Mom, I Forgive You

Adoptee Krista Gause shares a letter she wrote to her birth mom before she traveled on the summer 2016 Holt Heritage Tour of Korea. 

The adoption agency suggested that I write you a letter. And while I know I’m supposed to keep this brief, I just can’t. I have so many things to share with you. Did you ever have a friend who you only saw every now and then but you loved each other so much that time and distance didn’t matter? And that when you finally did see that friend you had a laundry list of things to share with her? That’s exactly how I feel right now. Continue reading “Mom, I Forgive You”

A Letter to My Future Adoptive Parents

Adoption is complicated. Grieving is, too.

Grief is intertwined in adoption because at some point in time, a family and a child experienced loss, while another family is built. Let’s continue to normalize that tension, so that others might find the courage and hope to walk through it.

This letter is inspired largely by elements from my own adoption journey, but it’s open enough that I hope it shines some light into yours.

Reposted with permission from Adoptee and therapist Cam Lee Small, MS, LPCC. Cam provides adoption-competent therapy, counseling and educational resources for Adoptees and adoptive families. Read more of his work on his website.

Without Them, I Wouldn’t Be Where I Am Today

Holt adoptee Kanya Sesser skateboards, skis, races, models and surfs. Born without legs, Kanya has become an inspiration to friends and fans around the world with her motto, “No legs, No limits.”

“I have always been a positive person — largely in thanks to the people who have cared for me throughout my life.

The people in Thailand who raised me until I was 5 helped me to become a good, calm person. The monks taught me a lot as a kid by showing me love and forgiveness, and I learned the value of Buddhism. Even after I left their care, they kept in touch with me while I lived in Thailand. They taught me a lot that has helped me all through my life.

And although I was initially scared of leaving Thailand with my new family, I wouldn’t be able to do the things I am doing if it wasn’t for my adoptive parents. My mom and dad have supported me every day and all though my sports. My mom, I love her. We have a great relationship. Without her, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

This is an excerpt of a longer story that appeared on the Holt blog in June 2014. Read Kanya’s full story here!

Little Mirrors: Seeing Myself for the First Time

It’s hard to miss that the root of the word familiarity is family. I had a dear friend and former roommate tell me, as we were heading back to our families for a holiday visit, the first thing she did when she got to her parents’ house was bury her head in the pillows and inhale the smell of home.

I had an immediate flashback to memories of my childhood when I would find the smell of my home a bit off-putting, even borderline stinky. It wasn’t because the people dwelling inside had any hygiene issues. When my friend told me about her little ritual, I realized in that moment it didn’t resonate with me because my house never smelled like home to me.

Continue reading “Little Mirrors: Seeing Myself for the First Time”

Parting Words For a Place That Will Never Part From Me

As she prepares to move to Indonesia for an exciting new job, Holt Adoptee Programs Lead and adult Adoptee Caitlin Howe shares some thoughts on her time at Holt.

Caitlin Howe (bottom left) during a video recording with other adult adoptees on Holt’s post-adoption team.

I remember my first interview at Holt. I actually remember all three of my interviews at Holt, each for a different position in a different department. After I completed my master’s degree in intercultural youth and family development, I knew that Holt was one of the few places in town where I could see myself working because of the international focus. After the first two attempts I knew that I had one more shot left in me before moving on in my job search. Continue reading “Parting Words For a Place That Will Never Part From Me”

Thoughts on Racism From an Asian American Adoptee Parent

Adoptee Kit Myers shares how his life experience as an Asian American shapes how he plans to parent his daughter.  This piece was originally posted in 2015 alongside reflections on race and parenting from two other Asian American adoptee parents. 

Dr. Kit Myers with his daughter.

My biological daughter is 16 months old. She is half Chinese, half Hmong, and I’m hyper-aware of how outwardly friendly new people are to her. I think this parallels the experience of many adoptees. Continue reading “Thoughts on Racism From an Asian American Adoptee Parent”

Reader Favorite Stories of 2020

Revisit our most read, most shared, most liked adoption, adoptee and international program stories from the past year!

Top 5 Adoption Stories 

Why International Adoption is Still Needed

Until we live in a world where every child can grow up safe and loved  in a permanent, loving family, Holt will continue to provide and advocate for ethical, child-centered international adoption. Continue reading “Reader Favorite Stories of 2020”

Why One Adoptee Became a Sponsor

Vietnamese adoptee Clare Larson reflects on her life, her family and her hopes and dreams for the child she sponsors in Vietnam. A longer version of this story originally appeared in Holt’s fall 2017 sponsorship magazine. 

Adoptee and Holt child sponsor Clare Larson with her mom and dad at her college graduation in 2009.
Clare with her mom and dad at her college graduation in 2009.

In January 2017, Holt’s sponsorship team received an unusual email from a woman named Clare Larson.

“In 1993,” it read, “I was fortunate enough to be adopted from Vietnam at 9 years old and went through the Holt adoption agency. At 33 years old with a career in management consulting and a student at Cornell’s Johnson MBA program, I am finally able to give back. I would like to sponsor a child from Vietnam.”

Continue reading “Why One Adoptee Became a Sponsor”

I’m an Adoptee and This is My Story

Chinese adoptee Grace White shares about her life as an adoptee, and how she found a community — and a stronger identity — at Holt Adoptee Camp. 

Chinese adoptee Grace White

Every adoptee has a story. Although they likely share some similarities, each story is also unique to the adoptee. I hope sharing my story helps other adoptees or anyone from the adoption community speak out and share their own story. Even though it’s truly hard to write my story, I hope it sheds light on the challenges as well as shares the beauty of adoption, the highs and lows, the pros and cons, and not everything that is just black and white.

Hi, my name is Grace White. I am 16, almost 17 years old and this is my story. Continue reading “I’m an Adoptee and This is My Story”

For My Korean Sisters

Holt adoptee Kate Pyle shares what inspired her to launch a campaign raising over $16,000 for the Holt Morning Garden shelter for single mothers and their children in Korea.

A single mom and her son who stayed at the Morning Garden shelter.
A single mom and her son who stayed at the Morning Garden shelter.

My name is Kate Pyle and I’m a Holt Korean adoptee. At the beginning of September, following a six week campaign, my wife, Laurel, and I raised $16,450 for three women at the Achimddeul “Morning Garden” shelter in Daejeon, South Korea. It was the first time Laurel and I had ever fundraised. Soliciting donations is never easy, but even in this bizarre time in history, we were successful! We both believed in the cause, in Holt and in ourselves.

So why did we do this? Let me tell you a little story. Continue reading “For My Korean Sisters”