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.
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.
Every day 2-year-old Shelby Jane spent in an orphanage in China, she grew weaker. She needed to come home to her adoptive family — and fast — but finances stood in the way. That’s when a Holt donor stepped in to help.
Two-year-old Shelby Jane had a hole in her tiny heart, a blood condition called thalassemia and chronic cases of pneumonia and bronchitis that caused her to be hospitalized just about every month of her 24-month life. She could not speak, could not crawl and could not chew food. Every day she spent in an orphanage in China, she grew weaker.
Her adoptive parents, Michelle and Adam Campbell, needed to bring her home — and fast.
“We knew we needed to go get her because she wasn’t getting the care she needed. Waiting,” Michelle says, “wasn’t an option.”
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!
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.
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.
Exposure to alcohol. This may be the most vague and full-of-unknowns special need you’ll come across in the profiles of children waiting to be adopted. It includes a vast array of outcomes, sometimes including no effects at all. However, many parents jump to an extreme when they first read “alcohol exposure” — thinking, “This must mean they have Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).” Or, families nearly skip over it — thinking, “It’s so common… it must not be a big deal.” An informed approach to adopting a child with alcohol exposure lies somewhere in the middle: informed by research, supported by other families’ experiences, and always with the best interests of the child as the deciding factor.
Any child who loses their parents suffers unimaginable grief and heartache. But for one population of children growing up in China, the reason they lost their parents adds a whole other level of loss, heartache and isolation — even within their own families. They are not just orphans. They are AIDS orphans.
It was as if time stood still.
Everything sat undisturbed — preserved in the moment their son left his childhood home for a new life in the city.
A couple of bikes stood leaning in the doorway, covered in dust. A calendar remained open to November 2016, the month their son moved to his group home. Becca noticed a hat with a flower hanging on the wall.
“I wondered if this was his grandmother’s hat,” says Becca, now mom to the boy who once lived in this cold concrete block home. Becca wondered if his grandmother wore this hat while working in the fields that surrounded their family compound.
Here and there, Becca also caught glimpses of the child her now teenage son once was. The child who left Spiderman stickers and hand-drawn pictures taped to the walls, rollerblades and tiny shoes by the door. The child who created an elaborate chalk drawing of a guitar on the window, and lines on the wall to prove he was growing taller.
At the 2014 Holt Gala and Auction in Portland, Oregon, Holt adoptive mom Andrea stood to speak. She told her story of bringing home her daughter Rini from China — a little girl with severe congenital heart disease — and the struggle to save her life. Here, Andrea again shares the story that captivated an audience of families, adoptees and Holt supporters at the Portland event, as well as her appeal to help save the lives of other children with serious heart disease… children just like Rini. Continue reading “Favorite Five Adoption Stories”
If you’re thinking about adopting a toddler in the care of a foster family overseas, adoptive mom Jill Spitz has some advice for you.
One morning last December, my husband, son and I woke up in our fancy hotel room in Wuhan, China, fully aware that our lives were about to change. We ate our last breakfast as a family of three and marveled that the next time we slept there would be four of us.
That same day, a 29-month-old girl woke up in the bed where she’d slept since she was one month old, next to the only mother she’d ever known, with no idea she was about to be ripped away from life as she knew it. She hardly had time for breakfast before an orphanage director showed up and whisked her to a children’s welfare institute, and then to a chaotic civil affairs office where she was pushed toward strangers while she searched desperately for a familiar face. Continue reading “The Truth About Adopting Toddlers From Foster Care”