During a visit to Eugene last summer, adoptee Allison visited the Holt International office where she was able to learn more about the adoption process. This, paired with her own adoption story, inspired her to create an art piece for the Holt office as a way to say “thank you.”
“If you look on the very top of the globe where there are three people, there’s two that look larger [than] the smaller one in the middle,” Allison says, describing her piece of artwork that now hangs in Holt’s office in Eugene. “I was creating it to represent a family.”
In July, Allison and her family came to visit relatives in Eugene, as her parents, John and Susan, lived in the area before they moved to Alaska. Allison is an adoptee, and although she wasn’t adopted through Holt, her family feels a strong connection to Holt’s mission. After hearing about the Eugene office, their family wanted to visit Holt and learn more about our work.
“It’s amazing how many lives Holt touches,” Allison says. Holt’s worldwide impact inspired Allison’s drawing, which depicts families around the world who have been brought and kept together by Holt.
Allison was adopted when she was 5 months old. Now 21, Allison drew inspiration from her visit to Holt last summer to create an art piece to thank the Holt employee who had shown them the office. After she began working on her drawing, Allison realized she wanted to use it to thank Holt in general.
Allison’s drawing features a vibrant blue globe surrounded by families and guardian angels in the form and colors of the Holt logo. The two larger figures on the globe depict the parents, while the smaller one in the middle represents their child.
“I used the figures,” says Allison, “to create the other three groups on the four cardinal points around the globe to represent families all around the world.”
According to Allison, the globe centerpiece was the most difficult part of the project. For the final product, Allison created a simplified globe, constructed from a grid made of longitudinal and latitudinal lines.
“I used the grid and put the heart in the middle to symbolize the universal compassion and empathy that Holt spreads around the world,” says Allison. Among the families standing around the globe are additional figures raising their arms above their heads. “Those represent the representatives of Holt that tie the families together,” Allison says.
To accompany the drawing, Allison wrote a poem to express what Holt means to her, and what it represents as a whole. The poem reads:
“Reaching out to the far corners of the earth,
it touches each of us at the coming of our birth.
Extending further to the angels up above,
Hope brings Our Lives Together with love.”
Allison says she wrote each line of her poem with a deliberate message commenting on Holt’s impact – on a level both personal, and global. The global impact of Holt can be seen in the 14 countries where Holt has programs to keep families together, care for homeless children and find adoptive families. Holt’s adoption and family strengthening programs include microloans for single moms to start businesses, education that empowers children to reach their full potential, job skills training for women who are the sole providers for their family, and safe and stable housing for families who live in dangerous conditions.
“Holt expands support to […] children and families in need all over the world,” Allison says, “regardless of origin or association.”
“The first line represents Holt’s large influence, how it has so much range. How many lives it’s touching. I got that idea from when I was placing families at cardinal points on the globe,” says Allison. “I may not have been adopted through Holt, but it has such an influence that it can provide support even before [children are] born.”
Both Allison’s drawing and poem highlight the importance of a support system for the families.
“The third line – that ties into my personal experience with my guardian angels,” says Allison, “and all the people around the world who have protection.” Regarding the final line, she says, “I wanted to make a phrase that encompasses what Holt can do for people, and what a positive influence it has. And it really brings hope to people and [brings] lives together.”
Allison and her family came together 20 years ago when her parents adopted her from Korea. Along with her parents, Allison’s family includes her two older brothers, Ryan and Kyle, as well as her younger sister, Aimee, who was also adopted from Korea.
When Allison was 18, she and her family traveled to Korea. While there, she had the opportunity to look at her adoption records and learn more about her origin. Through the records, she learned that her birth mother was about 15 when she gave birth to Allison.
“She wanted to give me the opportunity to give me the best foot forward,” Allison says. “I want her to know that I feel very grateful to her.”
Allison’s connection with Holt likely won’t end with the special gift that she generously created for the staff. While visiting the office, she learned about Holt Adoptee Camp, which provides a unique experience for adoptees to support each other and have fun together at an overnight camp every summer. As a college student, Allison can serve as a camp counselor.
“That’s something I’m really interested in for next year,” she says.
Allison’s visit to the Holt office provided an opportunity not only to create a gift showcasing her talents, but also for her family to gain insight into Holt’s work. Through her drawing and poem, Allison was able to highlight the families who have been brought together through adoption – emphasizing, as stated in the final line of her poem, “Hope brings our lives together with love.”
Hayley Demanett | Family Recruitment Intern