I Won’t Give Up On Her

In the summer of 2016, Holt sponsor and then Holt employee Billie Loewen met a very sad, hungry girl in a remote village in Cambodia. She immediately signed up to sponsor her. Four years later, she receives an update that makes her heart soar.

In the first week of every month, I pull open the Excel spreadsheet with four years of monthly budgets. I open the Chase app and Wells Fargo and drift quickly over the charges, looking for anything amiss. The single line with a shortened title, “HOLT INTL CHILD,” and associated charge — $38 — always catches my eye.

Most months, paying bills is the only time I think about what it costs to sponsor the beautiful, shy, heartbreakingly sad little girl I met in a village in Cambodia on a scorching hot, dusty day in 2016.

Tiny, impossibly thin with straggly hair turning yellow from lack of nutrition, and a broad face with deep, serious eyes, 10-year-old Phal captured my entire heart the moment I saw her.

It’s been four years since I met her, and I think about her a lot.

Photos of Phal over four years of sponsorship reports. Her first photo is in the bottom right corner. Her most recent photo is top left.
Photos of Phal over four years of sponsorship reports. Her first photo is in the bottom right corner. Her most recent photo is top left.

Continue reading “I Won’t Give Up On Her”

An Act of Kindness

As a baby in China, Callie Ware had a sponsor who helped care for her while she waited to come home to her adoptive family. Now 17, she’s continuing her sponsor’s act of kindness by sponsoring another child in need.

Being adopted is definitely the biggest part of my identity. Yes, I am Chinese, but I do not feel as connected to my heritage as I feel to my backstory. I was adopted at 9 months old to a single, hard-working woman, brave enough to take on the challenge of motherhood alone. My mother wanted me to know from the beginning that I was adopted and that my story is unique. When I was little, she would tell me stories told to her by the orphanage staff to remind me where I came from, and how I had arrived into her arms. Before coming home, I also stayed with a foster family for a time, and my foster mother also shared stories about me.

Continue reading “An Act of Kindness”

Hiro Needs a Family!

Could you be the right family for Hiro?

Seven-year-old Hiro is a sweet and helpful little boy whose caregivers describe him as having a “sunny personality.”

He came into care when he was just one day old, and has lived in his care center in China since he was a baby.

Hiro loves his friends, and has many interests and talents. He likes playing with remote control cars and Legos, loves working on art projects and also enjoys sports like soccer and rock climbing. He is confident and curious, imaginative and expressive. He likes to read and play games with his friends, and loves to help others.

Hiro has congenital heart disease and will need a family with the resources to meet his medical needs. Mostly, though, he just needs a loving, permanent family to support him as he pursues his interests and explores the world around him.

Could you be the right family for Hiro? For more information about this sweet and helpful boy, email alyciaf@holtinternational.org.

A Part of Him Forever: A Philippines Adoption Story

Philippines adoption storyWhen Lynda and Joe Tama adopt 3-year-old Finn from the Philippines, they’re grateful to be introduced to a country and culture they’ll now know for the rest of their lives.

Lynda and Joe Tama sat eating Italian food at a restaurant near their hotel. There were little candles on the tables, and they ate bread and olive oil — but apart from that, Lynda doesn’t remember much.

They were staying at the type of place where most adoptive families stay when they travel to bring home their child — at a resort that is safe and quiet and the perfect place for new families to bunker down and navigate their first days together. But just outside the gates, everyday life in the Philippines rushed on. Children ran and played. Chickens and goats meandered down the street. Motorbikes weaved and whizzed through traffic. Continue reading “A Part of Him Forever: A Philippines Adoption Story”

10 Ways Holt Donors Changed Kids’ Lives in 2019

You did some truly amazing things in the lives of children and families this past year.

As Holt sponsors, donors, volunteers and advocates, you gave your time, money and energy to make sure as many children as possible could grow up with the love, stability and opportunity they deserve. And because of you — because of your kindness and generosity — 283,212 children and families in 14 countries around the world received the life-changing care and services they needed in 2019!

Seriously, you’re amazing. And we’re so incredibly thankful for you.

Just to give you a glimpse, here are 10 specific ways that your heartfelt giving changed the lives of children and families in Holt programs last year:

You helped kids. LOTs of kids!

Continue reading “10 Ways Holt Donors Changed Kids’ Lives in 2019”

Charlize Needs a Family!

Could you be the right family for Charlize?

Charlize is a smart and active girl who loves school and is a talented artist.

Charlize came into orphanage care in China when she was 5 years old. When she was 6, she was adopted domestically in China, but her adoptive parents relinquished her back to the orphanage a year and a half later. Now 11, Charlize longs for a permanent, loving family of her own.

Charlize loves school, and though she doesn’t get as much support as she would if she lived in a family, she is succeeding in her classes! She is especially good at languages — Chinese and English — as well as math and art. She gets along well with her teachers and peers, and communicates herself well.

In August 2018, Charlize was reported to have moderate anemia and physical delays, but our social work staff has not seen indications of these delays in her videos or other information.

Charlize has been through several transitions in her young life, but she is brave and full of hope that she will one day have the love and stability of an adoptive family.

Could you be the right family for Charlize? For more information about this brave girl, contact Alycia Fahr-Zarlons at alyciaf@holtinternational.org.

Healing the Hurt Child

When Brett and Noelle Hersom adopt a 9-year-old with a history of abuse and neglect, they soon realize that given the right combination of love, commitment, patience and flexibility, every child has the potential to heal.

At one point in her first year home, 9-year-old Vienna threw a tantrum so severe, so next level, that her mom, Noelle, made a decision that few parents would make. She didn’t walk away, like she wanted to. She didn’t leave the room and let Vienna work through it. She knew this would be a long one, and she wasn’t about to leave her daughter’s side. So she got a book, and settled in.

“The point was to be there with her and not walk away,” Noelle says. Continue reading “Healing the Hurt Child”

Favorite 15 Stories of 2019

In 2019, we shared some amazing and inspiring stories from and about adoptees, adoptive families, sponsors, donors, and children and families in our programs around the world. It has been an incredible year at Holt — a year that you shared with us as you read, commented on and reposted our updates, stories and videos throughout the year.

Early last year, we merged with the adoption and child welfare agency WACAP — combining our resources and knowledge to help even more orphaned and vulnerable children both in the U.S. and in countries around the world. Throughout the year, Holt’s extraordinary donors made it possible to reach more than 280,000 children and families in 14 countries with everything from school supplies and bicycles to lifesaving food and critically needed surgery. Continue reading “Favorite 15 Stories of 2019”

Empowering Women: The Key to Strengthening Families

Holt-Sunny Ridge’s “Empowering Women, Strengthening Families” program has changed the lives of moms who previously thought placing their children for adoption was the only solution to their desperate situation. Program director Nancy Crouch talks about the program in this article.

For many women, impending motherhood is a momentous event, often filled with laughter, joy, baby showers, nursery decorating, and bright hopes for the future.

But for women going through tough times who don’t have family or friends to support them, being a mother can be incredibly overwhelming — just to get through each day. They don’t think they can take care of themselves, much less their children. And sometimes, to give both their child and themselves the best chance to survive and thrive, they make the decision to place one or more of their children for adoption — even if they don’t really want to. Continue reading “Empowering Women: The Key to Strengthening Families”

For Children in U.S. Foster Care, What Does Permanency Mean?

Holt Senior Vice President Greg Eubanks talks about the ongoing crisis in the U.S. foster care system and what can be done about it.

In the US, some 690,000 children live under the foster care system as of 2017. Around 269,000 of these kids entered the system for the first time that year. These kids can be as young as newborns and as old as 20. Approximately 124,000 of them are waiting to be adopted, while the remainder look forward to reunification with their biological parents. Continue reading “For Children in U.S. Foster Care, What Does Permanency Mean?”