Frequently Asked Questions

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.
- Albert Einstein

Interested in Adopteen, but need a little more info on specific topics? Take a look below, and see if we might have already answered it!

Adopteen Camp-Conferences/Midpoint

What is the Adopteen Camp-Conference?

Most adoption conferences focus on equipping adoptive parents. Adopteen is the only Camp-Conference in the world focused exclusively on adoptees, imagined entirely by adoptees. At Adopteen, you will have the opportunity to share in the lives of the amazing individuals who make up the vibrant adoptee community.

The Adopteen Camp-Conference provides an environment that promotes exploration of self within community. It is a five day, four night event highlighted by small and large group activities, meaningful reflection, fun excursions, and a variety of other activities that will make your Adopteen experience unforgettable. It is a rare opportunity for you to develop closer relationships with fellow adoptees and continue your own journey of self-exploration with adoptees from all over.

It’s the time of your life. Let us prove it to you.

What is the Adopteen Midpoint?

The short answer is that Adopteen Midpoint is a condensed, shorter version of our Adopteen Camp-Conferences. At two days and three nights long, with only 50 adoptees, we like to think of it as the short and sweet Adopteen. There are more differences than that, however. Whereas the Adopteen Camp-Conferences typically explore the surrounding area in two day long trips, Midpoints focus all their fun on campus. Midpoint will typically be located in the south, so that it will be a little warmer during the Martin Luther King Jr weekend that we always host it during, and we always try to stay on a campground. This means you can generally expect some outdoorsy activities, fireside chats/scary stories, and cabins with a lot of bunks in one room. We think it's the cozier version of our Camp-Conference, with a greater percentage of our time spent getting to know each camper.

How old do I have to be to attend the Adopteen Camp-Conference/Midpoint?

Both events are for adoptees age 13 and up. Aside from the fact that Adopteen is a teen-centered program, this age limit accounts for the nature of the discussions and workshops that may occur during the week of activities, which can hit on topics that may be harder to relate to for our younger friends.

In the past, we have had mature 12 year olds attend our events, and older adoptees are absolutely encouraged to attend. 20 years old? 22? 26? We try to make our Camp-Conferences substantial and meaningful for everybody. The unique energy and environment of Adopteen would not be what it is without the insight and participation of older adoptees.

We encourage families with younger adoptees to take a look at our tentative program schedules and decide if it is something they believe they could actively engage in every day. Days at Adopteen are long and occasionally one of our younger attendees will have a hard time with the schedule, especially if they have never attended an overnight camp before.

Where and when will the 2018 National Adopteen Camp-Conferences take place?

We are bringing events to Texas, Colorado, and Minnesota in 2018. Adopteen Midpoint will be in Austin on the YMCA Camp Twin Lakes campus from January 13-15 (Register Here!) this year, while Adopteen Colorado will be located on the University of Denver campus from June 27-July 1 and Adopteen Minnesota will be held at the University of Minnesota - Minneapolis from July 25-29.

What will we be doing during the Camp-Conference?

A basic program outline for Midpoint weekend is available here. Check our website soon for event pages and schedules for Adopteen Colorado and Minnesota!

Topics for workshops held throughout the week will be chosen by YOU from a list that our Ado pteen committee has created. These short classes will be roughly 40 minutes, highly interactive, and touch on topics of interest to you. Past Camp-Conferences have included presentations about: What is the Adoption Process, Survival 101, Dancing, Fashion of Chinese Minorities. If you have suggestions for possible topics, please email us and let us know! After all, learning about something you care about is probably a lot more fun than learning about something you don’t.

Our “Pow Wow” is a discussion where the topics and direction are dictated by you. These discussions may take on various different forms, with some facilitated in a large group setting and others in a small group setting.

The rest of the Camp-Conference is really an excess of bonding, team-building, and hang out time, with a whole bunch of having-fun thrown in here and there :)

What does the registration fee cover?

Your registration fee covers accommodations, transportation, activities, and all of your meals for the entire camp (only dinner on the first day, and only breakfast on the last day). Essentially, your fee covers everything except flight ticket/road-trip gas and personal spending.

Do teens of all ages do activities together all the time?

Not necessarily. There will be times where we will subdivide the large group into age-relevant, smaller groups for discussions, games, and other fun activities as topics of interest are bound to change between age groups.

Is it co-ed?

Yes. Adopteen is for everyone – discussions and activities will all be co-ed. Different genders will be assigned to separate rooms, though they will usually be on the same floor.

Do my parents need to be around for the duration of the Camp-Conference?

Your parents do not need to be around during the Camp-Conference - more details regarding traveling alone are discussed above. In fact, Camp-Conference activities throughout the day and accommodations are exclusively for the teens – no parents allowed! As the goal is to create a teen-only space where all activities are teen-centered, teen-driven, and teen-run. We have provided a list of various hotel recommendations and things to do in the area on each event page in the event that your parents do come along with you and want to stay close by.

My friends are also adoptees. May they come to the Conference?

Absolutely! This event is open to all adopted teens, regardless of which adoption agency they are adopted through or country they were born in. Spread the word! We would hate to have so much fun without them.

I'm Flying In - Help!

• We will provide airport pick-ups and drop-offs from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport for Austin, Denver International Airport for Denver, and Minneapolis-Saint Paul Internation Airport for Minnesota. Please send your travel itinerary to us as soon as it is finalized. We will coordinate pick-ups to pick up as many campers as we can in one trip, so you may need to wait a while, depending on your flight arrival time.

• Please note that our policy states that we will not go into the airport for campers flying with Unaccompanied Minor status. You must be able to make your way to Passenger Arrivals outside for your pick-up. Please see Unaccompanied Minor for more info.

• We are unable to meet any campers at their arrival gate or baggage claim - they will need to go to the Passenger Arrival area outside the airport.

How do you accommodate teens that are traveling alone?

• For all you out-of-towners, we want you to know that we have everything covered. We immensely appreciate your enthusiasm for Adopteen and thank you for braving the heinous security lines/absurd gas prices to come hang out with us!

• We understand that a lot of families would rather not make the long trip with their teens. No worries! If you are flying out to the conference without your parents, we will be staying at camps and/or campuses for the entire time during your stay.

• If you have specific preferences or rooming requests, please let us know, and we will try our best to accommodate your needs.

• Please note that our policy states that we are not allowed to go into the airport for unaccompanied minors. You must be able to go to Passenger Pick-up for your pick-up. Please see Unaccompanied Minor for more info.

Where will we be staying?

• In Austin, we will be in cabin lodgings that sleep 12 people a side, with two full bathrooms for each side.

• For Denver, we will be in student housing at the University of Denver, Nelson Hall. Nelson Hall has suites that consist of two to four bedrooms (with two beds each) that share a bathroom and common entry space.

• For Minneapolis, we will be in student housing at the University of Minnesota, likely in Middlebrook Hall. Middlebrook has double style rooms sleeping two people, with community bathrooms that serve up to eight rooms.

What do I need to do beforehand?

• Please be sure to download and complete all of the required release forms to ensure that you will be able to participate in our events! Release forms must be scanned and emailed to info@adopteen.org or mailed to 6920 S Holly Circle, Centennial, CO 80112 by one week before the first day of the event. Any campers under eighteen that does not have their release forms signed and turned in by the first day of camp will not be allowed to check in.

• Provide your travel plans regardless of if you are flying or not. These plans may be emailed to info@adopteen.org. Please note that if the address that you registered with is in the same state as the event, we will automatically assume that you are driving in and do not need an airport pick up.

• The cost for each camper is $280 for Midpoint, $580 for Camp-Conferences for ages 13+. Payment is required by the date that registration for your event closes (one month before the event).

Will I fit in if I have never attended before?

“Brand new” is fantastic. Although we do have returning campers, many attendees are new and strangers to the Adopteen experience. The entire goal of the Camp-Conference is building connections. We want everyone to come in as strangers and leave as best friends. We want to reach as many adoptees as we can.

Adopteen would be nothing without the support of a strong network of adoptees and it is extremely exciting and gratifying to watch the Adopteen community continue to grow. That being said, the experience every year is new for everyone – new places, new topics, new activities, and new friends.

Being new should not be a factor in your decision on whether or not to hang out with us! Adopteen would not be the same without the inspiring new individuals we meet every year and we can’t wait to meet you!

How will recent adoptees fit in?

The Adopteen Camp-Conference is open to all teens who are adopted. We have teens attend from all over North America (so far), some who were adopted when they were 17 years old and others who were adopted as infants. Admittedly, the teens who were adopted when they were younger make up the majority of our attendees, but a significant number of our campers were adopted more recently.

Whatever the situation, we always try our best to make sure that everyone has a blast every event! It is important to us that we incorporate diverse experiences from all of our adoptees.

Will adoptees with special needs fit in?

We certainly think so. However, we do recognize that, depending on the special need, certain activities throughout the week may be challenging. The decision is up to you and your parents, as you know your situation best. Having said that, you will be responsible for any special resources that you may need to participate in the various activities during the conference; e.g. signers, wheelchair, medication, etc. Although we hope to offer these resources in the near future, we currently do not have the ability to provide these services.

Please let us know what we can do to help or if you have any further questions.

Do I have to participate in something that makes me feel uncomfortable?

No, absolutely not. We understand that certain topics that surface during the Camp-Conference are not “normal” topics of conversation and that contributing to these discussions can be difficult. Your participation in such scenarios is completely up to you.

Of course, in such discussions, you are not obligated to share your thoughts, but participating as an active listener is far more fulfilling than sitting out entirely. Honestly, we feel that these teen-focused conversations are, without question, what makes the Adopteen Camp-Conference experience invaluable and worthwhile.

With Adopteen, respect is everything. Please try your best to be attentive and invested during discussions and activities throughout the week.

How much pocket money should I bring?

Every meal will be covered from dinner on the first day to breakfast on the last day. Your basic meals are covered, and snacks will be provided throughout the event. We will be going on a few excursions where they may have gift shops, so bring money if you prefer, but it is not required.

I have suggestions about the Conference. Who should I talk to?

Us! We love ideas and suggestions. If you have any feedback, positive or negative, please email us at info@adopteen.org. We want to make sure this conference truly reflects your interests and meets your needs.

Adoptees Giving Back - Orphanage Service Trips

Why did you organize this Adoptees Giving Back – Orphanage Service Trip?

The idea of giving back to those less fortunate than us and the motivation to create cultural connections have always been the highest goals in Adopteen’s vision and mission. The Adoptees Giving Back – Orphanage Service Trip (AGBOST) is the most exciting step towards focusing this vision. It is easy to talk about giving back, talk about ways to help, and talk about endless plans. This is finally something we can do and do well! Not as hardcore as Peace Corps service trips to Ghana, but not as easy as a casual Heritage Tour, and much more personal.

What does the Adoptees Giving Back – Orphanage Service Trip look like?

The Adoptees Giving Back – Orphanage Service Trip (AGBOST) is a 10-day trip to China, organized by Adopteen, with the intention to reach out and give back to the children still waiting in the orphanages. The itinerary is split, with the first two days spent touring the most popular sites in Beijing and the next seven days spent working at the orphanage in the designated province. The last day is spent back in Beijing, reflecting, relaxing, and preparing to say goodbye.

During the first half of the trip, the group will touch base every night for orphan care training and preparation, as well as for some team-building/get-to-know-you activities. It is very important to us that the entire group is on the same page and in good spirits!

Once we arrive in the orphanage province, work at the orphanage starts the following day. Orphanage responsibilities may include: holding and feeding the infants, playing therapeutic games with the children, “learning” various subjects in class with the older children, painting and decorating orphanage rooms, and folding laundry and setting up cribs

At the end of each day, the group meets up and checks in for a quick debrief about the day. Any problems or concerns will be addressed every night during this time.

When is AGBOST, and where are you going?

Applications for the 2017 AGBOST are now closed. We have not yet determined our next trip, but generally our trips will be in the summer - late June or July. We will announce Summer 2018 AGBOST dates in October of 2017.

Who can apply to join the Adoptees Giving Back – Orphan Service Trip?

The Adoptees Giving Back – Orphan Service Trip is open to all Chinese adoptees who are 15 years old and older on or before June 1st. There is NO UPPER AGE LIMIT!

What does the trip fee cover?

Inclusions: All hotels and breakfast; all In-country train and bus rides; all tickets/entry fees for sightseeing; all meals in Beijing and most in the volunteer province; tour guide and driver service; tips or gratuity; orphanage services and training; AGBOST T-Shirt.

Exclusions: International airfares; Passport and China Visa; personal expenses/spending money; select lunches and dinners in the volunteer province

We generally advise that, including trip fee, you should expect to spend between $3,500 and $4,000 total for the trip.

What does the application process look like - any tips?

Applications for the 2018 AGBOST will open in November, and close in February.

The AGBOST application is a seven-part questionnaire - in addition we will ask for the contact information of three professional references (teachers, supervisors, etc.). The word limit on each question is 600 words - we highly encourage you to use as much space as it takes for us to get a clear picture of you. Think of it this way - we are traveling with you for ten days, and don't want to sign up for ten days with you unless we feel like we know you pretty well and you would be a great traveler. If you respond to a question with only a couple of sentences and someone else writes an entire essay, who gave us better insight into themselves and their motivations?

This of course is not to say that we value quantity over quality. We value however much space is necessary to answer the question adequately.

Lastly, we highly encourage you to think very hard about your motivations for attending this trip. First and foremost, we will take applicants who express clearly a passion in their hearts for children and giving back. If you are passionate mostly about visiting your roots, traveling with your friends, etc - we recommend the excellent Heritage Tours that are hosted by CCAI.

Who should I ask to be my reference?

It is our hope that your references are mentors or teachers who have known you long enough to make an honest and personal evaluation of you! We want to know who you are and how you do in exciting, but new and possibly stressful situations. Find references who are happy to show you off! You would be surprised how many references have not said good things about their applicant. Bonus advice: Please ask your reference permission before listing them as a reference. It does not look good for your application if your reference does not expect our phone call.

May parents attend this trip as adult chaperones?

Unfortunately, the AGBOST trips are only open to adoptees. Of course, if you wish to join your son/daughter at the end of the Service Trip to continue touring, you are more than welcome to!

If you are interested in a trip that allows parents, please consider the Heritage Tour, hosted by CCAI.

My friend/sibling is also a Chinese adoptee, but was not adopted through CCAI. Can he/she attend this trip?

Absolutely. ALL Chinese adoptees are welcome to apply as long as you are 15+, no matter your adoption agency or where you live.

My friend/sibling is also an adoptee, but was not adopted from China. Can he/she attend this trip?

Due to our current arrangement with the China central authority, we are only able to bring Chinese adoptees.

My friend/sibling is not an adoptee, but would really like to attend this trip. Can he/she?

We may decide to host a trip in the future that is less service based and includes friends and siblings, but for now, we are currently only able to bring Chinese adoptees.

How will the volunteers be supervised at the orphanages?

We will divide volunteers into small working groups, with each group trained and supervised by a resident caretaker. Adopteen co-Founder Amy, along with a certified adoption therapist will also be on hand to help with supervision and processing, as well as translations where needed. However, much of the work done as the week progresses is very independent and travelers are expected to be able to be capable, caring, and vigilant on their own.

Is the touring portion of the trip on your own or with a tour guide?

We will have fantastic tour guides leading us around Beijing. However, visiting tourist sites does not take up our whole time and we will have some free time to explore the city on our own, every day. This does not mean you can run off by yourself and take the subway to some awesome place you heard someone mention once. Exploring will be done strictly in groups, led by chaperones and local guides. Don’t fret! They are all excellent explorers.

How much money do I need to bring for personal expenses?

Most lunch and dinners in the orphanage city will not be covered. Meal budget should be around $15/day. Personal spending is completely up to you. Some people like to buy a lot of souvenirs, others don’t like to buy any, and it all depends on how big or small the souvenirs are. Estimated total outside expenses is somewhere between $250 - $400.

Do we fly from US to China together?

We will not require that everyone on the trip fly from US to China together. Many travelers prefer booking their own flights, whether it’s because they have miles saved up or are attached to a certain airline or whatever the case may be. However, we will let everyone know what flight the Trip Leads will be taking in case anyone would like to book the same flight. No matter what time you arrive, we will be waiting at the Beijing airport to welcome everyone upon arrival.

How much is a roundtrip ticket between US and China?

International round trip ticket prices between US and China vary depending on when you purchase them, where you are flying out from, and when you are planning to arrive China. Because July and December are peak tourism seasons for China, tickets tend to be pricier for that time period. We would estimate roundtrip ticket prices to be between $1200 - $2000

What is the rooming situation going to be like? How will my roommate be chosen?

Two people per room. Roommates are randomly assigned, with educated guesses, but requests will be honored. :)

What kind of preparation will there be for this trip?

Once all travelers have been selected, we will request copies/scans of the Chinese Adoption Certificate, China Birth Certificate, and US Passport. Full trip payment will be due within a month of applications closing, and we will send out an email to coordinate a phone/video conference with everyone as a preliminary, “Meet the Team,” kind of training. We will hold about four meetings prior to travel, including one to prepare for the visa application. Once we arrive in China, we will meet every night for team-building, preparation, and processing.

Lots of training, but also a lot of fun! It sounds overwhelming, but we make training very entertaining. Trust us!

Will I be able to visit my orphanage?

Unfortunately, the AGBOST trips do not provide the opportunity to visit your own orphanage, unless your orphanage happens to be the one we are working with! However, if your parents would like to join you after the Trip to visit your orphanage, you are absolutely welcome to plan an additional tour following the trip.

Please note that it is possible that since your adoption, your orphanage may have closed, relocated, or otherwise changed. There are also many orphanages in each province, so visiting the province you were adopted from does not necessarily mean we are working at your orphanage.

AdopTween

What is AdopTween?

AdopTween focuses on "tweens" ages 9-12 and their mentors, 15+.

What is the supervision like at Adopteen Hangouts?

Due to the fact that we want to make Hangouts as flexible and cheap as possible, Adopteen Hangouts will never have Adopteen staff on duty. We will do our best to enlist the services of a trusted Adopteen volunteer, but they should never be thought of as the responsible party at an Adopteen Hangout. They are only there to keep things organized as much as possible and to be our eyes and ears at the event, if they're there at all!

For the purposes of Adopteen Hangouts, you should consider Adopteen the matchmaker - we propose an event, time, and date, and if needed for group rates, etc, we will sometimes collect money and pay for tickets. However, everyone that attends is responsible for themselves. Adopteen Hangouts should be viewed exactly the same as a group outing with friends - if you are not responsible enough to attend without supervision, Hangouts may not be for you.

When and where will the next event be?

You tell us! In the future, we may plan Adopteen Hangouts far in advance like we do for our other programs, but we are currently in the trial period for this style of event. The best way to figure out when the next event will be is to shoot us an email at info@adopteen.org and request to be on our mailing list, or follow us on Facebook. We will announce the date of our next Hangout a month in advance on Facebook and to our mailing list.

We generally schedule events in response to suggestions from our community, so if you have an idea for what you think would make an amazing Hangout, let us know!

I don't live in Colorado - is there a Hangout in my area?

We do not currently have any well established groups outside of Colorado. If you know that you have a sizeable community of adoptees in your area and would like to set up a group, email us at info@adopteen.org and let us know! We have contacts across the United States and can spread the word about any events that you would like to start in your area.

Adopteen Hangouts

What are Adopteen Hangouts?

Adopteen Hangouts are a response to concerns raised by many Adopteen families:

Price: As much as we do try to keep our costs down through the Scholarship Fund and competitive pricing, Adopteen Camp-Conferences remain too expensive for some families. At Adopteen Hangouts, the only thing you pay for is the price of admission to whatever activity is scheduled.

Frequency: It's a hard feeling - you experience 5 days and 4 nights of pure bliss at an Adopteen Camp-Conference, and then learn you can't do it again for an entire year. Hangouts are our answer to that feeling. We do our best to arrange a local Hangout as often as possible and provide a chance for Adopteens to catch up with eachother, or for new Adopteens to get acquainted with our program.

Hangouts are quick, three to four hour nights on a weekend designed for area adoptees to meet one another and have fun. Past events have included: Ice Skating, Clue Rooms, Movie Nights, and more!

What is the supervision like at Adopteen Hangouts?

Due to the fact that we want to make Hangouts as flexible and cheap as possible, Adopteen Hangouts will never have Adopteen staff on duty. Each chapter does have a volunteer coordinator operating as your central point of contact, but please don't think of them as a babysitter or party responsible for your/your child's health.

For the purposes of Adopteen Hangouts, you should consider Adopteen the matchmaker - we propose an event, time, and date, and if needed for group rates, etc, we will sometimes collect money and pay for tickets. However, everyone that attends is responsible for themselves. Adopteen Hangouts should be viewed exactly the same as a group outing with friends - if you are not responsible enough to attend without supervision, Hangouts may not be for you.

When and where will the next event be?

The best place to get information on each Adopteen chapter is here, where updates on schedules, as well as the best person to contact, are listed.

We generally schedule events in response to suggestions from our community, so if you have an idea for what you think would make an amazing Hangout, let us know!