Hi! My name is Adam and I am an adult adoptee who traveled on the 2016 Dragon Tour. I was joined by my wife, mother, ten other adoptees and their companions. What was wonderful about the tour offered by CH/LSS is that it provided an itinerary full of culturally significant and popular tourist destinations in conjunction with the services and locations that are important to the adoptees.
As an adoptee, traveling to my birth land is something I had not had any interest in doing for many years. I’ve learned that it’s not uncommon for adoptees to experience a period of time where their sense of identity comes heavily into question. Because of this I had seen a trip to Korea as a veritable Pandora’s Box of emotions and feelings I wasn’t ready to confront until this previous year. Months later the trip is a common topic of conversation between my wife and me and the experience continues to influence our day to day lives in ways neither of us expected.
The itinerary for the 2016 Dragon Tour was full of activities. We visited the Korean War Museum and the DMZ / JSA, toured a re-creation of a traditional Korean Folk Village, hiked up Namsan Mountain, woke up with the world of monks at a Buddhist Temple, attended a Korean baseball game, shopped at a variety of Korean outdoor markets, walked along the beach in Busan, and ate a plethora of Korean foods everywhere we went…to name just a few of the more traditionally tourist type destinations.
Paired with conventional hot spots were the parts of the tour that focused on the adoption stories of the participants and their friends and families. We were able to visit the Korean agencies we were adopted from, had the opportunity to visit an orphanage and learn about the children who live there, went to a single mothers’ shelter where we got to talk with two mothers who had placed their children for adoption, and some of the adoptees on our trip were able to connect with birth parents, foster mothers, and finding sites. As one would expect there was a lot of emotion attached to the experiences: be it directly connected with our own adoption stories, or those of our new friends who were traveling with us.
For me, through the pre-trip services offered with the tour I had known that a birth mother search would be impractical with the lack of information currently available. So I had gone into this trip primarily as a means to connect with the culture and people of my birth land. What I got from it was so much more.
This was largely due to the friendships and shared experiences that occurred between the members of the tour. While I myself was unable to reconnect there were those who could. Privacy and respect were a very important part of the trip and as such each person was able to decide what they were, or were not comfortable sharing about any aspect of the trip. In our group I had the opportunity to make friends who were willing to talk about their own post adoption experiences while in Korea and I feel like I got a bit of closure by proxy. This was further augmented by meeting the two mothers who graciously shared their adoption stories with us at the AeRanWon single mothers’ shelter. This experience allowed me to ask the mothers questions that I had for my own birth mother and in return answer questions they had for the children they had placed for adoption.
The staff from CH/LSS, the volunteer support adoptee and adoptive parent, and the in-country guides, drivers and personnel that make up the tour were fantastic. Our questions were answered, our concerns and fears were assuaged, the level of efficiency and expertise that went on behind the scenes meant that we could enjoy and appreciate the experience without having to worry about many of the things that normally make traveling to a foreign country challenging. Transportation, communication, food, lodging, it was all taken care of and I got to spend all of my time and energy experiencing South Korea, the people and how my own adoption story changed as a result of this wonderful, life-defining trip.
Adam was a participant of the Tour Korea! Dragon Tour 2016.Learn about Korea Tour! 2017