Ethiopian Adoptive Family Community
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Posts: 71
Reply with quote  #1 
Hi all, I know it has been ages since I posted, but now that J is 8 I am starting to think about planning for a homeland tour in the next year or two.  Given the cost I think we need that long to save up and plan.  Our agency does not seem to have anything planned and the tours from travel companies don't seem to be good for kids.  I saw one from a company called RITMO travel and tours but don't know anything about them.

Anyone else approaching this point?  If you have already gone how did you arrange it?

Stephanie (& Steve)
Mom to 2
Lauren, 11 yrs. (bio)
Jared 8 yrs (ET 2008)

"The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice."
Theodore Parker

Posts: 9
Reply with quote  #2 
We visited Ethiopia this winter with 7 y.old for a month.
My advice is do not do anything ready made  trips, but do  it yourself, go to personal places, with personal meaning to your child´s history.
Ignore totally anything your agency will tell you not to do. If you want to vist the orphanage etc, just show up. Do not stay in adoption agency related guesthouses.
Ethiopia is easy and very safe to travel, if you are not independent tarveller, buy Brad guide to Ethiopia 6th edition and basically you will find lot of practical advice. Join Lonely Planet´s Thorn Thee web group.
Plenty of time to learn some basic Amharic to use on daily situations.
Go to places where local children are and allow your child to be part of it, back off and give absolutely no candy or money to children.

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Posts: 215
Reply with quote  #3 
I believe many families here have traveled to Ethiopia with their kids and if you look at the Yahoo board you'll find several testimonies. You can of course hire a travel agency in Ethiopia and most will tailor fit your trip to meet whatever needs you have (our favorite is Village Ethiopia, although it can get pricey...some people just hire private drivers/translators/guides I think). You basically just need a driver, knowledgeable guide/translator, and a plan. Of course this depends on what info you have in hand - that is, if you want to find/visit family, places, etc. (I haven't actually heard of anybody going through an adoption agency-planned tour... do they even still offer these?)

We took our then 6 year old trips to Ethiopia last fall for 2 months (our jobs took us there). It was a mix of finding/seeing birth family, daily living, and tourism. It was a little weird at first as we were hit with some hard questions/accusations from our kids (good that some nagging thoughts in their heads came out so we could talk about it and clear up confusions or just deal with it). But by the end everything sort of normalized. 

I will say it can be pretty overwhelming traveling with kids in Ethiopia - I mean for the kids (OK, looong car rides were hardest on the grown ups who were driven crazy by the kids!). You know, you're in rural Ethiopia, you stop off at a market or tourist destination, and everybody stares and pressures you to buy something, kids beg for things, people touch your kids, follow you, asks questions -  at times I had to drag my slightly freaked-out kids from the car and carry them on my back (kids!).

In terms of meeting family, my kids mostly liked playing with the other kids around, getting lots of happy attention, and chasing their kitten and chicken . No major dramas, just kids being kids and figuring stuff out (every kid will act differently and I'm sure it would be a very different experience for an older adopted child). I actually think their favorite part of Ethiopia was seeing cows and goats everywhere (OK, the crocs and baboons were pretty cool too!). We were lucky enough to also take a quick trip to Tanzania for a bon-a-fide safari so if you can manage an extra bonus trip - do it!

Anyway, good luck and I hope you can save for an amazing trip!

Cindy (& Jerry)
Triplet Boys!!!
Home Dec, 2006, at 5 months old

Posts: 77
Reply with quote  #4 
I'm not sure if this travel agency has done an Ethiopian trip yet but it looks like they have one on the horizon. I heard about this travel agencies heritage trips (trips for adoptive families) from a child psychologist (working with children adopted internationally) that has gone on a few trips and had great things to say about the trips. It sounded like they really worked with the families (on an agenda/plan) while providing support throughout the trip. Might be something to look into...
DH Nick
Cullen 8 years old
Geremu 6 years old (June '08 ET)
Nasuuna 6 years old (November '11 UG)

Posts: 20
Reply with quote  #5 
Hi weberfamily, lots of Canadian families have now travelled back to Ethiopia with kids, including ours. We found it to be a fantastic experience for the kids and our whole family.

There is a Yahoo group focused on homeland travel where parents share experiences, great travel and shopping tips and contacts such as drivers. For people starting to think about travel back, I encourage you to join.

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Posts: 238
Reply with quote  #6 
we are most likely heading back to ET this upcoming March. We will be doing everything independent of our agency..we dont want anyone telling us what we can see/do/hear or say. we are hiring a driver and guide/translator...
ds samuel-8 bio
ds drew-7 bio
ds owen-5 home from ET 2-06 at 10 weeks old
dd tesfanesh-3 home from ET 9-08 at 5 months old
dd-Katherine-born nov 2010 bio

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Posts: 266
Reply with quote  #7 
We have plans to travel back to Ethiopia when our son is 6 yrs old, so two years from now.  We can't wait.  We'll also be doing everything independent of our agency.
dh Casey
Started adoption process 7/06 for China, LID 4/07
Concurrent adoption from Ethiopia, dossier submitted 6/08
Referral 12/21/09 for precious Melkamu who passed away 1/14/10
Referral 1/26/10 for sweet Mamush, home 5/28/10
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