Carmen needs a family!

Carmen coloring a butterfly.

Dear Future Adoptive Family,

There is a very special little girl in China waiting patiently for you to lift her up to the next step in her young life. But there is only so much an 11-year-old girl can do on her own.  She needs the support, guidance and love only a family can provide.

You may know the heartfelt poem by Maya Angelou, “Still I Rise….”  When I learned about Carmen and her journey, I kept thinking of this poem. Despite all the challenges she has faced, she has somehow managed to rise far above them.  Let me introduce you to Carmen – an amazing girl who has proven strength and resiliency beyond her young age.

In 2006, Carmen was born to parents who loved her dearly. Her mother passed away when Carmen was only 4 years old.  Her father could not part with his daughter and decided to take her to work with him every day. He also passed away, four years later, in 2014.  With no one to care for her, Carmen was sent to live with her elderly grandparents, already living under very difficult conditions, in the countryside.  It wasn’t long before illness and lack of income forced another transition for Carmen. She went to live in an orphanage, where it was soon determined that she had a bloodborne illness.

With remarkable stamina and courage, Carmen did not succumb to her illness, her losses and her grief, but rose above her incredible challenges.  She began treatment with regular medication. And as her health and stability improved, she learned she could depend on those caring for her; she began to accept her role as a child again. She joined a new public school and began to apply herself in all the ways she could.

Suddenly, there was no stopping her.

Carmen’s endearing character, her true gifts for art, drawing, painting, dancing and her brilliant academic performance began to garner the attention of others who met her. For the last three years, her public school named her as one of their top three students!  Carmen also recently received a very prestigious award for her academic performance from the municipal government, which is a rare and very high honor to earn. Carmen took an interest in dance, particularly Latin dance, and has participated in several performances with skill and grace for the community.

Last year, Holt’s China services director, Beth Smith, visited Carmen in person and had the opportunity to talk with her and view some of her beautiful artwork.

Beth remarked that Carmen is special – she is the kind of girl any parent would dream of having.  She is lively, outgoing and she loves to help others, especially the younger children at the center.  She also enjoys what other 11-year-old girls do…. jumping rope on the playground and participating in sports such as running and cycling.  Among her caregivers and peers, she is very popular and speaks kindly to others. The Orphanage Director recently visited the Holt office in Oregon, and we asked him about her.  He instantly knew who she was and commented that since he began his role in 2006, he has never met a child like Carmen. She shared that she is one of the most impressive, smartest and most empathetic children he has ever met.

Holt’s China services director, Beth Smith, holds up artwork she created with Carmen.

And yet, Carmen does not have a family of her own to help carry her through childhood and on into the stages of life that lie before her.  Even with so much promise and potential, her future is uncertain.

Carmen, and many other children we meet around the world, tug at our hearts.  We see their heartache, the challenges and ongoing transitions they face, and the stigma they must deal with on a regular basis due to poverty, illness and how they come into care. We also see the potential they bring to our world in spite of it all, the unconditional love and gifts they offer, and the resilience and hope they have, even when no one else seems to be listening.

We hope that you are listening. Whether you feel called to adopt, or simply to advocate for children who need families, Carmen needs your help. She is at a point in her life where a family could make all the difference for her. Carmen needs a family open to her medical condition and ongoing care.  Please contact us if you would like to learn more about her.  We have many videos, photos and information about her we are waiting to share with you!

Alycia Fahr-Zarlons | Match & Advocacy Coordinator, China Program

Could you be the right family for Carmen? For more information, contact Alycia Fahr-Zarlons at


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