In recent weeks, Holt International, like all organizations, has felt the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic — both here in the U.S., and in our programs around the world.
But this is not the first crisis that Holt has weathered in our 64 years of serving children and families.
I think of the Vietnam Babylift in 1975, when our staff in Vietnam worked tirelessly to airlift children to safety as Saigon fell to the north. Or the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, when we helped secure emergency visas for children waiting to join their adoptive families in the U.S.
Through it all, we have never wavered in our mission to ensure a stable, loving home for every child. And although we are humbled by the challenges before us, this current crisis is no different. We stand fully committed to the children and families we serve, and will not rest until every child is safe in the arms of their permanent, loving family, here in the U.S or in the country of their birth.
In recent days, I have shared about our efforts to meet the emergency needs of children and families impacted by this global crisis in our programs overseas.
Today, I want to speak directly to families who are waiting to travel home with their child and complete their adoptions. I know this time of uncertainty and delay is especially difficult for you. As an adoptive father myself, I understand how it feels to long for the moment when you can hold your child and bring them safely home. The wait can feel endless — and, at times, excruciating.
But I assure you, as an adoptive father and as president of the agency you have entrusted to complete your adoption, the wait will end. Right now, Holt is doing everything in our power to protect your child, and children throughout our programs during this global crisis — and to help you bring your child safely home.
Recently, our Haiti team shared an incredible story with me about a little girl with a life-threatening heart condition whose path was cleared to join her family through the heroic efforts of the Haitian government and our teams both in Haiti and here in the U.S.
Haiti has one of the poorest medical systems in the world. And this little girl had a compromised immune system. If she had stayed in Haiti through the pandemic, her life would have been at serious risk.
But miraculously, and through the tireless, round-the-clock efforts of our staff, an exception was made for her to travel to her family in the U.S.
I know this story may feel bittersweet as you continue to wait to bring your child home, but I pray it also brings you hope — and reassurance that we will go above and beyond to make sure every child can be united with their family either here in the US, or in the country of their birth.
Right now, for most children, it’s safer for them to remain in their birth country until travel restrictions are lifted. But once it’s safe to travel, rest assured that we will move mountains for you and your child.
We have weathered many crises as an organization. And we’ve never faltered in our commitment to orphaned and vulnerable children, and to the families like yours who are waiting to embrace them into their hearts and homes.
Thank you again for your continued perseverance, faith and resolve in supporting orphaned and vulnerable children around the world.