The Early Years

Beyond Korea - The Bigger Picture

In the early years, Becca and Bea recognized the significance of visiting places of birth, meeting caregivers at orphanages, and, when possible and desired, meeting birth family members, as integral parts of the journey. However, as time passed, they realized the connections forged during these trips extended far beyond these initial encounters. Adoptees who traveled together as children had maintained lasting connections with their fellow travelers well into adulthood. An example of this enduring bond is seen in some past India Ties adoptees, who, many years later, participated as bridesmaids in each other's weddings, highlighting the profound and lasting impact of their shared heritage journey experience.

For many adoptees, a homeland journey represents their first opportunity to be surrounded by others who share their appearance and life experience. Becca and Bea observed how this experience not only serves as an invaluable introduction to a child's birth country but also lays the foundation for lifelong relationships. Amid exploring the country's sights, enjoying meals in local homes, and visiting both major cities and hidden gems, adoptees have the chance to forge meaningful connections and deepen their understanding of their cultural heritage.

In the late 1990s, as international adoption increased from regions like South America, Asia, Russia, and Eastern Europe, The Ties Program responded by creating heritage travel programs to countries such as Peru, Paraguay, and Chile. However, unlike Korea, these countries remained open to international adoption for only a brief period. As international adoption closed in these regions, some media outlets questioned adoptive parents' commitment to their children. Yet, families traveling together to their children's birth countries through heritage journeys helped dispel these doubts, showcasing how some parents embraced their child’s heritage and understood the need for adoptees to experience their country of birth.

In the early 2000s, Ties heritage journeys expanded to include countries like China, India, Vietnam, Colombia, Guatemala, and The Philippines. While some adoption agencies offered trips to countries where they had significant placements, most did not have the resources to provide tailored, adoptee-focused reconnection journeys.
As the program progressed toward 2010, heritage journeys were added to destinations such as Cambodia, Russia, and Kazakhstan. Looking ahead, plans included extending trips to places like Nepal, Ethiopia, and potentially Ukraine, driven by the increasing desire of adult adoptees to share their heritage with their significant others and children. To meet this need, The Ties Program launched a new initiative called "Next Gen" tailored specifically for adult adoptees.