We Will Be Their Praying Family

A mother with two adopted siblings teaches her young daughter, Zion, about the joy of adoption and the importance of praying for the children who wait

by Lindsay Evers Carroll Babcock


I still remember the drive to Des Moines, IA to pick up my new baby brother, a 13-month-old from Korea who I had never met, but longed to hold for the first time. Or when I looked at the picture of a little girl — my sister — and wondered how much longer we would have to wait for her! I remember knowing right away that these children belonged with us, and that I was blessed to call them my family.

Zion (far left) with Uncle Mathew and Aunt Taylor. Zion's prayers at night help Holt's waiting children find families of their own! Thank you to Zion and her family for their prayers and support!
Because of the wonderful experiences with my brother and sister, the idea to raise my children to know and understand the great joy and blessing of adoption was only natural. I have felt very passionate about adoption and have even longed to make a child part of our family through this wonderful journey as well.

In March 2011, my husband and I decided to pursue two beautiful babies we had seen on Holt’s waiting child photolisting. As a family, we prayed constantly for them! We put their picture on our refrigerator and their beautiful faces even graced the screens of our computers. We petitioned God on their behalf that they would find their forever families, be it us or not. So when we got the news that we were not the family chosen for them, heartbreak would stand to reason. However, that was not what we felt. We felt joy that God had answered our prayers and that their heartbreak would soon end through the love of a family they could call their own! We still felt like God had given us that experience for a reason, and we knew that the love we felt for them was not in vain or without merit. We then considered another child on the photolisting, and started praying for him. Shortly after, we saw that he too had been adopted.

I thought, “Lord, why are you giving me this love for these children, but they are never meant to be my family?”  Whenever I am going through something hard, all I want is my family to pray for me. I felt like God was saying, “Who will be the family that prays and pleads for these children?” This is what adoption is all about is it not — to love someone despite relation and to long for something better for them? I remember thinking, “We will be that family for these children, Lord!”

We began showing our daughter Zion, who at the time was only 3 years old, the pictures of the children on the photolisting, and telling her about the needs of a child waiting for a family. My husband and I would explain to her that an orphan has no mommy or daddy to hold them and kiss them. We told her how thankful she should be that God had given her a family who loves her so much! We told her that God wants us to pray for those who don’t have that yet.

I remember when I showed her a picture of a child with a cleft palette.  She started to cry because she was afraid his nose was going to fall off. Continue reading “We Will Be Their Praying Family”

Taking the Next Step




Born 12/26/06

by Ashli Keyser, Managing Editor

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear”—1 John 4:18


Fear can hold us back from many things. It can keep us from applying for that job. Keep us from getting on that airplane, or auditioning for that school play.

Fear and worry can also go hand in hand in the adoption process. What if I don’t bond with my child right away? What if they don’t bond with me? What if something goes wrong?

It was fear, at first, that kept the Wilson family from taking a closer look, and taking the next step to their daughter, Tamara.

“Tamara’s bio on the Waiting Child photolisting seemed a little scary at first,” says Kari Wilson. “I initially passed her by, thinking she was just too ‘involved’ for our family.”

Months later, the Wilson family decided to take that next step when they came across their future daughter’s photo in Holt’s magazine. “She had medical problems — Cerebral Palsy, spastic diplegia and possible cognitive deficit — but she also had a sparkle in her eye and a little spunk in her posture. It was enough to move us into action to find out more.”

And the rest, they say, is history.

“What was revealed through Tamara’s videos and pictures, and monthly reports helped us to understand her medical conditions and lowered the ‘fear factor’ in the adoption process,” says Kari. “She was another one of God’s wonderful creations. How could we have passed her by?”

Tamara came home from India in 2008. “She will always have some physical challenges, but she is a sharp child with a lot of determination and spunk. It will serve her well in the future.” Says Kari.

God wanted Tamara to be with the Wilson family. He didn’t allow initial, and reasonable, fears to come between Tamara and the Wilsons. He cast out the fears and made room for love. God gave the Wilsons peace to move forward, and they are so happy they did.

I wonder how many people have read 4-year-old Hayden’s Waiting Child bio. And I wonder how many people have thought that his conditions are just “too involved.” It’s understandable. Reading words like “Cerebral Palsy” can be scary.

But there’s much more to Hayden than a simple 220-word description. He might require a closer look. Lisa Lowery, Holt adoption services coordinator for northeast Asia, who met him last year, certainly agrees. Continue reading “Taking the Next Step”

A Journey of Hope from a Father’s Perspective

by Sean Yarger

What compels veteran adoptive parents to adopt again?

For us, it was a sense of incompletion. Despite our best efforts to proliferate the Earth with children – we had five at the time of our second adoption – we still felt our family wasn’t quite complete. After a year home with our first adopted daughter, Ava, we weren’t even settled yet. But then my wife April found a face – just a face on Holt’s photolisting of a girl in the Journey of Hope China program. She knew, one day, they’d be united.

That’s how strong and immediate the connection can be. It was just a matter of convincing me to adopt again.

After bringing Ava home, we quickly realized that we were getting a little old to manage such a large family – especially with an energetic toddler still in diapers. If we adopted again, we knew the child would have to be a little older.

April showed me the photolisting bio of the 8-year-old cutie she hoped to adopt. I admire my wife’s big heart and, trusting she’d already considered all possible ramifications of introducing another child into the family, I agreed. By now accustomed to a family in constant growth, our kids also mostly took the idea in stride. After the high-energy experience of Ava, however, they were definitely relieved to find out we were planning to adopt an older child.

We’d done it… We had decided to adopt again.

This time, however, the proverbial cart was in front of the proverbial horse. Rather than do the paper chase and then wait to be matched, we’d already matched ourselves with this girl. We felt a real sense of urgency, knowing this little girl in China was awaiting an imminent adoption. We wanted to get to her as quickly as possible. I imagined a giant looming clock with an incessantly ticking second hand.

Let the freak-out commence. Continue reading “A Journey of Hope from a Father’s Perspective”

There’s Always More Love to Give

PHOTOS BY REBECCA S. GRATZ/THE WORLD-HERALD Sarah Kolb, one of Sandy and Ed's three biological daughters, leans over to check out Lucas’ book from China.

Recently, we at Holt celebrated the 14th birthday of Lucas Kolb — a boy adopted from China in just the knick of time!  When he turned 14, he would no longer be eligible for adoption. Although they already had four adopted sons at home, Ed and Sandy Kolb of Nebraska found they still had more love to give. With the deadline looming, the Kolbs opened their hearts to not just one, but two older boys.  Lucas, and Christian, age 11.

“Adopting children is what I’ve been prepared to do my whole life,” Sandy Kolb recently told a reporter at the Omaha World-Herald. “You’re not going to stop at just one. Your life positively changes after you adopt and the child’s does too.”

Read the full article, “There’s Always More Love to Give,” in today’s Omaha World-Herald.

To learn more about adopting older children and children with special needs from China, click here.

REBECCA S. GRATZ/THE WORLD-HERALD Stefan, 13, of Romania (from left), Charlie, 7, of China and Christian, 11, of China play together.

Happy Chinese New Year! Read a story from the Rees Family who adopted from the China Child of Promise program!

Happy Lunar New Year! Today, February 3rd, China ushers in the Year of the Rabbit – a year of good fortune for those born in Rabbit years, and a very exciting year in China adoptions!

Never before have Chinese boys and girls, toddler through school-age, had so many opportunities to have loving, adoptive families – particularly older children, and children with correctable/treatable physical conditions or moderate to serious special needs.

To learn more, register for Holt’s upcoming webinar, “Adopting from China,” on the 10th or 24th.

• Learn the different China adoption “tracks,” and flexibilities in their eligibility guidelines.

Discover China’s Waiting Children – including a new category of children described by the China Center of Adoption Affairs (CCAA) as “Special Focus” children.

• Learn how Holt works closely with families to match children in the China Child of Promise option, and. . .

• Hear from a family who has completed the China Child of Promise option.

• Get info about preparation and post-placement resources for families adopting older children and children with special needs.

• Ask questions, and get started on the track that is the best fit for your family.

With more than 700 children matched through the China Child of Promise option, Holt International is leading the charge to find homes for children from China!

The following is an excerpt from the Rees family’s blog about Jazyme, their dearly loved China Child of Promise:

Rick and I spend time with Jazmyne…a lot of time! We work with her a lot, but certainly cannot take all of the credit for how smart she really is. And, of course, the twist of fate — such an ironic twist — is that she was adopted through the special needs process for simply having an extra toe on each foot! Jazmyne is a Holt International China Child of Promise who definitely made good on her “Promise!”

Because Rick and I both work in special needs education fields, we felt we had the skills to help any child, with any disability, live up to their fullest potential! Never in our wildest dreams did we even entertain any thoughts that our child would be exceptional!

Jazmyne has seven doctor’s kits and proclaims: “I’m going to be a doctor when I grow up!” While in China, she spent a lot of time with the Qian Jiang orphanage doctor, both in the doctor’s clinic and her home. The doctor even went so far as to travel with Jazmyne to meet us on Jazzy’s “Gotcha Day.” She traveled with Jazzy to make sure that we knew that, in her professional opinion, Jazmyne was not “special needs” at all, but, in fact, “gifted!”

The good doctor was absolutely correct in her opinion! I have no idea if Jazmyne will keep on the course of wanting to be a doctor, but I can tell you something for certain even now: Whatever she chooses to do in life, she will be successful!

Our Jazmyne Rose: abandoned at a bus station at 10 months old, living in an orphanage for over a year, adopted by foreigners, 3 months later having an operation to correct her feet, all while learning a new language.  Today, Jazmyne excels in preschool and is the star of her dance class, gymnastics and skiing classes.

Thank you, God, for the incredible gift of our beloved Jazzy Rose!

Click here to read the Rees family’s blog, and view an adorable dance recital video of Jazzy Rose!

Holt needs families interested in adopting children with correctable/treatable physical conditions. Click here to learn more about the China Child of Promise program, Holt’s expedited process for children with correctable/treatable physical conditions

Amazing Firsts

Adopting an older child from Ethiopia

by Susan Johnson

We are the lucky parents of eight children. Our first adoption journey began in 2006 when we brought home our infant son, Matthew. It is hard to describe my feelings when I traveled that first time to Ethiopia. The parents in my travel group who had adopted toddlers and preschoolers were very inspiring to me. The children were amazing and beautiful.

We were so in love with Matthew that we began the adoption process very soon after he came home. This time we knew that we wanted to adopt an older child. Our agency, however, wouldn’t allow us to adopt a child that didn’t follow the birth order of our family. Lucky for us, we brought home our little 18-month-old son, Samuel! Samuel definitely made us work a little harder for his love, but watching him process everything that had changed in his life was amazing.

Our desire to adopt an older child always remained in our hearts. After some discussion with our children, we started researching older child adoption and contacted Holt International. We definitely wanted to adopt from Ethiopia again and there was one little girl that we were particularly drawn to. She was a little older than we were originally planning on, but after some discussion, prayer, and a little bit of faith, we knew she would be our daughter! We began the process with Holt to bring her home!

Our daughter, Asmerach, is nine years old and has been home with us for almost three months. Continue reading “Amazing Firsts”

We Are Fully Blessed

A mother’s hearing loss, five years prior, leads to the adoption of a hearing impaired son from India

By Ellen Singh

Praise God from whom all blessings flow! And what a blessing Deelip is to us!

My husband, Dave, and I already had two biological daughters, Katelyn and Anna, and one son, Michael, who we adopted from India. Our life was full with our young brood. Yet, for the past several years, we’d continued to casually look at Holt’s “Waiting Child” page. About two years ago, we read a brief description about Deelip, a 3-year-old boy from India, and knew God wanted us to pursue this child.

All we knew about Deelip was his age and his disability of being profoundly deaf. We were specifically interested in a child with hearing issues due to a major event that changed our lives five years prior. In 2004, I contracted bacterial meningitis. By God’s matchless mercy my life was spared. I woke up from a drug-induced coma with complete hearing loss in my left ear. As a result, we have learned so much about hearing issues and have a great sensitivity to others in similar situations. At age 36, I had to instantly learn how to live with single-sided hearing loss, which has been a great challenge.

Through this devastating event, I got to know various hearing professionals and volunteer in hearing loss research. I learned that St. Louis, near where we live, is a Mecca of hearing loss treatment and research in this country. Plus, there were several schools for the deaf nearby!

After discussing Deelip’s medical records with my ENT specialist and touring a local school for the deaf, we were absolutely confirmed that God was leading us to pursue Deelip. Continue reading “We Are Fully Blessed”

The Road to Oliver

a son from the Philippines


“There’s Oliver!” The social worker beamed, pointing toward the living room where two little boys were playing. My husband Sam and I walked inside the small, concrete house, forgetting about the stale, humid air of the tropics. I held my breath as I looked for the boy that resembled the photo we received from Holt. The photo showed a toddler dressed in over-sized clothes and a hat that covered his hair. His round face had eyes shaped like almonds and lips that were round and full.

One of the boys in the room wore an old, red shirt and had thick black hair. His eyes and lips were the same as the photo. I sighed quietly. He was more beautiful in person. Sam and I knelt down to Oliver’s level and took a long look at the child we had prayed for, dreamed of and longed for.

One afternoon in February of 2006, I stood in front of a mailbox and said a little prayer as I dropped our application to Holt International. At our ninth year of marriage, Sam and I had walked a long road of false hopes and fertility tests. Coming to a fork in the road, we picked the path of adoption. Little did we know that in the same month I dropped that piece of mail, our baby boy was born across the Pacific in a humble town in the Philippines. Continue reading “The Road to Oliver”


A father’s poem to his daughter, Quinn—a child in Holt’s Journey of Hope Program

by Robert Flanders

When people ask me to prove that God exists, I show them your picture and tell them about lines. The lines on which our lives travel along the points plotted by the choices that we make. I reflect upon all the choices, some good, some bad, that have led me to the place where I stand now holding your picture. I can only imagine the decisions that your birth parents have made, especially your mother. In an act of desperation and hope, she severed a sacred bond and your lines diverged. Yours led you to the orphanage and, years later, to me. Your birth mother’s life line drifted away, as silent as a ghost carried along by the force of circumstances, into her future and your past.

I remember the day that our lines, and our lives, intersected. I saw your picture and two lines, out of the six billion lines moving through time and space, came together at one point. That point is called love. I’ve seen many pictures of older, waiting children traveling on their journeys of hope but our lines did not intersect. When the Holt worker asked me, “why you?” I did not tell her about lines, I told her about love.

Now the lines of our lives will travel together, parallel to each other in love. I feel certain that God was lovingly drawing our lines so that they would one day come together. I look down at your picture in my hands and I believe.

Older children in Holt’s care need families….click here to view the photolisting for Holt’s Journey of Hope children in China.

or visit our Waiting Child page