Supporting Adoptees and Families Explore Personal & 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 in the U.S. We are dedicated to providing a unique and comprehensive birthland tour with post adoption services backed by years of experience.
Tour Korea Will Be Taking Place June 16 – June 27, 2024. Online registration opens Monday, October 2, 2023, at 8:00 a.m. (CT)
The total cost of the tour is $4,995 per person. View our Cost Summary and Payment Schedule at the link below to learn more details about fees and payment deadlines.Cost Summary & Payment Schedule
Learn More About This Once-In-A-Lifetime Travel Experience at an Upcoming Online Information Session
Learn about this unique birthland travel experience! Join adoptee and Korea Program Manager/Post-Adoption Worker, Kelli Hanson, for one of our upcoming information meetings about Tour Korea 2024. This free online information session will provide prospective travelers with details about the upcoming tour, including a sample trip itinerary, services, fees, registration, and a general overview of what to expect and look forward to!
Tour Korea 2024 Online Information Meeting Registration
A Trip to Your 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.
- 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 registered participants for travel through webinar-based orientation sessions. (Note: Our free online information sessions take place before registration and provide of overview of the trip for prospective travelers).
- Visits and works with all four major adoption agencies in Korea — Eastern Social Welfare Society (previously Eastern Child Welfare Society), Holt Children’s Services, Korea Social Service and Korea Welfare Services (previously Social Welfare Society).
- Provides accurate, supportive, and experienced translation, as well as cultural understanding.
- 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.
We Also Provide Additional Post Adoption Services During Tour Korea
Additional services may include:
- Arranging meetings with individuals important to an adoptee’s birth and adoption stories, including foster mothers and birth family. Visits are initiated by U.S. placing agency.
- Conducting searches, in cooperation with Korean agencies, for birth family members. (Searches are initiated by U.S. placing agency.)
- Personalizing and planning side trips for adoptees to visit places of personal significance, such as birth clinic, city of birth, orphanage, etc.
Opportunities To Discover Korea and Yourself
Tour Korea highlights the history of South Korea and offers opportunities for participants to learn more about their personal history and identity.
Tour Korea typically includes:
- The opportunity to visit adoptee’s adoption agency
- Traditional and modern cultural performances
- A ride on Korea’s famed bullet train
- A tour of a Buddhist monastery
Cities we will visit may include, but are not limited to: Seoul, Gwangju, Daegu, Ulsan, and Busan.
Children’s Home tour staff includes: A post adoption worker, country specialist, adopted adult, and adoptive parent. We provide two pre-trip orientation meetings — in person or live via webinar — that address cross-cultural etiquette, gift-giving, post adoption services, itineraries, destination literature, and more.
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), and support/expertise provided by Children’s Home staff and volunteers.
Package exclusions: side trip (post-adoption services) transportation expenses, emergency transportation (and translation) to clinic/hospital or early return to hotel, some meals, personal purchases, and gifts. These additional costs are outlined in orientation meetings and tour materials.
Korea Post Adoption Services
Children’s Home can help you create a 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 you foster care before you joined your adoptive families. This meeting usually takes place at the Korean agency in a meeting conducted with an English-speaking Korean agency social worker.
- Birth family search: Using the 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 and includes a U.S. and Korean file review.
- Re-establishing previous birth relative contact: 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 the existing contact information is inaccurate, search fees may apply. Transportation costs are assessed as applicable. Note: This service is for adoptees already in contact with their birth families.
- Birth clinic and/or hospital visit: Adoptees/adoptive families visit the hospital or clinic where adoptee(s) were born. 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 forgoing a scheduled itinerary event. Additional side trip fees apply. Side trips may be subject to a $50 cancellation fee. Children’s Home will inform travelers of transportation sode trip fees prior to departure to allow time to decide whether or not to proceed.
- File Review and Meeting: Adoptees may request a U.S. and Korean file review in advance of travel with the option to review their file at the agency in Korea, in a meeting conducted with an English-speaking Korean agency social worker. The cost for this service is $150.
- Please note the following age guidelines: File review meeting and birth family search and meeting are available to adoptees over the age of 13 for Eastern Social Welfare Society (previously Eastern Child Welfare Society) and Korea Welfare Services (previously Social Welfare Society), and over the age or 18 for Holt Children’s Services and Korea Social Service.
Frequently Asked Questions
My/my child’s adoption was not done through Children’s Home Society or Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota. Can we still travel on your tour and use the post adoption services you offer?
Yes! Regardless of your placing agency, you may participate in Tour Korea. If you are interested, we can help coordinate post-adoption services with your US placing agency.
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 institutions you visit—the Korean adoption agency and birth mothers’ home. There is no minimum, but donations often start from $50.
- Meals: 8-10 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. The cost is approximately $150 per person.
- Emergency Transportation: to clinic/hospital or an early return to the hotel.
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 typically range in age from 10 to 40. Usually, 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 adopted youth are 13-20 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: air-conditioned buses transport participants throughout the tour, but please expect to do lots of walking!
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. You are always able to request PAS at any time!
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 birth mother, 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 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 highly encourage you to participate in as many of the tour activities as possible. After all, you will have paid for them! There is scheduled free time throughout the trip as well. We 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 and the single mothers’ home. 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 discoveries 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.
Please note: If you do travel alone, there is an additional cost of $900 for single occupancy.
Do I need a special travel visa and/or immunizations to travel to Korea?
The Korea Electronic Travel Authorization (K-ETA) is required for foreigners who intend to enter South Korea for tourism, visiting relatives, participating in events or meetings, and business purposes other than profitable activities. You will need to apply one month in advance of travel. 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.Apply for the Korea Electronic Travel Authorization Here
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 the number of travelers will determine any added costs for the side trip. Your PAS caseworker 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, other relatives, or a close friend.