5 Things to Know About Adopting a Child With Developmental Delays

As prospective adoptive families learn more about adoption and the children who are waiting to join families, they may frequently run into the term “developmental delays.” But what does this mean, exactly?

Developmental delays can present in many different ways, often encompass unknowns in a child’s development, and are different for every child.

Here are five of top things to know about adopting a child with developmental delays:

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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.

What It Means to Adopt a Child with Down Syndrome

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How a Holt Adoption Grant Helped Save Shelby’s Life

Every day 2-year-old Shelby Jane spent in an orphanage in China, she grew weaker. She needed to join 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.”

Shelby at her orphanage in China before coming home to her family.
Shelby at her orphanage in China before joining her family. While living in the orphanage, Shelby spent part of every month in the hospital due to pneumonia or bronchitis.

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Without Them, I Wouldn’t Be Where I Am Today

Holt adoptee Kanya Sesser skateboards, skis, races, models and surfs. Born without legs, Kanya has become an inspiration to friends and fans around the world with her motto, “No legs, No limits.”

“I have always been a positive person — largely in thanks to the people who have cared for me throughout my life.

The people in Thailand who raised me until I was 5 helped me to become a good, calm person. The monks taught me a lot as a kid by showing me love and forgiveness, and I learned the value of Buddhism. Even after I left their care, they kept in touch with me while I lived in Thailand. They taught me a lot that has helped me all through my life.

And although I was initially scared of leaving Thailand with my new family, I wouldn’t be able to do the things I am doing if it wasn’t for my adoptive parents. My mom and dad have supported me every day and all though my sports. My mom, I love her. We have a great relationship. Without her, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

This is an excerpt of a longer story that appeared on the Holt blog in June 2014. Read Kanya’s full story here!

Five Things You Might Not Know About Adopting Siblings

Have you considered adopting a sibling group? Learn more about sibling adoption and whether this might be the right path for your family.

The Traver family adopted 7- and 4-year-old brothers William and Jeison. Here they are in Colombia on their adoption day.
Bre and Drew Traver adopted 7- and 4-year-old brothers William and Jeison from Colombia, pictured here on their adoption day in Colombia.

1. Whenever possible and in the best interest of the children, Holt strives to help siblings be adopted together. The sibling bond is extremely important for children to maintain, regardless of whether they join the same family. But when adopted together, they can support one another through the adoption transition and provide an invaluable link to early life memories. Continue reading “Five Things You Might Not Know About Adopting Siblings”

Little Mirrors: Seeing Myself for the First Time

It’s hard to miss that the root of the word familiarity is family. I had a dear friend and former roommate tell me, as we were heading back to our families for a holiday visit, the first thing she did when she got to her parents’ house was bury her head in the pillows and inhale the smell of home.

I had an immediate flashback to memories of my childhood when I would find the smell of my home a bit off-putting, even borderline stinky. It wasn’t because the people dwelling inside had any hygiene issues. When my friend told me about her little ritual, I realized in that moment it didn’t resonate with me because my house never smelled like home to me.

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