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Where They Once Called Home

Estimated: 1 1/2 Hours

Insights into Homeland Tours

If you're thinking about or planning, a trip to your child's (or your own) birth country, many factors other than just travel influence how the trip goes: preparation around expectations; choosing the form of travel (adoption tour, family trip, solo adventure); an ongoing discussion after the trip that helps place the myriad of memories and novel experiences into a story that supports identity.

Hear directly from adopted persons and parents who have taken homeland tours. They will share their personal experiences and feelings from preparation to the lasting impact of their homeland travels.

Our expert will weigh in to help parents prepare for and plan their journey as our panel discusses:

1. The right age to travel, Preparing your child for the experiences and situations they may encounter

2. Preparing yourself to support your child during the journey

3. Travel tips and advice on how to organize the experiences and memories to make a lasting impact

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Session Leader:

Tara Linh Leaman

Tara is an African Vietnamese American transethnic adoptee, and knows well the challenges and successes of claiming more than one transformative experience. She is the Co-Founder and Vice President of AmerAsians Building Bridges consulting, which provides training and resources that enrich the lives of members of the adoption constellation and their allies. Her writings and presentations include The Power of Ambiguity, published in Adoption Today, and a keynote given at the National Press Club in Washington, DC entitled "Adoption in the Media: Why Context Matters." She has worked internationally and nationally advancing social change, including service as deputy director of the Donaldson Adoption Institute, a teacher in Johannesburg, South Africa, and currently serves on the board of Holt International Children's Services, one of the nation's oldest and largest child welfare agencies, and Holt International Foundation of China. Tara is a graduate of Cornell University and Georgetown University Law Center, and resides in the People's Republic of Brooklyn. Please feel free to connect with her on LinkedIn.

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Session Leader:

Janet McDonald

Janet McDonald and her husband, Steve, worked with the Gladney Center in Fort Worth, Texas, to adopt two children, from Russia in 1996. They were living in Connecticut at the time, and soon after moving to Northbrook, Illinois, in 2001 Janet became active in volunteer activities at The Cradle. In addition to many volunteer activities, Janet has been a member of the Board of Directors since December 2007.

She volunteered at her children's schools through their high school years and currently volunteers with USO of Illinois. She also has coordinated support groups for parents of children and adults with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.

Janet is a freelance editor specializing in cookbooks and fiction, and her hobbies include reading, cooking, knitting, and hiking.

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Session Leader:

Judy Stigger

Judy, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and adoptive mom, has been serving families and children in the field of adoption for over 30 years. Instrumental in launching The Cradle's international program, Judy was also a lead developer for Adoption Learning Partner's debut course, Conspicuous Families.

She serves on the board of Adoptive Families magazine, is the past president of Joint Council on International Children's Services, and is currently serving as the Clinical Director of Adoption Learning Partners.

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Session Leader:

Tessa Yun Hennessy

Tessa was born on June 2, 1995 in Nanning, China and was raised in a foster home until the age of one. On her first birthday she was adopted by Ray and Mary Hennessy. She is an only child and was raised in Whitewater, WI for most of her life. At 18 years old, she is an avid gymnast currently, attending Carroll University in Waukesha, WI. She is actively involved in InterVaristy Christian Fellowship at Carroll and runs her own online business. In her free time, Tessa enjoys being active and spending time with family and friends.

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