Holt's work in
began in 1956

In 2019, more than 4,550 children and families in Korea received critical support.

Holt International's legacy began in Korea in the 1950s, when the Korean War left thousands of children orphaned and abandoned and in need of a permanent, loving family. Harry and Bertha Holt changed history by adopting eight children from Korea, and paving the way for thousands of other families to follow their example. While South Korea has grown and developed in many ways since the Korean War, the stigma of unwed motherhood remains firmly entrenched in South Korean culture — creating a continued need for domestic and international adoption from Korea. We still proudly work through Holt Korea — our partner organization — to care for children and adults with special needs, empower single mothers with skills and resources to parent their children, and seek permanent, loving families for orphaned and homeless children in Korea.

Provinces with Holt family strengthening programs

Provinces with Holt orphan care programs

Provinces from which children can join families through adoption

Family Strengthening Programs

In Korea, the most vulnerable families are often those headed by a single mother. Stigma against single parenthood persists in traditional Korean culture, and single mothers and children are often ostracized from their families and communities. Holt provides safe spaces for single mothers and their children where they receive support, empowerment, education and a sense of belonging.

Orphan Care Programs

In Korea, families who abandon or relinquish their children typically do so because of one of two main reasons — the stigma against single parenthood, or financial inability to care for a child with special needs. Holt provides the highest quality care for these children while we work to reunite them with their birth family, or find for them a loving adoptive family.


International Adoption

Read about the children waiting for families, eligibility, fees and more.

A Message from David Lim
(Former) Vice President of Asia Programs

When Harry Holt first traveled to Korea in 1955, it was a very different place than it is today. I still can see clearly in my mind memories of life in Korea back then, the images of war and suffering, and the many children orphaned during the Korean War. We have been able to accomplish so much since then, and have learned a great many lessons which we have been able to share throughout our organization, with our other country programs and with our partners overseas.

We were the first to recognize the importance of deinstitutionalizing children in orphanages, creating instead a system of loving foster families. We have built a community at the Holt Ilsan Center, providing homeless children with disabilities a place where they can live and thrive, without the worry that someday they might "age out." We now have a network of daycare centers, and mother and child shelters enabling families at risk of separation to stay together. We have a baby home, and operate community centers throughout Korea where we serve so many more children and families in need. And while we have been able to accomplish much over the past 60 years, many children still remain who need our services and support.

paulk@holtinternational.org | 541.505.5508

David Lim - Vice President of Asia Programs

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Holt International is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. All donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law. EIN: 23-7257390.