Holt adoptive mom Kristine Piu has adopted two boys with special needs from the Ilsan Center in Korea. Both are now thriving. Both began their journey at Molly’s House.
On each of my trips to Korea to pick up our boys, I was able to stay at Ilsan. What a great experience. The highlight of each stay was being able to visit with Molly Holt. Eating breakfast with her every morning, sometimes lunch and dinner, was a great way to start the day. During our visits Molly would tell many stories about her childhood growing up with her family, as well as memories of her time in Korea, living at Ilsan, and caring for all the residents there.
Both of my sons arrived at Ilsan with many special needs. AntonYong was hypotonic — a condition characterized by decreased muscle tone. He was also mentally delayed, did not speak, had abnormal chromosomes, and needed assistance to complete everyday tasks. AndrewTae was mentally delayed, lacked speech, and was not eating food due to severe gagging and vomiting. Even though my boys had all these needs, Molly never hesitated to take them into her home and care for them for about six weeks. After two weeks, she had AndrewTae eating solid food. Both boys received special services at Ilsan such as physical, occupational and speech therapy. Caregivers even took AndrewTae to the Gymboree play center one day a week for extra physical therapy and to help improve his coordination.
While staying at Ilsan, I witnessed Molly and her work. Molly has residents who actually live permanently in her home and seeing the outstanding care and love she gives them is truly heartwarming. Molly is caring, loving, kind and dedicated to her work caring for the residents at Ilsan. You can truly see how much she loves her work.
The transition from Ilsan to coming home with my boys went very well. Their attachment to our family and adjustment into our home was very
smooth, which we attribute to the preparation Molly and the Ilsan caregivers provided the boys before they came home to us. Well before the boys left Korea, Molly and the boys’ housemothers explained what was going to happen. They showed them the picture books we made for each son featuring photos of our family, home and the bedroom they would be sleeping in. To help them grow comfortable with me, Molly and the housemothers also allowed me to spend as much time with the boys as possible while still at Ilsan. I joined them at meal times. I took them out for one-on-one time, gave them baths, brushed their teeth, got them dressed, and tucked them into bed. This helped ease their attachment with me before we began our journey home.
Before we left, the staff at Ilsan – including Molly – threw a going away party for each of the boys.
Today, AntonYong and AndrewTae have made many strides and have overcome many of their special needs. AntonYong is now 9 years old and attending a fourth grade class for cognitively impaired children. He has gotten much stronger physically, has made good progress with his speech, and is even reading! AntonYong plays baseball and loves doing puzzles. His future is still unknown as far as his delays go, but for now, he is doing great!
AndrewTae is now 7 years old and attending a language learning disabled class in the first grade and has excelled rapidly. He has more than caught up with his delay in speech, as he never stops talking and he is a great eater! AndrewTae plays baseball and his favorite thing to do is play with his Beyblades and Star Wars toys.
I will be forever grateful for Molly Holt giving my sons the best care at Ilsan. Her dedication to her work is outstanding. I am honored to know her.
Kristine Piu | Beachwood, New Jersey