Understanding the need for a homeland tour after adoption

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Understanding the need for a homeland tour after adoption

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Many people who've adopted from other countries have the belief that they should help preserve their child's cultural history. And I think that we need to take the child's lead on this. If you've adopt an infant from whatever country that infant doesn't really have a culture and culture really becomes what you grow up in. So whatever country you are from, and you grow up in America, your cultural heritage is whatever part of America you've grown up in. So there are some kids, maybe older children, or even some younger children who in adolescence say, “You know, I really would like to take a trip back” to whatever country and if it's financially possibly and it's practical then parents might want to explore this, but I don't think it should ever be the parents to say, “Okay, you were born in China. We're going to go to China on this trip that our church is sponsoring and we're going to go back to the orphanage and take pictures.” If the child is not invested in that I really think it's counterproductive. There are kids who might like to do that and I've known some people who have wanted to do that and it's been very good for them, but I know many others who have gone back and were disinterested, and they were bored, and of course, they were three or four when they left the orphanage so they don't really have good memories of the orphanage, and the people they knew when they were there aren't there, and they probably wouldn't remember them anyway. So it becomes a trip in futility almost and something that people do, I think, to make themselves feel like they're doing something productive. I think it would be productive if the child said, “Okay, you know what? I'm 17, I'd like to take a trip to China,” or wherever, Columbia, “And let's see if we can organize something and maybe visit some people that I know, or if there's some birth relatives” then I think it might be a productive experience. But just to be able to say, “Okay, I'm doing the right thing because I'm taking her back to China because she was born in China,” I think that's the parent's issue and really not the child's.

View Gregory Keck, PhD's video on Understanding the need for a homeland tour after adoption...

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Gregory Keck, PhD

Founder & Director, Attachment & Bonding Center of Ohio

Gregory C. Keck, Ph.D., is the founder and director of the Attachment & Bonding Center of Ohio. He is an internationally known psychologist and trainer who addresses the issues of trauma, adoption, and post-adoption challenges. He and his staff provide attachment therapy for adoptive families whose children have experienced serious early childhood maltreatment prior to adoption. In 2012, he received the National Association of Social Workers State of Ohio Lifetime Achievement Award. He is the parent of two sons who were adopted in adolescence.

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