Preparing For The Unexpected — And The Expected!

How the “Child-Specific Preparation” tool helped two families anticipate their child’s needs, and ease their transition home.

Two-year-old Nam Fon with her parents.

A 2-year-old girl from Thailand, and a 13-year-old girl from China. Over a thousand miles and a 10-year age difference separated them. But in the last year, both of their lives would change forever in the very same way. Each would leave the life they had known and the country of their birth to join an adoptive family in the United States. And though their caregivers had prepared each girl as much as possible, when the day actually arrived for them to leave — reality sank in. And with it came confusion, fear and sadness. Continue reading “Preparing For The Unexpected — And The Expected!”

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.

Continue reading “He Makes Everyone’s Life Better”

A Family That Will Love Me

At a care center in Bogotá, several older children who have chosen to be adopted share what it means to them to have a family — and what they would like to tell people who are considering adopting an older child. 

Lina is 14. She lives in Colombia, in a care center for older children who have lost or become permanently separated from their families. For a long time, she dreamed of having a family. But as time went by, her dreams began to fade.

“I thought I was going to be adopted. But the time went by, and then, my hopes just went away,” she says, her eyes watery and her voice soft. She is pretty, with gentle, dark eyes, a sweet, warm smile and long straight brown hair. She wears a T-shirt that says, in large block letters, “Brave Gals Also Cry.” Continue reading “A Family That Will Love Me”

To Be Her Dad

New adoptive dad Pete Chrissotimos could not wait to meet his daughter in Colombia — to love, nurture, cherish and support her. And to her those words that make it all worthwhile: “I love you, Dad.”

Pete, his wife, and his daughter in Colombia

What inspired me to adopt my daughter from Colombia became proof God’s plans are bigger than ours. When I started the adoption process with my wife, we were initially looking at another country.  However, God had Colombia in mind for us — and we did not yet know it! Continue reading “To Be Her Dad”

Care You Can See, Every Day

Before Emerson could go home to her adoptive family, she needed to have heart surgery in China. While recovering, she stayed at Holt’s donor-funded medical foster home in Beijing, where the love and care she received made such a difference — her mom can still see it, every day.

When asked, adoptive mother Rachel Pace admits she doesn’t know a lot about the Peace House in China. Her 2-year-old daughter, Emerson, stayed at Holt’s medical foster home for only a short time. But circumstances surrounding Emerson’s adoption made the journey a bit of a “whirlwind.” Rachel had to learn a lot, in not a lot of time.

“Our adoption happened so quickly,” she says.  “And I didn’t feel like I was really able to learn a lot about the Peace House and the care they provide.” Continue reading “Care You Can See, Every Day”

Growing With Love

Adoptive mom Johanna Utman describes her family’s journey to adopt their daughter, Alanna, from the Philippines, and why it was one of the most beautiful and heart-wrenching experiences of their lives.

Adoptive mom Johanna Utman with her daughter, Alanna.

Adopting is a journey. Parenting is a journey. However, adoption is a special journey of its own.

Growing our family by adoption was one of the most beautiful and heart-wrenching experiences of our lives. Adopting from the Philippines, specifically, was even more significant because I knew I shared a rich heritage with my child — a child who I hadn’t even met yet. Continue reading “Growing With Love”

What Love and a Family Can Do

Just over two years ago, Liz Larson traveled to China to meet and bring home 2-and-a-half-year-old Ellia. A child and family counselor, Liz felt confident and well-equipped, although a bit anxious, to begin the journey of bonding and healing with her daughter.

Today, Ellia is thriving in her mom’s care. In just two years, Ellia has grown from a shy and quiet 2-year-old to an energetic, outgoing, silly 4-year-old who is secure and so loved. Liz says adopting as a single parent is “the hardest thing she has ever done on purpose,” but also the greatest gift.

Liz encourages all hopeful parents — whether married or single — to consider adoption.

Older Child Adoption: An Expert Adopts

The Snodgrass family.

Holt’s director of clinical services — Celeste Snodgrass — shares about adopting her son Max from Thailand at 9 years old. While an adoption expert by profession, Celeste affirms that no older-child adoption goes perfectly smoothly. But it’s the perfect option for many families, and for children who have been waiting so long.

“Are you hungry?” Celeste asked her son, Max.

Continue reading “Older Child Adoption: An Expert Adopts”

At Heart, Their Greatest Need

Six-year-old Claire Peddicord has a heart condition and received heart surgeries both in China and once home with her family in Tennessee. But her parents, Kristin and Casey, have learned that one special need is even greater than her heart condition. It’s one that all waiting children have, and any loving adoptive family can meet. 

In a sweet denim dress and a big yellow bow in her hair, 6-year-old Claire Peddicord walks hand-in-hand with her parents, Casey and Kristin, down the path from their Tennessee farmhouse to a nearby hay field. She climbs up on a hay bale and asks her dad to hoist her two little dogs up, too. She wants them to sit with her.

 

An hour later, she cartwheels across the living room floor as her favorite Toby Mac song plays in the background. Alternating looks of deep concentration and excitement play across her face.

Seeing her here, playing, dancing, running up and down the stairs with her toys, you would never know all that she has gone through. You’d never know that Claire has a heart condition. Continue reading “At Heart, Their Greatest Need”