HOW LARGE ARE THE GROUPS YOU SEND?
It varies by country but the maximum is 25 people. For many countries, 12 or 15 people is the maximum size while other countries can accommodate up to 25. The maximum size is listed on our upcoming trips calendar for each specific team. Contact us if you have questions about a specific country.
WHO GOES ON A VISITING ORPHANS TRIP?
Individuals, church groups, families, organizations, etc.
CAN I SIGN UP FOR ANY TRIP?
Almost all of the trips we have listed on our website are open to individual sign ups. Those that are not will say in the description if it's a closed trip or if there are certain age requirements.
Our trips are named with the last name of the leader in the title in order to keep track of the trips and to help those donating to know which trip they are donating to. Having a last name in the trip title does not mean a trip is closed to a certain group of people. It is simply the team leaders last name. The description of the trip will indicate whether the trip is open to individual sign ups or not.
We try to put as much info about each trip within the individual trip descriptions. If you are interested in a certain trip, please be sure to read all the details as those descriptions contain important info that you will need to know.
WHAT IF THE TRIP I WANT TO GO ON IS FULL?
If you sign up for a trip that is full, you will be notified and put on the waiting list for that trip. We will notify you IF a spot opens up for you on that trip. Until you have been assured you have a spot on the team, do not begin fundraising.
WHAT TYPES OF ACTIVITIES WILL WE DO ON THE MISSION TRIPS?
Activities will vary based on the location of the trip but teams will likely spend most of their time building relationships with the children by playing sports, games, and doing arts and crafts. On some occasions teams will participate in a work project.
HOW DO I SIGN UP FOR A TRIP?
To register for a missions trip, go to the individual trip description page. There will be a register button at the end of the description. You can find all of our trips here.
IS THERE A REGISTRATION FEE?
A $200 fee is required with all applications in order to hold space on that team. This is applied to the balance of the trip cost and is non-refundable and non-transferable.
WHAT IS THE PAYMENT SCHEDULE FOR A MISSION TRIP?
Please note: this is a generic schedule. Always refer to specific payment due dates given to you by Visiting Orphans trip coordinators or your team leader.
Non-refundable application fee
$200.00 (applied to trip)
90 days prior to trip
cost of airfare
60 days prior to trip
amount depends on the trip - your trip coordinator will email you the specific payment schedule for your trip
30 days prior to trip
remaining balance paid in full
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE COST OF THE TRIP?
For most trips, the following items are included in the cost. If any of these are not included in the trip you sign up for, you will be told in advance:
- International Airfare
- 3 Meals a Day
- In-country Transportation
- Translator/Guide for the Team
- Travel Medical & Liability Insurance
WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED IN THE COST OF THE TRIP?
Arts & crafts and other items needed for activities your team takes to do with the children. Any extra food or drinks outside of the 3 meals a day. Tipping for help with personal luggage. Any fees associated with baggage or immunizations.
WHAT ARE THE ROOM ARRANGEMENTS LIKE ON THE MISSION FIELD?
In most instances on Visiting Orphans trips, team members will be sharing a room with one or more people of the same gender. We plan our trips to be the most cost effective to the team and so you should expect to be sharing a room with one or more persons on the team at all times unless you specifically request otherwise and pay the additional cost, provided that the option for a single room is even available at the place of lodging. All promoted trip prices include team members sharing rooms. Whenever possible, we will put husbands & wives in a room together but please be aware that in some locations, this will not be possible as some of our lodging is set up more dormitory style where all the girls may be in one room with bunk beds and all the guys will be in another. It just depends on where the team is staying as to what accommodations are available. As with any mission trip, please be flexible. Also, we are a Christian organization and therefore, we do not allow team members of the opposite sex to share rooms together unless it is a man and a woman who are legally married.
IS THERE A COMMITMENT OF TIME REQUIRED IN ORDER TO BE PART OF A VISITING ORPHANS MISSION TEAM?
Yes. We ask team members to read and agree with the following statement: I understand that the mission trip starts the day I apply for the trip and agree that, as a part of a Visiting Orphans mission team, I am committing to being available for conference calls leading up to the trip and reading all emails and materials pertaining to the trip, and responding when necessary. I understand that these communications are needed to maximize the effectiveness of my team on the mission field, to prepare each person for the trip and to build team unity. For some teams, this may include 6 to 10 conference calls leading up to the trip. A huge part of these conference calls will focus on spiritual preparation and will include videos and light homework from a resource called A Discipleship Journey.
AM I ABLE TO BRING DONATIONS FOR THE KIDS OR MINISTRIES WE VISIT?
It is the policy of Visiting Orphans that team members only bring donation items VO has asked them to bring for the ministries. We do not allow team members to hand out gifts directly to the children because this causes a lot of harm (the book When Helping Hurts can shed more light on this topic). We do like to meet the tangible needs of ministries so when a ministry asks for something specific - we absolutely want our team members to be able to bring these items with them to bless the minsitry. The items would need to be given to the ministry leaders, not to the kids themselves. We are very passionate about making sure we don't go in and try to be the heroes to the kids. The real heroes are the people who take care of the children and communities every day. We want them to be able to hand out specific items to the kids after the team leaves. Some examples of things teams have brought that ministries have asked for are: school supplies, backpacks for all the kids (we would make sure a team is able to bring enough for everyone), diapers, formula, etc. We also ask that team members only bring 1 checked bag unless there is a specific pre-approved reason for a 2nd checked bag (ex: medical team, bringing items VO has asked you to bring, etc). Team members can bring items for the activities they have planned to do with the children but unless VO has asked them to bring something specific for the ministry - we ask team members to please not bring random donations. Bringing in outside items can hurt the local economy of the country where the items are being donated, can cause an excess of items not really truly needed and can sometimes even create extra trash if the items can't be used. Many teams bring extra funds from overage team members have raised and they are able to go buy food and other items most needed for the ministires while they are in country. We do not EVER hand out cash. For more information on this topic, contact a VO staff person. All of these things will be elaborated on further during pre-trip conference calls once a team member has signed up for a trip.
HOW MANY BAGS AM I ALLOWED TO TAKE?
We recommend our team members only take the allowed carry-ons and 1 checked bag. Some airlines will allow 2 bags but to cut down on the amount of luggage for each team and discourage team members from bringing random donations (see question about bringing donations), we prefer all team members just bring 1 checked bag.
For specific baggage restrictions and information: Always check the luggage restrictions section online for the airline you are traveling on. Baggage allowances vary depending on the airline and are subject to change so always check this information online in advance. Visiting Orphans is not responsible for any baggage fees incurred by any team members, including team leaders. When you pack, account for the possibility of a lost checked bag - keep essentials, at least one change of clothes, and copies of important documents in your carry-on.
HOW CAN I HELP IF I CAN'T GO ON THE TRIP?
If you are unable to participate by traveling to a foreign country, you may serve in the following manner:
- Prayer support
- Financial support for a team or team member
- Financial donation through VO designated to bless a specific ministry partner of ours
- Donation to Visiting Orphans
DOES VISITING ORPHANS HELP WITH FUNDING MY TRIP?
Registered applicants are responsible for raising support but Visiting Orphans will supply verification letters and accounting for applicants. Team members can use all VO merchandise from our online to fundraise for their trip as well (see answer to the next question for more details).
CAN I RAISE SUPPORT FOR MY MISSIONS TRIP?
Yes! We encourage all our applicants to raise funds from friends and families. Visiting Orphans is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and donations given on your behalf are tax deductible.
Visiting Orphans team members can also send donors to our online store to purchase merchandise and $8 from each item purchased will go toward the designated team members trip. Team member must be registered for a trip in advance and have those purchasing items type their name in at the checkout page so we know where to apply the funds.
HOW DO I MAKE A PAYMENT?
Payments can be made online on our website under the DONATE link in the top right corner - under Fund Category - indicate your trip name and dates and be sure to put your name under mission trip member preference designation.
Payments can also be made by check or money order, made out to “Visiting Orphans” and sent to our address:
449 Metroplex Drive
Please make sure your name and trip are noted on the check memo line so we know where to apply the funds. All payments/donations made to Visiting Orphans are tax deductible.
HOW CAN I DONATE?
Donations can be made the same way payments are made. See answer above.
WHAT IS VISITING ORPHANS MAILING ADDRESS?
449 Metroplex Drive
Nashville, TN 37211
DOES VISITING ORPHANS PURCHASE INSURANCE FOR TEAMS?
Yes. Visiting Orphans purchases travel insurance with foreign liability and medical coverage for all team members and this cost is included in each team members total trip cost. Please be informed that if there is an interruption to any VO mission trip such as natural disaster or political interruption and the travel insurance does not cover all expenses incurred, VO is not responsible for the payment of these additional expenses. VO will work with each team member to get them home safely, and will even pay up front to do so, but reimbursement to VO will be required from each team member.
WILL I NEED TO GET VACCINATIONS TO TRAVEL ON A VISITING ORPHANS TRIP?
Visiting Orphans advises all travelers to read the US Department of State background notes on their website. Travelers can also check the latest health information with the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov to get the most recent health advisories, immunization recommendations/requirements, and advice on food and drinking water safety for regions and countries. We also suggest that all participants consult their physician before traveling Internationally.
Immunizations are not included in the trip cost for any Visiting Orphans trip. Travelers will be responsible to get these on their own.
WHAT DOCUMENTS WILL I NEED TO PROVIDE TO GO ON A VISITING ORPHANS TRIP?
Each team member will need to sign a copy of our statement of faith, a release of liability form, a background check consent form and a copy of our cancellation policy. Each team member will also need to sign and have notarized a copy of our code of conduct which often includes specific ministry guidelines for our in-country partners. You will also need 2 spiritual references to fill out a reference form that we will provide. These items will be available to you through a website we use for teams called Managed Missions - you will receive a login once you sign up for the trip. Each team member will need a current passport that does not expire within 6 months. And depending on the country you are visiting, a visa may be required. If that is the case, Visiting Orphans staff will notify you in advance.
WHAT IS THE CANCELLATION POLICY FOR VISITING ORPHANS TRIPS?
Team members will be asked to sign a copy of Visiting Orphans Cancellation Policy, which is as follows: In the event that a team member cancels their trip and costs have been incurred that the team member has not yet paid to Visiting Orphans at the time of cancellation, that person will be responsible for all financial commitments that have been made, including but not limited to: airline tickets, hotel reservations, and other in-country transportation.
Due to IRS tax laws for 501(c)3 non-profit organizations, Visiting Orphans cannot refund any donations. Please note that all trip costs are considered donations as they are tax deductible. This means, if a team member has raised funds for their trip and cancels, Visiting Orphans cannot legally refund any of these donations. All funds will be assumed by Visiting Orphans and used for our ongoing orphan care ministry.
Visiting Orphans retains the express right, on all accepted donations, to direct all donations as it deemed in the best interest of the Corporation to fulfill its recognized tax exempt purpose.
CAN DONATION CHECKS BE REFUNDED?
Due to IRS tax laws for non-profit organizations, Visiting Orphans is unable to refund any donations. This includes trip costs as those are considered donations and are tax deductible.
I SPONSOR A CHILD WITH ANOTHER ORGANIZATION IN THE COUNTRY WE ARE GOING TO, CAN I VISIT MY SPONSORED CHILD WHILE I'M ON A VISITING ORPHANS MISSION TRIP TO THAT COUNTRY?
Unfortunately, we are not able to work in sponsor visits on our mission trips. Our itineraries are packed full of opportunities for the team to minister to children as a group and it is mandatory for the team to stay together at all times. We do understand that many of our trip participants have sponsored children and we understand the desire to want to meet them. Therefore, we will usually allow team members to coordinate a sponsor visit with Compassion, World Vision or another organization AFTER the Visiting Orphans trip is over. We would need to be notified several months in advance so we could determine whether your request could be accommodated and if so, in order to book your flight to return later than the rest of the team. If your deviation is approved, there is a $100 deviation fee and you would need to sign a deviation form stating that you understand that after the VO team departs, Visiting Orphans is no longer responsible for your arrangements. You would need to make your own arrangements for in-country needs at that point which would include everything from lodging to transportation to meals and translation. You would want to check with your child sponsorship organization to see if they can help you with the details of this extended stay should you choose this option. Be sure to check with them about arranging to meet your child BEFORE we book your flights.
WILL I BE TRAVELING INTERNATIONALLY BY MYSELF?
No, we will book your connecting flights from your departing city to meet up with your team in a major US airport to then fly on to your international destination and back together.
CAN I MAKE ANY DEVIATIONS TO THE FLIGHT SCHEDULE FOR THE TRIP?
During our busiest months (June, July and August) we are only able to allow a very limited number of deviations due to the amount of trips and team members we are sending at the same time. During other months, depending on what the deviation is, Visiting Orphans will decide on a case by case basis whether or not we are able to accommodate your request. If a team member has such a request, Visiting Orphans must be notified 70 days or more before the trip departure date in order to decide whether the deviation is possible and if so, to have ample time to book your flights accordingly. We have a deviation request form that must be filled out and submitted for approval. Do not make plans to meet sponsored children, visits friends or other ministries on your own apart from the team during the scheduled Visiting Orphans mission trip. If you wish to depart from the team, you must do this AFTER the Visiting Orphans mission trip is over and you must obtain prior approval at least 70 days prior to your trip departure. If approved, there is a $100 deviation fee and Visiting Orphans will help you book your return flights for a later date and let you know if there is additional cost for the flights (beyond the cost that was budgeted as part of the trip cost for the team). If you choose to deviate, you must submit a signed deviation form which releases VO from all liability or responsibility for you or your arrangements after the team leaves.
CAN CHILDREN GO ON A VISITING ORPHANS MISSION TRIP?
Yes, we do allow children 9 years and up on our some of trips. Anyone under the age of 15 must travel with a parent or guardian on all of our trips. If you are considering bringing children on a Visiting Orphans trip, please contact us at 615.200.6825 for more information.
IS VISITING ORPHANS A MEMBER OF ANY ACCREDITED AGENCIES FOR FINANCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY?
Yes. Visiting Orphans is an accredited member of the ECFA. Our member profile can be found here.
WHAT IS THE POLICY FOR ONLINE ORDER EXCHANGES OR REFUNDS??
Please note: Visiting Orphans online store orders are fulfilled by an outside vendor. Returned store items should be mailed to the address below and NOT to the Visiting Orphans office. Questions about returns and exchanges should be directed to: Customerservice@mailroomnashville.com
Returns & Exchange Policy:
You may return unused items within 30 days of delivery for a full refund*.
You may exchange unused items within 30 days of delivery for an item of equal value or pay the difference if the new item costs more. If the new item costs less, we will refund you the difference. In order to return or exchange an item, you will need to pay for shipping costs to return the original item to us. For exchanges, so long as it is within 30 days, we will pay the return shipping costs to send the new item to you. When exchanging items, please include a note in the memo field about what you are exchanging and what you would like in return (please check availability first as not all items and sizes will be available).
Please call 615-577-4675 or email Customerservice@mailroomnashville.com and notify us of your return or exchange.
Send all returns or exchanges (with note attached) to:
c/o Shipping Dept
625 4th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37210
PLEASE NOTE: the address above is not the Visiting Orphans office address - this is the address for store orders online ONLY! All other types of mail (trip payments, forms, etc.) need to be sent to the actual VO address on Metroplex Drive.
*If items are returned or exchanged and a portion of the order was designated to be given to a team members trip fundraising, please keep in mind that that team members trip account will need to be updated accordingly.
SHIPPING INFO - WHEN WILL MY ORDER BE SENT?
All store orders are shipped via USPS ground shipping from the warehouse within 2 business days from the time the order is placed.