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”

Accepting Submissions for Holt’s 2019 Adoptee Scholarship Contest!

Holt is now accepting submissions for our 2019 Adoptee Scholarship contest!

Last year, we asked adoptees to submit a creative entry responding to the prompt, “To My 10-Year-Old Self Re: Adoption…” This year, adoptees are asked to create responses around the prompt, “If you were to register for an “Adoptee 101″ class next fall, what would it teach you? Who would teach it? Why?”

Check out last year’s winning entries below! Suzy Allen, Sarah Carlson and Jill Cuzzolino each won a $500 scholarship to put toward college expenses.

If you’re an adoptee currently pursuing or planning to pursue higher education, make sure to submit your entry by July 1! We’re excited to see your creative, insightful responses. If you have any questions about the submission medium, eligibility or disbursement of funds, please contact Steve Kalb at stevek@holtinternational.org.

Continue reading “Accepting Submissions for Holt’s 2019 Adoptee Scholarship Contest!”

Country Singer Amy Corey Goes Back to Holt Adoptee Camp

Holt adoptee Amy Corey is fast becoming a country music star. Signed with Grammy-nominated producer Kent Wells — as well as the publicity firm Derailed Development — she now lives in Nashville where she works as a recording artist and songwriter. But long before Nashville, Amy was a Vietnamese Adoptee growing up in a small town in Oregon. And every summer from age 9 to age 17, she attended Holt Adoptee Camp — an experience she describes as the highlight of her every summer.

I was born on May 28, 1997 and was adopted six months later from Da Nang, Vietnam. My older sister, who is two years older than me, was adopted from China. I was brought to America and lived in Cleveland, Ohio until 2000. Our family then moved to Ashland, Oregon, where I grew up and lived until I was 18. Three months after graduating high school, I moved to Nashville, Tennessee to pursue my music career. I’m still living in Nashville where I am now a recording artist and songwriter.

My parents told me at a very young age that I was adopted. They began telling me when I was 3; they never hid it from me or my sister. They helped me understand it all throughout the years. Being 6 months old when I was adopted, I don’t remember much and I obviously didn’t fully understand everything until much later. Continue reading “Country Singer Amy Corey Goes Back to Holt Adoptee Camp”

Adoptee & Actress Danielle Lyn Travels to the Philippines

Actress Danielle Lyn (Queen Sugar and The Divergent Series: Allegiant) is a Filipina adoptee using her platform to advocate for orphaned children and kids in impoverished communities. Below, she shares about her first trip to the Philippines since she came home to her family in the U.S.,  and what it meant to her to reunite with her caregivers and see the continued outreach of Kaisahang Buhay Foundation, Holt’s partner agency in the Philippines.

Danielle with Marilyn Manuel, executive director of Kaisahang Buhay Foundation, Holt’s partner agency in the Philippines.

We tell story by choice, chance and experience in life. To mark 2018’s New Year, I penned my first piece for Holt seven months ago. Sharing then my hopes to receive what family is, far away beginnings for children awaiting theirs, and offering the wonder for what would come of it all. In the time that has passed, a lesson has grown nearer to me: the most touching stories are the ones we touch ourselves, they are the ones we ourselves live. Continue reading “Adoptee & Actress Danielle Lyn Travels to the Philippines”