Supporting adoptees and their families as they explore personal and cultural connections in korea since 1986
We offer personalized post adoption services, cultural expertise and caring support to help Korean adoptees learn more about their Korean origins, culture and people important to their birth and adoption stories.
We work with adoptees from any U.S. or Korean adoption agency who live across the U.S. We are dedicated to providing a unique, comprehensive birthland tour with post adoption services backed by years of experience.
Registration for Tour Korea 2019 will be posted in November. Our Dragon Tour will travel June 12-June 25, 2019. Our Tiger Tour will travel June 26-July 9, 2019. If you have questions about the 2019 tour, please contact Caroline Ticarro (firstname.lastname@example.org, 612.440.0481)
Learn about Tour Korea 2019
We will host a number of information sessions this fall to help families learn more about Tour Korea. These meetings will take place in person and online. Additional dates will be added to the website as they are set.
In-Person Information Session
CH/LSS Office, 1605 Eustis Street Saint Paul, MN 55108
Saturday, September 29, 2018, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. CT
Please R.S.V.P. to Caroline Ticarro (email@example.com, 612.440.0481)
A trip to one’s birth country is a unique and treasured journey
As you consider birthland tours, you will find that Children’s Home is best prepared and qualified to guide you on this once-in-a lifetime trip. Children’s Home Tour Korea!…
- welcomes participants from throughout the United States, regardless of placing agency.
- is not a typical group tour. Everyone comes to Tour Korea! with the commonality of adoption; privacy is respected and lifelong friendships are formed.
- prepares participants for travel via in-person and webinar-based orientation sessions.
- visits and works with all four major adoption agencies in Korea — Eastern Social Welfare Society, Holt Children’s Services, Korea Social Service and Social Welfare Society.
- conducts searches, in cooperation with Korean agencies, for birth family members. Searches are initiated by U.S. placing agency.
- arranges meetings with individuals important to an adoptee’s birth and adoption stories, including foster mothers. Visits are initiated by U.S. placing agency.
- provides accurate, supportive and experienced translation, as well as cultural understanding.
- personalizes and plans side trips for adoptees to visit places of personal significance — finding site, birth clinic, city of birth, orphanage, etc.
- gives travelers activity options, free-time and supportive check-in group meetings throughout the tour.
- supports participants before, during and after the tour experience.
- is an especially significant personal journey when shared with family.
both tours offer opportunities to discover korea & yourself
Both tours will stop at the same destinations. These locations highlight the history of South Korea and also offer opportunities for participants to learn more about their personal history and identity.
Both Dragon and Tiger tours include:
- 2 nights in historic Gyeongju/Kyongju
- 2 nights in Pusan/Busan
- Visit adoptee’s adoption agency
- Play date at an orphanage
- Traditional and modern cultural performances
- Bullet train ride
- Ocean beach visit and swimming
- Visit to an active Buddhist monastery
- Sight-seeing at Haeinsa Temple to view of Tripitaka Koreana
- Visit the Korean Demilitarized Zone
- Discussion and exchange at a single mothers’ shelter
- Korean War Memorial Museum
- Explore the Korean Folk Village
- Visit a Korean boys’ high school
- A fun, Korean cooking class
- All but eight meals
The tour packages include: hotel accommodations, daily breakfast and most lunches and dinners; sightseeing by private motor coach and all admission fees; professional, English-speaking in-country guides; baggage handling; all group transportation; and post adoption services (as applicable), support and expertise provided by Children’s Home staff and volunteers.
Children’s Home tour staff includes a post adoption worker, country specialist, adopted adult and adoptive parent. We provide two pre-trip, three-hour orientation meetings—in person or live via webinar—that address cross-cultural etiquette, language, gift giving, post adoption services, land and flight itineraries, and destination literature, and more.
Package exclusions: Side trip transportation expenses, some meals, personal purchases, individual tips for in-country tour staff (collected once at the end of tour by Children’s Home staff) and gifts. These additional costs are outlined in orientation meetings and tour materials.
Children’s Home can help you create a uniquely meaningful birthland tour experience, specific to your own birth and adoption story. We provide the following post adoption services, as applicable and as information is available in the Korean file:
- Foster mother meeting | Adoptees/Adoptive families meet with the person who provided their foster care before they joined their adoptive families. This meeting is included in the price of the tour; transportation costs are assessed as applicable.
- Tour-related birth family search | Using information in the Korean agency file, a search is conducted to find an adoptee’s birth family. If the search results in a meeting, the initial meeting is scheduled by Children’s Home staff. This service is expedited as part of the tour and includes: communication with birth family before and during the tour and translation of meeting(s). The cost for this service is $350; if no current contact information is available or cannot be obtained, no search fee is incurred. Note: Birth family search services are available to adoptees over the age of 13 (in most cases) for Easter Social Welfare Society and Social Welfare Society; and over the age of 18 for Korea Social Service and Holt Children’s Services.
- Re-establishing previous birth relative contact | For adoptees already in contact with their birth families. Children’s Home, in cooperation with the Korean agency, re-establishes contact with relatives and plans an initial meeting (including arrangements, translation, etc.). The cost for this service is $150. If existing contact information is inaccurate, search fees may apply. Transportation costs are assessed as applicable.
- Birth clinic, hospital, and/or finding site visit | Adoptees/Adoptive families visit the hospital or clinic where they were born, and/or the site where they were found. This often requires a side trip where additional costs are assessed as applicable.
- Special arrangements for side trips in Korea | Children’s Home assists with visiting additional locations of personal importance not included in the tour itinerary. In some cases, side trips may require an overnight stay or forgoing a scheduled itinerary event. Additional transportation fees apply. Side trips may be subject to a $50 cancellation fee. Children’s Home will inform travelers of transportation fees prior to departure to allow time to decide whether or not to proceed.
- File Meeting | The adoptee reviews his/her file at the agency in Korea, in a meeting conducted with an English-speaking Korean agency social worker. This service is included in the price of the tour. Note: File review meeting is available to adoptees over the age of 13 for Eastern Social Welfare Society, Social Welfare Society and Holt Children’s Services; and over the age of 18 for Korea Social Service.
- DNA Sample/Deposit/Visit Ι This service is available to adoptees born prior to 1990. An adoptee provides a DNA sample to a national missing-persons database via a visit to a police headquarters in Seoul. The adoptee’s DNA is cross-matched against previously submitted samples to search for a match. This requires a visit to a police station in Seoul. The adoptee is accompanied by a Tour staff member. The cost for this service is $25.
My/my child’s adoption was not done through Children’s Home Society of Minnesota or Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota. Can we still travel on your tour and use the post adoption services you offer?
Regardless of your placing agency, you can travel on either of our Korea birthland tours.
Besides the stated cost of the tour, what are additional costs that I can expect to incur?
In addition to the Children’s Home tour fee and the cost of your airline ticket, other expenses include:
- Korean Post Adoption Services | Fees apply to some services you may request. Please refer to the Korean Post Adoption Services section listed above.
- Gifts | Gift-giving is an integral part of Korean culture. As part of the orientation sessions, you will be given suggestions for appropriate and affordable gifts for foster parents, Korean agency workers and/or birth relatives you are arranging to meet.
- Donations | Optional monetary donations for any of the three institutions you visit—the Korean adoption agency, orphanage and birthmothers’ home. Donations start from $50.
- Tip Fee | A $10/day tour Tip Fee per person is collected for guides and drivers when in country. This is collected by Children’s Home staff.
- Meals | 6–8 meals are not included in the itinerary; Korean meals average $10-15 each and do not require a tip.
- Spending Money | $300–$400 per person is suggested; budget appropriately for larger purchases like a Hanbok (traditional Korean clothing), etc.
- Trip Insurance | We require tour participants to purchase trip insurance; approximate cost $85-100/person.
Expenses will be addressed in detail at Tour Korea! Orientation Sessions and in the tour literature sent to all participants after registration.
What’s the average age of the adoptees who go on this tour? What about elementary aged children; is this an appropriate tour for them?
Adoptees traveling on Tour Korea! range in age from 10 to 45. Typically, there are about the same number of Korean adopted adults on a tour as there are teenagers. Younger children have traveled as well, but most adoptees are 13-18 years old. Occasionally an activity and the subsequent topics of discussion, such as the single mothers’ home visit, may not be appropriate for children under nine. Korean agencies enforce a minimum age requirement for post adoption services. This is explained in the Post Adoption Services application.
Past participants say that they appreciated and enjoyed traveling with adoptees of different ages—each person at a different stage in his/her adoption journey and each with a different perspective to share. Tour Korea! is structured to include activities that appeal to a range of ages.
One other consideration to note: There is a lot of walking on the tour, although chartered, air-conditioned buses transport participants every day throughout the tour.
How long will it take before I know if a search for my birth family has been successful?
Depending on the circumstances of each case, some searches can be completed more quickly than others. After you register for Tour Korea!, you will receive a confirmation packet that includes Korean Post Adoption Services (PAS) registration forms. Use these forms to request a birth family search. We encourage you to complete the PAS forms and submit them at your earliest convenience, preferably, a minimum of 3-6 months in advance.
Once we receive your PAS forms, our Tour PAS case worker contacts you to clarify your service requests and talk to you about possible outcomes. The PAS case worker then formalizes your request and sends it to the appropriate agency in Korea. You can expect to hear from your PAS case worker on a monthly basis as to the progress of your case and you are welcome to call and check in.
It is always our hope to complete birthparent searches before your departure to Korea. In more difficult cases, the search continues while you are in Korea and, when possible, is completed during your trip.
I was found and placed for adoption rather than my birthparent placing me with an agency. Can I still do a search? What post adoption services are available for me?
In this situation, the Children’s Home Tour Post Adoption Services (PAS) worker will review your file with the Korean agency to see if a search would be possible. In the case that a search is not possible (due to lack of name or Korean citizenship number available for the birthmother, or if the adoptee was originally found with no identifying information, etc.), there are other post adoption services from which you may choose. These include a visit to the place you were found, the clinic/site where you were born, the branch office of the agency through which you were placed, and others as applicable. To determine which service is appropriate for you, discuss your case with your PAS case worker.
I have a friend in Korea that I would like to get together with while I’m there. Can I do this on the tour?
Yes. However, we would like you to participate in as many of the tour activities as possible. After all, you will have paid for them! There are a couple nights on the tour when you can be on your own for dinner; there is also a host-family night; and the last day of the tour is open for free time. We would welcome you to use one of these times to meet up with your friend. If you prefer to opt out of an activity on the itinerary to make time for a personal meeting, please let us know in advance.
I am an adoptee thinking of traveling alone on the tour; is this okay?
We do not require you to travel with anyone. However, past adoptee participants have shared that they get more out of the trip and feel a greater sense of fulfillment from the experience if they are able to travel with a family member or a close friend who can provide support and encouragement.
The more emotional activities on the tour are visits to the Korean adoption agency, the single mothers’ home, and an orphanage. But for many adoptees, this trip is the first time to return to their country of birth. Absorbing and participating in the culture—and, for many, being a part of the “ethnic majority” for the first time—can be an amazing and awesome experience. We have found there is a need not only for comfort and support, but for a family member or close friend to share in new discovery, and to recognize and be part of the new information that is accessed in Korea.
Traveling with a family member or close friend is also extremely helpful upon returning to the United States, when the “processing” of the trip happens. Once home, adoptees often benefit from being able to talk to someone else who shared the experience. It is difficult to explain and convey the tour experiences to someone who did not share in the travel.
Do I need a special travel visa and/or immunizations to travel to Korea?
No visa is currently required to travel to Korea. Children’s Home Tour Korea! staff will inform all participants of any changes as applicable. We encourage you to review your immunization record with your doctor or travel clinic to determine if any immunizations are recommended prior to departure.
I was born in a city that is not on your itinerary, but I really want to go to that place; can this be arranged?
Yes, side trips to visit a place that is important to you personally—such as your birthplace or a clinic location—can be arranged through your Children’s Home Tour Post Adoption Services (PAS) worker. The distance, form of transportation and number of travelers will determine any added costs for the side trip. Your PAS case worker will inform you of the proposed date, cost and arrangements for your side trip in advance of your departure from the U.S. so you can decide before you leave whether or not to proceed. Please note that choosing to take a side trip may require you to opt out of a group activity on the tour itinerary.
Are siblings who were not adopted from Korea also welcome on the tour?
Yes! In addition to Korean adoptees, Tour Korea! welcomes families traveling with birth children as well as adopted children from countries other than Korea. Sometimes the Korean adoptee is a parent traveling with his/her children, or an adult traveling with a spouse, grandparent or other relatives.
For More Information
We are happy to help answer any questions you may have. Please contact Tour Korea! Director, Caroline Ticarro with additional questions, or if you would like to be connected with a past participant who is willing to talk with you about his/her Tour experience.
Caroline Ticarro | firstname.lastname@example.org | 612.440.0481