wonderful experiences and memories it's hard to narrow it down.


    We met a native Guatemalan family (Edwin and Nely) through a friend here in town, before we had our referral. They happened to live near Antigua, which is a lovely vacation destination. The wife has a booth in the artisans market. (It's one of my very favorite places in the world.) So on our first visit, we met up with them and they took us to their home in the nearby village. They were so warm and hospitable. It gave us such an appreciation of and respect for the people of Guatemala.

    On our third trip, we met two young girls named Flor and Vincy. They absolutely grabbed our hearts. It was right before Christmas. We took them out to eat, and my mom gave them money for shoes for Christmas. We gave them the jackets off our backs. They were so grateful, they cried. So did we. 🙂

    When I got back home, I brought pictures to my friend. As we were looking at the pictures, her mouth dropped open. "That's Flor!" She recognized our little friend! It turns out that Flor is Edwin's niece!

    NO WAY! Small world, huh?

    God orchestrated the whole thing.

  9. Ajay
    December 1, 2009

    When God first put adopting from Ethiopia on our heart, we started to sponsor a child in Ethiopia, three years later, while we were picking up our son we got spend a day going to visit the child we had been sponsoring! It turned out he lived just three miles from the guest house we stayed in! We've now signed up to sponsor two more girls from Ethiopia and when we travel to pick up our daughter, hopefully we'll be able to visit them too! It just makes us feel more connected to our kids birth country by being able to be apart of other childrens lives! What a blessing all around!

  10. Heidi Mehltretter
    December 1, 2009

    Our ultimate highlight was taking all three of my kids with me and spending a month in Ethiopia getting to know our newest son in HIS environment, then traveling home with four kids and managing to do almost all of it with frequent flyer miles! Best vacation of my life, with the exception of missing my husband and wishing he could share the experience with us.


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