Adoptees Giving Back - Orphanage Service Trips
(ages 15+)

Applications are now closed for Summer 2019 trips. Check back in November for 2020 dates!*

Do you know what hope is? Do you know what love is?

AGBOST Trip Fee: $1,300/traveler

A Trip of the Heart

An opportunity some can only dream of – giving back to the orphans still waiting in the orphanages.

Adopteen’s service trips to China give adoptees a unique opportunity to return to China and explore their motherland with their peers while working in orphanages and serving the orphans left behind. This is truly a special trip, where the “come-full-circle” impact of giving love back to those children still in orphanages is life-changing. Like all Adopteen programs, adult presence is minimal and group activities and breakout sessions help keep the Adopteen focus of building teamwork, leadership, trust, and friendship.

Led by Adopteen Director Amy Zhong and accompanied by an adoption therapist, this 11-day trip will not only allow you to experience a bit of China's heritage, but will, most importantly, provide the invaluable opportunity to volunteer at an orphanage – holding and feeding babies, teaching older kids English, playing fun games with children with special needs, decorating nursery rooms, and much more! It is an extremely meaningful and unique experience.

Traveling on the AGBOST is by invitation only. Please see below for details on the application process:

All applications require the following (please click the links to download relevant forms)

  • Read and sign the Letter to Parents/Guardian (only required if you are under 18).
  • Read and sign the Letter to Travelers.
  • Think very carefully about and obtain contact information for THREE references (contacted by Adopteen, no letter needed).
  • Fill out the Self Assessment Questionnaire.
  • Record a five-minute application video.
  • Once you have all of the above, fill out and submit the online application form and pay the $50 application fee.

Adoptees Giving Back Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to apply?

All Chinese adoptees over age 15 are welcome to apply - there is no upper age limit (generally, the majority of our applicants and travelers are between ages 15 and 19, though we have had travelers well into their 20s).

Please note: If accepted, travelers will be expected to submit digital copies of their Chinese Adoption Certificate (Example), Chinese Birth Certificate (Example), and current US Passport by Friday, March 1st. It is highly advised that you begin to collect these documents from your files immediately - accepted applicants cannot travel on the AGBOST without them

Do you have any tips for applicants?

Some tips to keep in mind:

  • The AGBOST Self-Assessment is four questions and 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. We want to get to know you as well as we can! Please take as much space as is necessary to answer the question thoughtfully and adequately.
  • Though we don't expect your application video to be professional quality (cell phone and webcam videos welcome!), take as much care as possible to make sure that it is well lit and that we can hear you clearly. You can even record multiple takes and have someone look over it before submitting the best one!
  • 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.

Can you give me more details about the application video?

This year, we are requiring an application video with all applicant submissions. In years past, applicants have been asked to submit just a Self-Assessment Questionnaire, and we've found that process to be unfair - some applicants don't write well and present better in person! We have also tried video interviews, and found the process to be over-long and hard to schedule. We think that we have found the perfect balance this year in asking for both a Self-Assessment Questionnaire as well as a pre-recorded video submission.

Requirements for your video submission:

  • Address the following questions:
    1. 1. Introduce yourself! What you like to do, etc.
      2. What draws you specifically to Adoptees Giving Back, rather than a Heritage Tour or other trip back to China?
      3. What inspires you?
      4. If this trip was only two days, what would you want those two days to include?
  • 5 minutes maximum
  • While we are not picky about video quality and know that most people do not have professional video equipment (recording on your phone or a webcam is perfectly fine!), please know that videos that are well-lit with good sound quality will present better.
  • Please upload to a video service provider, such as YouTube or Vimeo, and send the link to

Why did you organize the Adoptees Giving Back – Orphanage Service Trip (AGBOST)?

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 AGBOST look like?

The Adoptees Giving Back – Orphanage Service Trip (AGBOST) is an 11-day trip to China, organized by Adopteen, with the intention to reach out and give back to 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.

To get an idea of what our AGBOST trips typically look like, take a look at a typical Summer AGBOST Trip Itinerary: Summer AGBOST Itinerary

Where is AGBOST going this summer?

We do not have orphanages for this summer's trips finalized yet. Unfortunately, due to the timeline of planning this event, we usually are not able to confirm the orphanages that we will be working with until around the time that applications close in January.

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.

How much should I budget in case I am selected to travel?

Though no budget fits everyone, our experience with over ten trips has left us reasonably confident that travelers can expect to spend approximately $3,500. Please see the below graphic for a representation of the traveler fee as well as expenses that travelers can usually expect:

Do we fly from US to China together?

We will book a flight itinerary that group leads will utilize, and provide all travelers with the option of booking that itinerary. However, travelers are welcome to book their own itinerary, as long as they are in China in time to join our group!

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 in China. Since July is peak tourism season 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. :)

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.