Homeland Journey: What did You Expect?

Sometimes, children who are adopted trans-racially get to return to their place of birth at some point in their life. There are many circumstances that would facilitate that.

There are also many reasons why a person would feel completely satisfied staying right where they are, feeling indifferent or even a sense of avoidance at the thought of “returning.”

For me, I was driven. I felt a sense of urgency, some degree of necessity, ready to break through to a part of my lived experience that had been yearning to breath and stretch and stand and be, see, do and come alive after decades of fear. I wrote about that in a previous post on my reunion.

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The “Homeland Journey” could mean many different things for different people. Whatever it is that brought you to such an experience, I hope these simple reflection questions would help you make sense of it with gentleness, intention, care and hope.

Additionally, that they would give you permission to be afraid of what could happen, of what could be missed, of the risk it takes, of what it might cost you.

6 Questions that helped me understand what I needed during my Homeland Journey:

  1. Who’s going? Who’s with me? Who knows I’m going on this trip? How long have I planned for this? What did it take to get here? Who’s cheering for me, praying for me, checking in on me?

 

  1. What are some hopes I have for this experience? What will it look like to have a “good” trip? What do I expect to happen? What would need to happen in order for me to feel like it went well? What about this makes me feel excited? What am I looking forward to?

 

  1. What are some fears I have about this experience? What do I desire? And what will happen if I don’t get it? What do I hope to avoid? What does “deviation from the plan” look like? What would “wreck” me?

 

  1. Who can I turn to for support during these next few weeks? Who do I know there? Who could I call? Who is in email contact with me? Text? App? And for when I return to the U.S?

 

  1. What might be some things I need to be mindful about overall? What are some personal cautions I bring to this trip? What are situations that are typically stressful/difficult for me, temptations, trials, tendencies, emotional struggles, and how would I know they’ve come up? What are my “warning” signs? What will support or self-care look like in those situations?

 

  1. What does it look like to “seek first…” before, during, and after this trip? And how might each person in my family and support system experience that uniquely, specifically and generally, here and now as well as there and then?

 

These are basic discussion starters for your journal. They’re meant to inspire your already-incredible thinking so that there’d be a sense of intentionality along with an open, flexible, courageous heart to face whatever comes your way.

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I had a lot come my way, so I’m a little biased to help folks in advance as they prepare to navigate this occasion.

What will the trip be like for you? I just know you’ll get to decide how to embrace it with confidence and curiosity, intention and flexibility.

I’d love to hear from anyone in the adoption community about your experience, if any of these questions resonate with you, if there were ideas that helped you during your “homeland journey.” Leave us a comment!

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2 thoughts on “Homeland Journey: What did You Expect?

  1. Oh so helpful. Love all of these and will be talking about them as a family before and bringing these questions with us on future trips to keep our hearts focused on being intentional and making space for any and all of the answers that may be said, felt, or even when there isn’t a response. Keeping in mind that answers change over time and trying to not finish our kids sentences. That is hard to do! It seems particularly dangerous in the trip setting. Finding ways to support each other in the wide range of emotions homeland journeys produce. Dusting off the jet-lag to make sure we can be very fun parents when our kids have moments of finding total joy in experiencing their culture and homeland. It didn’t seem obvious to ask these questions of myself either, as the focus is on my kids thoughts about the trip, but realizing now that asking these of ourselves is helpful in preparing a parent’s heart and thinking about how I can best support them.

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    1. Ah I’m so glad these are helpful to you Jynell!! And I must say a lot of that has to do with your hopeful and diligent attitude as y’all are so pro-active in supporting your kids, I really see that. And I’m so excited for y’all, I’ll be rooting for you from MN!!

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