I have spoken to many families over the last few months that are struggling with one simple question …
When we go to our child’s birth country should we visit our child’s orphanage and/or foster family or birth family?
So many parents struggle with this issue. There are many fears related to our children’s birth and their first few months on the planet so we struggle to wrap our heads around how and when to help make that connection for our children.
Sadly, I do NOT have any easy answers for you.
The struggle is real, it’s personal and it’s a very important decision that each family needs to make for themselves.
Visiting your child’s orphanage can be a triggering event for many children. The conditions may not be what the child expects and the experience could leave him or her feeling hurt, abandoned, angry, even ashamed. The conditions might also be fine and your child could feel loved and well received, but they still might have feelings of abandonment. Reconnecting with foster families can be a positive experience for many of our children yet I know several families that did not have a positive experience and it left their child feeling confused and unloved. The same goes for birth family searches. I have seen and heard of both positive and negative experiences. Bottom line, I’d be remiss in my duties as a family coach and travel planner to tell you it’s a must do when you visit your child’s birth country.
But here’s what I do know … after many years in the travel business and many years serving clients in the adoptive community, I have NEVER been told that a trip to a child’s birth country that focused on building family and cultural connections was anything but brilliant.
So I want to give you permission to visit your child’s birth country without the tumult of an orphanage visit, connecting with your child’s foster family or finding a birth family member.
You can do these things in due time but what’s more important is that you visit your child’s birth country, as soon as is feasible for your family. If it’s not in the budget this year, attend a heritage camp or seek out experiences that help your child learn about and connect to his or her culture.
All research points to positive cultural connections being essential to an adopted child’s development of a strong self-identity, which in turn leads to higher self-esteem.
All research points to family bonds being strengthened when families share common goals and positive experiences.
I know many of you are struggling with the issue of whether or not to visit your child’s orphanage, foster family or birth family while planning your child’s Heritage Journey for 2018.
All I can say is go. If you can afford it, GO – whether or not you visit your child’s orphanage, foster family or find their birth family!
- Go to your child’s birth country and strengthen family connections through positive shared experiences.
- Go to your child’s birth country and watch your child develop a strong sense of self because of the beautiful cultural connections you were able to make while traveling there.
- Go to your child’s birth country and create life-changing memories!
These are the foundations of a healthy adoptive family!
When you are ready to explore your child’s birth country, please schedule a 30-minute Discovery Session with me at www.calendly.com/bambi. I’d LOVE to help!
Bambi Wineland is the mother of two internationally adopted children, a traveler, a Certified Professional Coach, and the Founder and CEO of Motherland Travel. Motherland Travel began by designing Heritage Journeys for families with internationally adopted children. The emphasis of those Heritage Journeys has always been on deepening family connections, building self-esteem and cultivating pride in a family’s multi-cultural heritage. Motherland Travel also uses the philosophies of transformative Travel for designing family trips with purpose – building rich connections, with each other and the world! Read more about her here >> http://motherlandtravel.com/