44 Years Later, Korean Adoptee Explores His Roots on Holt Heritage Tour

A blog entry from Joah Mershon, a Holt adoptee currently traveling on a Holt heritage tour of Korea.  
Today, we went to Holt and conducted my roots search. Prior to the search, I was already aware that it may not produce any new results. The usual feelings of indifference, disconnection, confusion, fear, sadness and anger arose.
Joah with Sister Theresa at the White Lily Orphanage, the orphanage in Korea where Joah lived in the late 1970s before going home to his family in the U.S.
Joah with Sister Theresa at the White Lily Orphanage, the orphanage in Korea where Joah lived in the late 1970s before going home to his family in the U.S.

Continue reading “44 Years Later, Korean Adoptee Explores His Roots on Holt Heritage Tour”

Sisters, Reunited

Meet Rekha, Deborah and Christina — three Indian adoptees from different families with one very strong and powerful connection: their shared beginning.

Rekha, Deborah and Christina

If you see us in person or in a picture, we are three little Indians: petite, of Indian nationality, and a group of three. Our names are Deborah, Rekha and Christina. We are three different people with one very strong and powerful connection: our shared beginning. Together on December 11, 1988, we traveled on Pan Am Flight 067 as infants 20+ hours from Pune, Maharashtra, India, to New York City, New York, USA. There were five of us total, accompanied and cared for by our American travel chaperones, Barbara, her husband, Lee, and their 20-year-old son, Kip. What we share is not only a past, but since finding each other and then meeting again 30+ years later, a new beginning of friendship and sisterhood.

Continue reading “Sisters, Reunited”

Racial Identity – Caley and The GREY Space

In this episode we talk to Caley, a Vietnamese Adoptee and college student at the University of Oregon. Caley shares with us about being a transracial Adoptee growing up in Oregon, existing in the “grey” space, and attitudes towards racial stereotypes through an Adoptee lens. We are so excited to be able to share more from Caley through this video.

Check out part 1 of our series on racial identity: https://youtu.be/YACmnFgw6c0

Check out part 2: https://youtu.be/fTqqDH6oytk

Contact us! pas@holtinternational.org

Love Beyond The Orphanage

Every year, over 6,000 young adults age out of orphanages in Korea. As “orphans,” they face stigma and discrimination, and have no support or guidance. But one organization is now working to change that — providing love, and hope, beyond the orphanage.

Myung Hoon plays viola.

Myung Hoon plays the viola beautifully.

Beautifully enough to win second place in a solo competition with musicians who learned to play the instrument years before he did. Beautifully enough to earn a scholarship to New York’s prestigious Manhattan School of Music. But no matter how beautifully he played, for a long time, Myung Hoon never felt like he was enough. Like he deserved what he achieved.

“I did not have a dream when I was young because I did not grow up in a family. I thought orphans do not deserve to have a dream.” Continue reading “Love Beyond The Orphanage”

Top 15 Holt Blog Stories of 2018

Every year, we receive the most powerful, inspiring stories from adoptees, sponsored children and families, sponsors, donors, adoptive families and birth parents to share on our blog. 2018 was no different. The stories — and the people behind the stories — show a tremendous sense of strength, love, hope, generosity and family. During 2018, adoptees reunited with family members, reflected on their stories and wrote letters to their ten-year-old selves. Adoptees and adoptive families reflected on the challenges, the joys and the special moments they shared with one another. Sponsored children and families expressed their gratitude to the sponsors and donors who support them, and opened the door to share their stories of perseverance and success.

Each story from 2018 is full of empowerment, inspiration and hope. Here are some of your most viewed, most shared and most favorite adoptee, adoption, family strengthening and orphan care stories of 2018!

Continue reading “Top 15 Holt Blog Stories of 2018”

Bringing Us Together With Love

Allison holding up her artwork at Holt International's office.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.”

Continue reading “Bringing Us Together With Love”

Return to Hong Kong: One Adoptive Mom & Daughter Look Back

As Holt reestablishes an international adoption program in Hong Kong, adoptee Amy Banta and her mom, Julie, reflect on their lifelong journey together — and the orphanage in Hong Kong where they first met nearly 26 years ago.

Julie (left) and Amy in a recent photo at home.

A Beautiful Mess

My knee-jerk reaction to inquiries regarding my life is to respond with how simple and relatively ordinary it is. Yet in looking back on my 29 years, I am reminded of how my odds-defying early life ultimately shaped who I am today. I was 4 years old when my mom and Grandma “Lo” came to Mother’s Choice in Hong Kong to bring me home to America. While the actual adoption required no work on my end, I am humbled and deeply thankful for every person who fought on my behalf.

I grew up in Colleyville, Texas as one of seven children and I highly recommend the large family life. Organized chaos becomes a reality when your mom is a teacher. I truly cannot imagine life without my sisters or brothers and their individual impact on me. Continue reading “Return to Hong Kong: One Adoptive Mom & Daughter Look Back”

Favorite Five Adoptee Stories

At Holt, we continue to learn from the diverse experiences and perspectives of adoptees, and adoptee stories continue to be some of the most popular content on our blog! Of all time, these are the five most popular adoptee stories ever to appear on the Holt blog. 

Courtney Young with her family.

No Fairytale Ending
Courtney Young, an adoptee and member of Holt’s marketing and development team, met her birth mother during her first trip to Korea with Holt. Here, she discusses family, culture and the complexities of adoption. Continue reading “Favorite Five Adoptee Stories”

Adoptee Perspective: A New Meaning to November

Adoptee Mai Anh Boaz had never heard of National Adoption Month before she started interning at Holt. Now, the month of November holds new meaning for her, and has inspired her to reflect on her own adoption story.  

Mai Anh Boaz.

During my first few weeks interning at Holt International, I remember sitting in the office and planning Instagram posts when I saw an article about National Adoption Month. Then, I remember asking, “There’s a month just for adoption awareness?” As an adoptee, I never knew people associated November with adoption. I loved the idea, but I was surprised I had never heard of National Adoption Month until this year.

Once I looked into previous posts and articles, I was intrigued by the multitude of stories from adoptees and adoptive families about what adoption meant to them. They were moving, inspiring and fun. Yet, reading other people’s stories made me realize that I never took time to reflect on my story. What does my adoption mean to me? How has this aspect of my life shaped me into who I am today? What would my life look like if adoption was not a part of the story? Continue reading “Adoptee Perspective: A New Meaning to November”