This past July, I had the privilege of accompanying three families on the ROOTS tour to South Korea. The ROOTS tour is a two week trip that provides Korean adoptees and their families the opportunity to see their homeland and to visit SWS and meet their foster families. The trip included stops in several cities including Seoul, Daegu, Mt. Seorak and Geonju. The trip was clearly special to all of us in very unique ways. As an adoption social worker who has worked with many families who have either adopted from Korea or who are in the process of adopting from Korea, it was important for me to see where the children and families are later in life and if the training we provide families is carried through. It didn't take long for me to realize that the adoptive parents were completely committed to ensuring that their children had a connection to their birth culture from a very young age and that this trip was a large part of this mission. Most of the parents have been saving for this trip for many years and did not want their children to miss out on this opportunity.
Understandably, the children experienced a host of emotions during the trip but the overall theme was that they were grateful for the experience. Some also expressed genuine interest in going back to South Korea for pleasure and/or as an intern for SWS. The adoptive parents were very encouraging of this and stated that they would help to make this possible for their children in the future.
I feel honored that I was able to share this experience with these three families and like the children, I will be forever grateful for the experience. Dylan Shrader, LMSW, Spence-Chapin.
You can see Dylan's pictures from this trip on Flickr.