The year 2015 was an excellent year in stories on the Holt blog — so much so that we expanded our Top 10 list to a Top 15 of the year!
In 2015, Holt’s creative lead, Billie Loewen, and I traveled to India, where we witnessed the incredible impact of Holt’s child nutrition program, gained new understanding on how Holt’s local partners are helping some of their country’s most vulnerable children and families, and met profoundly inspiring young women who refuse to accept the gender inequities that are far too common in their native India. In 2015, China announced major changes to their one-child policy — inspiring an essay by Chinese adoptee Lillian Schmaltz — and significantly expanded options for single applicants such as Vicky Baker, whose story of opening her heart and home to a son was among the most viewed of the year. Perhaps what’s most exciting this year is that a number of submissions from adoptees topped the list. In fact, the top four most viewed blog posts of 2015 came from Holt adoptees!
Without further ado, we are so excited to share Holt’s Top 15 Most Viewed Blogs of 2015, including five adoptee stories, five adoptive family stories and five stories about efforts to strengthen families and uplift orphaned and vulnerable children in our programs around the world. — Robin Munro, Managing Editor
Top 5 Adoptee Stories
Steve Kalb, Holt’s director of adoptee services, discusses a common phrase that international adoptees often hear, and how calling adoptees “lucky” shuts down positive discussion about identity. Click here to read Steve’s post — the most viewed post on Holt’s blog in 2015!
Holt adoptee and staff member Emily Greene Thornton shares how even an inconclusive search for her birth family has helped her become more true to herself. Emily’s essay will also appear in an upcoming issue of Adoptive Families magazine! Click here to read Emily’s post on the Holt blog.
Holt adoptee Qiulan Henderson shares some advice for adoptive parents about how they can build a strong and loving relationship with their child. Read her essay here.
At the end of October 2015, the Chinese government announced major changes to their one-child policy. Now, all married couples living in China will be allowed to have two children, which is great news for children and families in China. You can read more about how this change will affect Holt’s work here. In this blog, adoptee Lillian Schmaltz reflects on these changes and what they mean for the future of children in China. Read it here.
Top 5 Adoptive Family Stories
The Shardell family shares about their experience adopting a boy through China’s “Special Focus” program — a program for children with more involved special medical or developmental needs. Read their story here.
Fearing finances might hold them back from adopting, the Kanallakans started hosting fundraisers and ultimately ended up raising the money to cover 100 percent of the cost of their adoption. The Kanallakans traveled in March 2015 to bring their son, Oliver, home from China. Here, they reflect on their journey and give advice to other families considering fundraising to cover adoption costs. Click here to to read their post!
After five years in an orphanage in India, Ranjit came home to a family in the U.S. with the help of a grant from Holt’s Special Needs Adoption Fund. With the unconditional love and support of his family, “RJ” is now becoming the boy he was always meant to be. Read the story here.
In December 2014, Holt adoptive mom Andrea shared her family’s moving story about bringing home Rini — a little girl born in China with severe congenital heart disease — and the months-long struggle to save her life. One year later, Andrea shares an update about Rini and the incredible gift that she has given their family in their short time together. Read the story here.
As options expand for single applicants hoping to adopt internationally, one single mom shares her story of opening her heart and home to a son from China. Read her post here.
Top 5 Program Stories
In May, Holt’s China regional coordinator visited a group home Holt supports for children living with HIV in China. Here, she shares some of their stories — which, though heartbreaking, are edged with hope. Read it here.
For most girls in the slums of Pune, India, the idea that they could become a teacher or a public officer or a computer engineer — or that they could choose when, if and whom to marry — is a huge shift in thought. And it’s happening right now in the one-room community center of Holt’s legacy partner BSSK. Read the story here.
In the progressive tech capital of India, jobs and work are plentiful — and while this is good news overall, some of the adverse effects of rapid urbanization and an increasing migrant population make caring for orphaned and abandoned children with special needs particularly challenging. During a visit to partner program Swanthana in April, Holt Creative Lead Billie Loewen met the children and caregivers most affected by these challenges. Read it here.
In Cambodia, as more and more families migrate from rural villages in search of work, their children are placed at greater risk of exploitation and trafficking. Here, in one rural province, Holt is working to keep children safe in the care of their families and communities. Read the story here.
In 2015, Holt’s Orphan Nutrition Program team returned to India, where the program’s impact on the health and wellbeing of children — as well as the reach and ripple effects of the trainings — continue to grow. Read the story here.
Thank you to all the adoptive families, adoptees, sponsors and supporters who contributed stories and photos for our blog, e-news, magazine or other publications in 2015! Your voice is so powerful and vital to communicating both the beauty and complexity of adoption, the needs and potential of orphaned and vulnerable children and how each and every one of us can help strengthen families and empower children to overcome their circumstances and reach for every great thing in life. You are true change-makers, and we are so grateful for all you do.
Robin Munro | Managing Editor
Have an idea for 2016? Send your great story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org!