China Tour - FAQs

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What is the Holt Family Tour to China?
A trip to revisit China specially tailored for families with children who were adopted from China, escorted by experienced Holt staff and professional Chinese tour guides.
How long is the tour, where will we go, and when will it be?

A standard tour lasts around two weeks and visits places of educational and cultural interest including well-known and beautiful tourist sites like the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, and the mountains and rivers of Guilin. You will also participate in activities and visits significant to the story of your child's adoption from China. We try to arrange itineraries to give participants an overview of the variety of urban and rural life around China.

In 2018 we will offer one main tour from late-June to mid-July.

The tour will be open to families of children adopted from any province and through any agency; families will separate mid-tour to visit orphanages, and reconnect with the main group in Guilin. For each year's tour, we expect to announce exact dates in the Fall of the year prior. Full details of this year's tour will be announced and registration for the tour will open in October.

A sample tour itinerary for a typical tour
  • Board your international flight to China from your US gateway city.
  • Day one: BEIJING — After crossing the international dateline, arrive in Beijing. Your English-speaking guide and driver will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel where you'll be met by Holt staff.
  • Day two: BEIJING — Attend your tour group's orientation meeting, then peruse a Silk Museum after lunch.
  • Day three: BEIJING — Visit Tiananmen Square, followed by a tour of the expansive Forbidden City complex. Afterward, take a refreshing rickshaw tour of a hutong neighborhood with lunch in a local home.
  • Day four: BEIJING — Visit a local tea house. Then, receive a formal invitation to visit the government offices of the CCCWA (formerly CCAA) where prospective adoptive parents and children are matched, and Bridge of Love Adoption Service.
  • Day five: BEIJING — Visit the world famous Great Wall, stopping by the 2008 Olympic venues on the way back to your hotel. Attend an adoption and orphanage discussion meeting facilitated by Holt staff with many years of experience working in China adoption.
  • Day six and seven: XI'AN — Travel to Xi'an and visit local cultural sites, including the World Famous Terracotta Warriors and Xi'an's ancient city wall.
  • Day eight: THE ADOPTEE'S PROVINCE — Separate from the main group and travel to the province you were adopted from.
  • Day nine: THE ADOPTEE'S PROVINCE — Visit your orphanage, finding site and foster family (where applicable and possible).
  • Day ten: THE ADOPTEE'S PROVINCE — Free time in the provincial capital city with an optional half-day city tour of famous local sites.
  • Days eleven, twelve, thirteen and fourteen: Travel to scenic locations like GUILIN and YANGSHUO in Southern China. Visit beautiful scenic places and participate in fun cultural activities, cruise a river past unique mountains and water buffalo, learn to cook Chinese dishes, and take in a local folk performance. At the end of the tour, enjoy some time together with the other families and Holt staff talking about your experiences in China and your hopes for the future.
  • Your return flight to the US, or choose to add on additional travel package in China with Holt's assistance.
How likely is it we will be able to visit our child's orphanage and foster family?
These visits are absolutely central to Holt's heritage tour philosophy and we work very hard to arrange them. However, it's important to know that orphanages in China are not public places, and permission from the government is required to properly arrange them. It is also common for foster families to no longer be fostering and to have moved away in the years since a child's adoption, requiring substantial "detective" work to try to find them again. Please also note that some orphanages will be restrictive about direct contact by outside visitors with the children in their care. Nevertheless, Holt has excellent relationships with appropriate officials and our partners in China; we have successfully arranged these special visits and located most foster families in the past, and we anticipate being able to do so in 2018, as well.
How much will it cost?

Your exact tour cost will vary, depending upon your child's home province and other personal choices. However, as an example, in 2017 the average base fee for a two-week tour was about $3500 per adult or child aged twelve and older, and about $3100 per child under twelve. This cost did not include international airfare to and from China, additional travel before or after the main tour, travel outside of the provincial capital in Adoptees' home provinces and some other expenses, such as tips (for local guides and drivers), and optional evening trips.

Holt's tour arrangements, official orphanage visit applications, and the fees for Holt's tours will be coordinated through a government office in China, Bridge of Love Adoption Service (BLAS), under the direction of the CCCWA. Your fee will include your stay in international-level hotels, tour guides and site fees, all arrangements for visits and activities in the primary schedule, most meals and all your basic air and ground transportation throughout your trip in China.

Who may participate?
Families from all agencies are welcome. Everyone in your party must be at least nine years old and have a significant relationship with the Adoptee (e.g. not just a friend interested only in tourism). For each party traveling with us, we allow a maximum of three adults per Adoptee. This is because we are limited in the number of individual tour members we can accommodate on the tour and we want to make sure that we can accommodate as many families and Adoptees as possible. We do hope that everyone will return home with something of significance from any discussion about the story of adoption and visits to orphanages, so please consider the maturity of your child and the expectations of others in your party when applying.
How does the location of my child's orphanage affect the tour itinerary?
While the overall itinerary will take you to locations all around China, normally everyone will also spend at least two or three days of the tour in the child's adoption province and will visit orphanages within that province on a specific day. For about three days in the middle of the tour participants will have to separate into smaller groups or individually escorted visits.
Must my child have been adopted through Holt to participate?
No. All are welcome.
How will the group get to China?
While the overall itinerary will take you to locations all around China, normally everyone will also spend at least two or three days of the tour in the child's adoption province and will visit orphanages within that province on a specific day. For a couple days participants will have to separate into smaller groups or individually escorted visits.
May I travel elsewhere in China besides Holt's regular tour itinerary?
Yes, but only as a personal trip before the Holt tour begins or after it ends. Holt staff time is limited and they cannot assist you in arranging such elective travel or during any additional time in China; however, if you wish, we can suggest professional tour services or packages that can provide all the arrangements and support you request.
What if we have adopted children from two or more different provinces?
Since there is only enough time within the regular Family Tour itinerary to schedule orphanage visits in one province per family, most families in this situation choose which orphanage visit they will want to experience during the standard Holt Family Tour schedule. Holt and BLAS can then assist you in scheduling add-on travel to make a visit to the other Adoptee's province after the regular Family Tour has ended. Although it may not always be possible for Holt staff to be available to accompany you on such additional orphanage visits outside the regular tour schedule, Holt will confirm that your orphanage visit appointments have been made and make sure you are provided with an experienced tour escort / interpreter as needed.
What is the typical age of Adoptees on the tour?
We typically see a greater number of Adoptees in the 13-17 range with some in the 18-20 range and some in the 9-12 range. As a general trend, the majority of children adopted from China are tweens, teens, or young adults today. Even so, we've found that the older Adoptees tend to become role models toward the younger Adoptees and many have felt this is a very rewarding aspect of the tours. It's safe to say that Adoptees will travel with peers they can identify with and enjoy spending time with, both in their age range and those who are younger or older.
What is the application deadline and when will you have more information?
Holt must first confirm tour dates, itineraries and arrangements with our partners in China (Bridge of Love Adoption Service) and assess our China staff availability, after which the details of tour dates and cost will be set and formal application forms for registration on a tour will be made available to you. Registration applications will be accepted through the last Friday of February 2018, or until spaces on the tour are all filled. In the case that the tour fills up before the deadline, applicants may still be considered for stand-by for spots that become available. Your individual fee will be computed based on the location of the Adoptee's orphanage and according to your family's individual needs and preferences. Spots for your family members on a tour can then be secured with a down payment. Regular communications from Holt by email will keep you updated on the progress of tour plans along the way, answer your questions and help you prepare. Contact Holt to request information on how to begin this process. Beginning in fall 2017, you may submit a Family Tour interest form online to register your interest in the 2018 Family Tour and receive updates, or contact Holt to request information by mail.

For more information contact the China Program by phone at 541-687-2202, extension 118.
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