Why U.S. Kids Need You To Say “Yes”

Children in our U.S. foster care and adoption system are in crisis — sleeping in hotel rooms and repurposed jails for a lack of somewhere to go. They need individuals and families to stand up, and say “yes.”  

In our Seattle area office each day, we receive multiple emails from the State of Washington that briefly describe children who need a place to go. For multiple reasons, some need a placement for only a few days, other need a long-term foster family, and others need an adoptive family. These emails overwhelm me with the sheer volume of need.

One recent Friday, I opened one email to find 57 children listed. We received eight more emails that same day, just like this one. They come every day. Every. Day.

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A Family For Me

Denise Russell, Holt’s child advocacy coordinator in the Seattle area, works with youth in foster care every day. And each child is so special to her. But one child, Kyle, especially touched her heart and reminded her of the urgency to find families for children in the U.S.

I love meeting and interviewing the fostered children we feature on “A Family For Me.” They are never who I expect them to be. Reading their profiles helps me envision their personalities and seeing their beautiful photos gives me a glimmer of their essence. But no amount of research has completely prepared me for meeting these young people and hearing what they have to say.

Over the past eight years, our partnership with KING5 News in Seattle has allowed us to feature over 170 foster care youth who are waiting for permanent, loving families through adoption. And yet, I’m confident I can still tell you something unique about every single child I’ve ever interviewed. One way or another, they either did something unexpected, said something incredibly profound, made me laugh, wore me out, left me speechless, generated a tear, and/or taught me something new.

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Finding Families for Children in Thailand With Special Needs

This month, three Holt staff members will travel throughout Thailand to assess 130 children who are eligible for adoption through the Thailand Special Needs Program. 

Thailand trip packing

Right now, I’m packing my suitcase, preparing for a 24-hour flight and an exhausting two weeks in Thailand. But I can’t wait!

Over the next three weeks, I will travel around the country to visit 12 orphanages and over 130 children who are waiting for families. Holt’s clinical social worker for our south and southeast Asia programs, Zoila Lopez, as well as Jennifer Nelson, Holt’s adoption services coordinator for Asia programs, will travel with me. And together, we will get to know these children so that we can better advocate for them once home.

Each of these children is eligible for adoption through Holt’s new Thailand Special Needs Program! 

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He Makes Everyone’s Life Better

In honor of National Down Syndrome Awareness Month — and children with Down syndrome around the world who are waiting for their permanent, loving families — we want to share about Jaxon. This sweet 4-year-old joined his adoptive family eight months ago, and he has enriched their lives more than they ever imagined.  

When Amy Kalani first met Jaxon in China, she thought she’d have no trouble finding him a family.

Although now the director of Holt’s Korea adoption program, at the time, Amy worked with Holt’s China program. When she met Jaxon, she was in China visiting orphanages and meeting children so that she could get to know them — and better advocate for them individually upon returning home.

Out of the dozens of children she met, Jaxon stood out to her the most.

Amy meeting Jaxon in China in March 2017
Amy Kalani meeting Jaxon in China in March 2017.

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How Holt’s Feeding and Positioning Manual Changes Children’s Lives

Holt International's Feeding and Positioning Manual.

In spring 2019, Holt’s nutrition program released Holt International’s Feeding and Positioning Manual: Guidelines for Working with Babies and Children. The first of its kind, this publication will have a lasting and life-changing impact on the lives of children in orphanages and impoverished communities around the world. 

As *Lanh lay on his back, his wide, fearful eyes filled with tears as he choked on each bite of food spooned into his mouth.

“It was hard to watch,” says Emily DeLacey, Holt’s nutrition program manager. Continue reading “How Holt’s Feeding and Positioning Manual Changes Children’s Lives”

Their Forever Place

Just 8 and 6 years old, Ariel and Sammy spent years in Oregon’s foster care system. They lived in different homes, with different families. But in November 2018, they made their final and forever stop — moving in with a family that would become their last. And in August 2019, Ariel and Sammy’s adoption was finalized, making them permanent members of the Beatty family. 

On a Tuesday morning on the outskirts of Corvallis, Oregon, there’s a party happening. In the field around Cami and Garrett Beatty’s home there’s a huge flying saucer bouncy-house, inflatable obstacle course, bubbles, and waffles with sprinkles and berries and whipped cream. With dozens of friends milling around, eating and playing, this looks like the best birthday party ever. What they’re celebrating is something different, but just as momentous.

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Children Who Deserve a Chance

Amid an orphan care crisis in South Korea, Holt sponsors and donors help care for children in greatest need­ — and support a long-term solution.

In South Korea, a 1-year-old sits in a crib. Surrounded by other children, in identical cribs, she lifts up her arms as her caregiver walks past. Her caregiver lovingly picks her up, then places her on the floor to play with the toys that she shares with everyone else. She cries, desperate for one more moment of attention. 

She’s healthy, developing well, “a lovely child,” as her caregivers describe her. But she will most likely never have a loving, permanent family of her own. 

Because she was abandoned. 

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Now There is Light

In her early teens, Devi thought she’d never be able to attend school. But then, Holt sponsors lifted her family out of the darkness.

When Devi imagined her life, it looked a lot like her mother’s. She would never learn to read or write. She would get married and have children at 15 or 16. She would work on the farm or do chores for a wealthy family. Life would be difficult. 

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