A Glimpse Into a Sponsored Child’s Life

Holt president Phil Littleton shares three short sponsorship stories with Holt’s child sponsors. 

This month, I want to share a few little stories with you from our family strengthening program in China. They are short, sweet and to the point. But what I love about them is the glimpse they give into a sponsored child’s life. And how you, as a sponsor, are helping a child to have a happy, healthy childhood — or as close to that as possible for a child who has already experienced a lot of hard things in life.

Seven-year-old Ju holds a certificate of achievement from her school. Ju's sponsor helps pay her school fees.
Seven-year-old Ju holds a certificate of achievement from her school. Ju’s sponsor helps pay her school fees.

Continue reading “A Glimpse Into a Sponsored Child’s Life”

A Looming Hunger Crisis Among School Children Due to COVID-19

Holt’s nutrition program director shares why COVID-19 is increasing hunger among school-age children around the world. 

When COVID-19 became a global pandemic, hunger was already present in many of the communities where Holt works. For many children, it was common for them to miss meals or go days without food.

In almost all of the countries where Holt works, sponsors and donors support children to go to school and for those schools to provide a balanced and nutritious meal for every child. For many of the children in Holt programs, this was their one nutritious meal of the day.

But then COVID-19 hit, closing schools across the globe. What was already a big problem has now became a crisis. Continue reading “A Looming Hunger Crisis Among School Children Due to COVID-19”

The Importance of Foster Kids Maintaining Connections With Biological Relatives

Holt’s foster care and adoption specialist shares why it’s important to help foster kids stay connected to their biological families, regardless of the reasons they entered the foster care system. 

When a child is entering into care, every situation or case is different. As a foster care worker, the one thing we hear a lot about from adults going through the foster care process is their uncertainty or uneasiness about being involved in legal risk, or being involved with biological parents or relatives. But at the end of the day, no matter what happened for a child to come into care, they all belong and came from somewhere and will long for that connection with their birth family. Continue reading “The Importance of Foster Kids Maintaining Connections With Biological Relatives”

Our Story of Adopting From South Africa and Becoming a Transracial Family

Adam and Erin Turner share about their experience becoming a transracial adoptive family as they welcomed into their lives two children from South Africa, the country where Holt recently launched our newest adoption program.

The Turner family, including their three biological children and two children they adopted transracially from South Africa.

It’s difficult to say when the word “adoption” first popped into our heads. We talked about adoption in the earliest moments of forming our family. Maybe it was an image or a story that stuck with us during our childhood years. We had no examples in our family, per se. It simply felt like a whisper and a heart opening. It felt like extending love, security and family to a child who desperately needed it.

The desire and whispering voice stuck with us as our young children grew. And in the most unlikely moment, that whisper turned into a curiosity about what was possible. Many hurdles had to be overcome and many unlikely “yeses” had to be given. When the doors flung open, we were nervous yet hopeful. We knew we had a lot to learn but that the gift of time would allow us to set out on a journey of growth and maturation that would be important for our family and all our children. Continue reading “Our Story of Adopting From South Africa and Becoming a Transracial Family”

One Family’s Story of Adopting From South Africa

Adoptive mom Amanda Kick shares her family’s story of adopting two children with special needs from South Africa, where Holt just launched our newest adoption program.

My husband and I were on our first date when I bluntly asked if he’d be comfortable with adoption as a way to grow a family. I had adoption in my heart for years and knew I wasn’t willing to budge. Although there’s deep beauty in biological children, I just knew I wanted to parent the kids who were waiting. Thankfully, my now husband was fully on board.

We first approached our agency and learned we were too young for many countries, too poor, or our BMI was too high for others. We fit all the parameters for South Africa so it was an easy decision that felt kind of made for us. I had been on a trip to South Africa in high school so I thought I was somewhat familiar with the country. Continue reading “One Family’s Story of Adopting From South Africa”

The Grand Dream of One Single Mother in Korea

A single mother in Korea shares her story about choosing to parent her child while staying in one of Holt’s donor-supported single mother shelters. This story was originally published on the Holt Stories blog in April 2016.

In Korea, unwed motherhood is one of the leading reasons women choose adoption for their children. When a single woman becomes pregnant, she could lose everything — her family, friends, career, education, housing and the hope of these things in the future. This stigma is so strong and enduring that often, women feel like they don’t have a choice except to relinquish their child for adoption.

Through our partner agency in Korea — and with the support of Holt donors — we work to empower women and show them that they do have a choice. Holt Korea operates several shelters for mothers and their children where they can receive free housing, nutritious food, counseling and educational support in a safe and positive environment. The overall mission of the shelters is to help each mother gain the skills she needs to successfully parent, provide for her child and care for herself.

The following story is written by a woman who lives with her son at the Holt Morning Garden unwed mother and child shelter. Because of the support she and her son, Ji-ho, receive, this young woman decided not only to parent her son — but also to pursue higher education despite the discrimination she would likely face in the admissions process.

Defying all odds, she was accepted to college and is now studying to become a social worker so she can help other single mothers like herself as they work to overcome the stigma that is so firmly entrenched in Korean culture.

Continue reading “The Grand Dream of One Single Mother in Korea”

Perspectives All Foster Parents Should Embrace

Foster parenting can be challenging, but parents who welcome children with compassion, empathy and no expectations will have the most success. 

Parenting a child is a challenging task. And when it comes to parenting a foster youth, that challenge increases — but not because of the child. As one former foster youth observed, the increased challenge comes from what this child has endured, and the survival techniques they have developed to adapt to living in the system.

 “Everyone thinks that we’re such bad people,” Dawna Hovenier shared in the 2016 Casey Family Programs video, “Former Foster Youth Share Their Stories.” “We are not bad people. We just had terrible circumstances in which we were brought up …There’s so much more to a child than just their behaviors. I mean, I felt like my life was on hold and I didn’t learn a lot of skills I needed to for when I turned 18.”

Continue reading “Perspectives All Foster Parents Should Embrace”

The Brave Women of Cambodia

With the support of child sponsors, one brave group of women in Cambodia seek a better life for their children. This story originally appeared in Holt’s spring 2016 sponsorship magazine.

The Brave Women laugh during a group meeting.
The Brave Women laugh during a group meeting.

They call themselves the Brave Women.

Sitting in a circle on a large, green tarp under the shade of cashew nut trees, many of the women sit with their legs bent under them to one side, calves parallel, in the way so natural to Cambodians. It’s bright and hot, and little clouds of dust rise under the fidgeting feet of the children lingering to watch. Some women hold smaller children on their laps. Nearby, two large, cream-colored oxen graze on dry brush, their ears and tails swishing at flies.

The leader of this group is an older woman with strong hands and a small streak of gray hair near each of her temples. She speaks softly, but confidently in Khmer.

“We call ourselves the brave women because everyone has to be brave and speak up,” she says.

Continue reading “The Brave Women of Cambodia”

An Update on Adoptee Melia, Her Family and Her Heart

Nine years ago, we shared a story about Melia, a little girl with major congenital heart disease who joined her family after they saw her on Holt’s waiting child photolisting. Read an update on Melia today from her parents, Ryan and Katie!

Melia modeled for her local children’s hospital when they were awarded a US News and World Report Beat Hospital in Cardiology and Heart Surgery Award!
Melia modeled for her local children’s hospital when they were awarded a US News and World Report Beat Hospital in Cardiology and Heart Surgery Award!

Melia is now 10 years old. She had three surgeries to strengthen her heart when she first arrived home, but has not seen the operating room since! She gets annual check-ups with her cardiologist, but has not needed any further interventions or medications. Continue reading “An Update on Adoptee Melia, Her Family and Her Heart”

How Sponsorship Helped Devi Avoid Early Marriage

Holt CEO Phil Littleton shares a letter he recently wrote to Holt’s child sponsors. 

Devi (top left) avoided early marriage with the help of sponsors
Devi (top left) with her mom and her younger siblings.

I recently came across a heartbreaking statistic.

According to UNICEF, “Over the next decade, up to 10 million more girls will be at risk of becoming child brides as a result of the pandemic.”


I read this in a story we recently shared about the rise in child marriage in India due to COVID-19, and how sponsors like you help to protect girls at risk. I hope you get a chance to read this story about the powerful difference you make as a sponsor. Continue reading “How Sponsorship Helped Devi Avoid Early Marriage”