Last Year’s Holt Adoptee Scholarship Winners!

stock photo of four graduates in caps and gowns to advertise 2020 holt adoptee scholarship contest

We kicked off our 2021 Holt Adoptee Scholarship Contest on June 10th! Adoptees from any agency, domestic or international, are invited to submit a project answering this prompt:

What’s in a name? Revealing the stories behind our adoptive names, birth names and nicknames. Tell us how your name(s) impacts your identity.

We encourage you to interpret the 2021 prompt creatively — whether it be through a self-portrait, an essay, digital art, a zine, a song, original choreography, poetry or a short film (or anything else you might come up with!). For non-essay submissions, please include a brief artist statement describing your piece (200 words or fewer). Submissions are due by July 31, 2021. Our team is looking forward to seeing your work!

Need some inspiration? Check out the winning projects from the 2020 Holt Adoptee Scholarship Contest!

Continue reading “Last Year’s Holt Adoptee Scholarship Winners!”

Orchestration: An Excerpt From Saundra Henderson Windom’s Memoir

As a child, Saundra Henderson Windom, née Bang Sun, was unsure where in South Korea she was born, and she never knew her parents—a South Korean woman and a Black American soldier. In her upcoming memoir, Windom shares her experiences with conflicting identities and cultural dislocation. Read an excerpt from the book, to be released September 2021, here.

Continue reading “Orchestration: An Excerpt From Saundra Henderson Windom’s Memoir”

Birth Search: Tips From Post Adoption Services

man sitting at desk filling out notes to illustrate birth search process

I’ve been working in post-adoption services for over 16 years. While unique histories and individual circumstances have brought thousands of Adult Adoptees to us over the years, many come asking similar questions about topics like adoption files and birth search. I’ll be providing insights and answers to some of those questions in this limited series I’m calling “Tips from Post Adoption Services.”

Read part one, “File Copies: Tips From Post Adoption Services.”

Part Two: Birth Search

We receive dozens of birth search requests each year. It’s the big question Adoptees are asking and the big question that many of us ponder.

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How One Adoptee Wraps Children With Love

Why Korean Adoptee Cat Fisher knits blankets for children in Holt’s child sponsorship programs around the world.  This story originally appeared in Holt’s spring 2017 child sponsorship magazine

Growing up, Cat Fisher had a special blanket. It was blue and made of an old Disney sheet and she loved every ratty corner of it.

“I took it everywhere with me until it became rags,” says Cat, a Korean Adoptee who now lives in Georgia with her husband, James, and two hound dogs, Annyong and Toby.

Cat was just 3 months old when she arrived on an airplane in Memphis, Tennessee accompanied by a team of nuns. This is a story Cat’s mom and dad have shared with her throughout her life — describing the frenzied nuns, the anxiety when her flight was delayed, and the quick handoff of a tiny baby with nothing more than the clothes she wore on her long flight home. Continue reading “How One Adoptee Wraps Children With Love”

Finding My Missing Piece — An Adoptee’s Birth Search Story

Thai Adoptee Taylor Beebe shares her experience with the adoptee birth search process, and how it felt to meet her birth mother for the first time in twenty years.

Taylor, a Thai Adoptee, recently met her birth mother after doing an adoptee birth search

“Hello, my name is Taylor, and a fun fact about me is that I was adopted from Thailand.” This is my go-to quick fact during icebreaker activities or when I’m meeting someone new.

Whenever I say that I am adopted, people always show a lot of interest. They think that it’s the coolest thing since sliced bread. What those people don’t always understand is that adoption isn’t simply the “coolest” thing. It’s much more complex than that. I love my family and adoption is an essential piece of my identity, but I have struggled to process my feelings as an Adoptee. It hasn’t always been easy for me.

Continue reading “Finding My Missing Piece — An Adoptee’s Birth Search Story”

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.