Over the past several weeks, Holt International, like all organizations, has experienced the consequences of the coronavirus outbreak and the critical impact on our programs, our staff and partners, and the children and families we serve together with you around the world. As the world watched what was happening in China, this felt very personal to Holt. With the health and safety of both children and families our utmost concern, we made the heart-wrenching decision to suspend travel for more than 20 adoptive families who were ready to bring their children home. In both the U.S. and China, Holt staff responded quickly to support and assist families and took immediate measures to ensure our partner orphanages had the medical and other supplies needed to protect the children in their care.
When the virus began to spread to Korea and other countries where we work in Asia, we took immediate action — sending masks and other supplies to our partners in those countries. Thankfully, as of today, we have received no reports of any children in our programs contracting the virus, and we continue to pray for the health and safety of all children, families, staff, partners and supporters around the world.
In recent days, as the outbreak has developed into a global pandemic, and reached the U.S., we have taken action to protect the health and safety of staff here at home. School closures and other restrictions are a hardship for many of our staff who have young families and we are committed to supporting them as they balance work and family.
As Holt responds to this international crisis, our commitment to serve children and families around the world is unwavering.
Around the world, our staff on the ground continues to provide care and support to families, and here in the U.S., our staff continues to process adoptions, assist families and do the mission-critical work of this organization. If you are just starting your adoption process or wondering if you should apply, know that the current need for families is as great as it has ever been. The international adoption process typically takes two to three years to complete and a lot is likely to change between now and the time of travel for a family just starting the process.
For both children in our programs and children waiting for families, the need is great — and will become greater in the weeks and months to come. Like many organizations, this pandemic has severely impacted our ability to fulfill our obligations to the thousands of children who depend on Holt to meet their most basic, life-sustaining needs.
Winter Jam concerts, our largest fundraising activity of the year, were cancelled due to the coronavirus. The loss of the Winter Jam concerts will be significant. We know the economic impact caused by the coronavirus is a crisis for our programs.
But as we move ahead in this uncertain and challenging environment, we feel tremendous gratitude for the heartfelt and unwavering compassion of every member of the Holt International family. Although this has been a time of stress and concern, it has also been a time of affirmation as we witness daily examples of the dedication of our staff both here and overseas, the resilience of families, and the concern and support of our donors and friends.
As Holt balances the priorities that are sure to come in the days ahead, please know that we will continue to do all we can to protect the children and families entrusted to us. We must, because lives of vulnerable children depend on it. And in spite of uncertainty, we find comfort knowing that we are not in this alone. That we have friends who are in this together with us.
If you can, please give a gift to our Where Most Needed fund to help meet the most urgent needs of children and families as we weather this global crisis.