2017 was full of stories of inspiration, strength, compassion, generosity, love and family. Over the past year on the Holt blog, adoptees shared their hearts and life experiences — some even traveled to their birth country and processed their adoption in a whole new way. Holt sponsors and donors empowered children and families around the world to help them stay together. Some of our biggest stories of the year came from Mongolia, when generous Holt donors traveled across the world to meet children living in “a place no child should ever be.” Children from around the world united with their permanent, loving adoptive families — and adoptive families went on a journey, both literally and metaphorically, to bring their beloved children home.
While it’s impossible to sum up the entire year, here are your most viewed, most favorite adoptee, sponsorship and adoptive family stories of 2017! If you didn’t read or watch them the first time — or you want to be inspired all over again — be sure to take a look!
Top 5 Adoptee Stories
In searching for her birth mom, Holt adoptee Krista Gause meets her first biological family member — though not the one she expected. Read Krista’s story.
After years of curiosity, 26-year-old Indian adoptee Shabana Deckinga travels to the country of her birth — bringing unexpected healing, and putting some long-held fears to rest. Read Shabana’s story.
Over the summer, adoptee Calli Tilson traveled on the 2017 Holt Family Tour to Korea — her first time returning to Korea since she was adopted in 1999. And while there, she found home in an unexpected place… Read Calli’s story.
Adult adoptee Ying Lamb, now 22, shares her advice for children who come home at older ages, and for the families who adopt them. Read Ying’s story.
While traveling on Holt’s 2012 Adult Adoptee Heritage Tour of Korea, Kim Buckley met the foster family that cared for her before joining her family in the U.S. Read Kim’s story.
Top 5 Sponsorship Stories
Through Holt’s child sponsorship program, dedicated sponsors create pathways for orphaned and vulnerable children to escape poverty and chase their dreams — an especially rare opportunity for children living in caves in northern China. Read about the lives of children who live in the caves.
When a team of Holt donors travels to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia to build homes for four of the most vulnerable families in the poorest district of the city, something so unexpected happens — so stunning and so moving — they decide on the spot to build one more. Read the full story.
Around the world, most children come into care not because their families don’t love them, but because they can’t care for them. And far too often, they reason they can’t care for them is because their children have special medical or developmental needs. But through the innovative programs of one longstanding partner in Mongolia, Holt supporters are working to help children thrive — and keep them in the loving care of their families. Read about children in orphanage care in Mongolia.
Amid the desolate hillsides outside Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia is a place no one should call home. It is the city’s largest garbage dump, where hundreds of families reside, making a living from the refuse. Until recently, the children of this impoverished community mostly avoided school — fearing bullying and discrimination. But now, for the first time, they have a safe space to learn, where they are loved and embraced by everyone. Read about the children who live here.
Through the Independent Living and Educational Assistance Program in the Philippines, young adults aging out of institutional care gain the skills to live successfully on their own. Marlon Cruz was once an ILEA scholar. This is the story of his life, as told by Marlon. Read Marlon’s story.
Top 6 Adoption Stories
(Because how could we pick just 5??)
Every Time We Say No: Adopting from Foster Care
When Bridget and Joe got an unexpected call asking if they’d like to welcome two teenagers into their home, they initially thought there was no way they were ready for that. But the alternative weighed heavily on their hearts. If they didn’t say yes, who would? In the process of becoming parents to a brother and sister pair, they’ve learned a lot about love, how to serve vulnerable kids, and the incredible need for foster and adoptive families. Read the Beal family’s story.
Together, Mrs. Yang and Mrs. Kim have fostered over 140 children in Korea. Last month, they visited Holt families in Oregon — an experience they, and the adoptees and adoptive families they met, will never forget. Read about these beloved foster mothers.
When Eric and Jen Grabill first read about their son, Landon, on Holt’s China photolisting, they knew they could give this boy with a severe birth defect the love and care he needed. They also knew that at home with them, he would have access to something he would likely never have in China: an education. Read more about the Grabills.
For as long as she can remember, Liz Larson wanted to be a mom. But the China adoption process, by herself, tested her patience and perseverance. It took her more than 7,000 miles. But it also made her lean heavily into God’s promises for herself, for her daughter and for their new life together. Read Liz and Ellia’s story.
Adoption is something we always considered we would do… some day. Read Landon’s adoption story.
Born with a condition that progressively stole his eyesight, Levi urgently needed advanced medical care to save what was left of his vision. But first, he needed to come home. Read Levi’s story
Have a great story idea for 2018? Contact Holt’s managing editor, Robin Munro, at email@example.com.