Where Your Paths Meet…

In honor of National Adoption Month, Holt adoptive mother of 2-year-old Zoey (shown in the video) and adoptee Kimberly Williams Shuck created a video of children who came home to their families through the journey of adoption! She hopes that it will inspire others to consider adoption as a wonderful way to build a family.

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I reached out to thirty or so of my friends from the adoption world and they provided me with a picture of their children and families brought together through adoption! I knew that anyone considering adoption had to see the faces of the children who had found their families, making one less orphan in the world.

I will do everything I can to be a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves and spread the word about the miracle of adoption.

Adoption has its struggles, financially and emotionally for all involved, but just know that in the end God has a clear- cut plan for where each and every person’s path meets.

I hope that you will watch the video and pass it along, unknowing of who it may inspire and ultimately lead to new adoption journeys.

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Learn more about how you can spread the word about the wonderful journey of adoption…

Start your adoption journey today!…Click here to learn more.

An Angel in Adoption

Holt adoptee Michelle Sherwood receives special recognition for her advocacy of children in need of families

by Robin Munro, Senior Writer

He flips. He cartwheels. He can even do “the worm.” Jayson hams it up for the camera as KSPR News, a station in Springfield, Missouri, films his acrobatic dance moves. “Blood rushes to my head and I like the way it feels,” he says, smiling and trying to catch his breath, his arms casually dangling over the gymnastics bars.

KSPR News has chosen to feature Jayson in a Wednesday’s Child segment, a weekly program designed to help children in foster care find homes. KSPR News anchor – and Holt adoptee – Michelle Sherwood introduces and narrates the segment. She also interviews Jayson during filming.

“If you could have three wishes, what would you wish for?” she asks him.

“To find a family, for me to see my sisters every day, and for me to go to heaven,” he says, before bouncing back to gymnastics practice.

Michelle and her team tailor segments to the children’s interests – they take them to interactive museums, to farms, to the zoo. One baseball-enthusiast received a lesson from the local team. Another got an art lesson. As well as behind-the-scenes work, Michelle participates in many of the segments, shooting hoops or baking cakes, engaging every child.

“We try to bring out the best in these kids,” she says.

Since the program appeared in May, many of the kids featured on Wednesday’s Child have found families. Michelle’s efforts to show children at their best also caught her local representative’s attention. In October, Missouri Congressman Roy Blunt presented her with an Angel in Adoption award for her advocacy on behalf of children who need homes.

On this, Michelle is quite humble. “Although I am thrilled and honored to be accepting a congressional award for my volunteerism,” she wrote on her blog, “it does not even compare to the daily contributions our social workers make.”

Michelle’s efforts, however, are anything but modest. She began lobbying for Wednesday’s Child at KSPR News over a year ago, after learning a disturbing statistic about the community her station serves. Greene County has the highest rates of child abuse and neglect in the state of Missouri, a statistic correlated with the high number of children in the foster care system.

“Why,” she thought, “are we not doing something for these kids to help find them homes?”

As a broadcast journalist, Michelle found a tremendous resource at her fingertips. She discovered Wednesday’s Child, a common vehicle used by news stations across the country to promote adoption, and initiated partnership with The Adoption Exchange – a national child welfare organization that recruits adoptive families for foster children. The segments were an instant success. Continue reading “An Angel in Adoption”

Holt Family Featured in The Eugene Register-Guard

In honor of National Adoption Month, the Eugene Register-Guard featured the adoption story of a local Holt family. Four years ago, Colleen and Steve Thompson adopted their daughter Celia through the Waiting Child program, now the China Child of Promise program — an accelerated adoption process for children born with correctable, manageable conditions. Celia was born without the front of her foot, but during the adoption process she also developed a skin condition that proved more challenging to overcome. The Thompsons, already in love with Celia, took an inspired attitude to this unexpected development.

“Life is full of surprises,” Colleen says.  “And it is like having children biologically — you don’t know how they are going to turn out, and what the challenges are going to be. I don’t see it as much different.”

To read the full article, click here. To learn more about the China Child of Promise program, visit Holt online.

Thailand Update from Ally: Helping the Children Who Wait

Children with special needs in Thailand find strength in the face of challenges

University of Oregon graduate Ally Tritten is currently in Thailand working with Holt Sahathai Foundation (HSF) as an intern with IE3 Global Internships. Ally, a family and human services major, will work for HSF for six months, helping to find homes for 200 children with special needs. The children are currently in government-run child institutions in Thailand; some of them will eventually be placed into Holt’s Waiting Child program.

“I am really excited for this trip,” says Ally. “I look forward to learning more about Holt International, their work in Thailand, and to be able to provide services to children.”

Holt established a partnership with HSF in 1975. HSF serves a large number of vulnerable children through a variety of programs including adoption, pregnancy counseling, foster care, educational sponsorships and outreach services for children in hospitals and orphanages. Many of these programs help birth families stay together through counseling and assistance.

The following is an update from Ally about her first full month in Thailand (Click here to read Ally’s first blog update):

Bangkok, Thailand — I am still adjusting to my new life in Bangkok. For the last month and a half Pi Tuk, Pi Malee and I have coordinated with Child Adoption Center (another adoption agency in Thailand) and assessed approximately 30 children with special needs, all of whom live in governmental orphanages and have been diagnosed with various disabilities. Some of the common disabilities we see in the children are: cerebral palsy (CP), fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), microcephaly and macrocephaly, seizure disorders, visual and hearing impairment, delayed development, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and a variety of physical disabilities. Of the four orphanages we visited in the past month, two — Nong Khai Home for Boys and Udornthani Home for Girls — are located in the northeastern part of Thailand and the other two — Ban Fueng Fah Home for Children with Special Needs and Pakkret Babies Home — are located in a nearby province outside of Bangkok. The HSF social workers and I flew by airplane to the two northeastern orphanages and spent four days assessing the overall development of 14 children.

The majority of the other children in the project live in Ban Fueng Fah Home for Children with Special Needs, where we spent most of October interviewing each child’s caretaker, physical therapists and teachers, as well as completing our own individual assessments. Continue reading “Thailand Update from Ally: Helping the Children Who Wait”

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”

How Will You Celebrate National Adoption Month?

Join the Holt Ambassadors Network

National Adoption Awareness Month – a wonderful time to spread the word about children throughout the world who need loving families – is coming up in November.

Many Holt adoptive families have found a great way to raise awareness about adoption and help more children find families through the Holt Ambassadors Network.

Composed of people who share the Holt story and raise awareness in their communities about the urgent needs of homeless children around the world, Holt Ambassadors get involved by: organizing fundraisers, speaking at churches, schools or civic groups; or volunteering at Holt events…..Join the Holt Ambassadors Network today!

Post Holt’s banners on your facebook page or blog during National Adoption Month

Holt Ambassador stories and updates:

The Wolterstorffs:

“Once our eyes are opened, we can’t pretend we don’t know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act.”(Proverbs 24:12)

Speaking out for the orphans of this world is one of my passions. We need to be the voices for these vulnerable children; if we aren’t, then who will be? I try to find ways to help, speak out and gather donations for children whenever I have the opportunity. Being a member of the Holt Ambassadors Network helps me do this.

Most recently, I collected 200 dresses for an orphanage in Ethiopia and was recently given some photos of the children wearing the dresses. To see what the children had worn before and then to see them with those sweet dresses on and those big smiles, it made me want to do so much more.

Even the small things, like gathering dresses, makes a huge difference in the life of a child…and there is still so much more to be done.

With November being adoption awareness month, I encourage you all to find a way to spread the word. Continue reading “How Will You Celebrate National Adoption Month?”

Wishing for the Best

Ranjan has a family!

by Robin Munro, senior writer

“Good Morning! All the best!” *Ranjan says in one breath, with a thumbs-up to greet the child care staff at Vathsalya Charitable Trust (VCT) – a child care center in Bangalore, India.

Today, Ranjan is hopeful and optimistic, wishing for the best – an extraordinary attitude for a boy who, in 5 years of life, has experienced child abandonment, severe health problems, developmental delays and hearing impairment.

Born premature with multiple medical conditions, Ranjan was abandoned at a large government hospital at just a few weeks of age. He came into VCT’s care at 2 months old, weighing a mere 1.5 kg. Shortly thereafter, Ranjan joined a foster family provided by VCT. This blessing has proven instrumental to Ranjan’s growth and development.

Ranjan’s foster mother, a crèche nurse trained in child care, tackled Ranjan’s speech, motor and mental delays as challenges to overcome – relishing small victories as Ranjan worked toward major milestones. “Ranjan smiled today,” she’d enthusiastically report during early visits with VCT child care staff. She noticed, with delight, the first time Ranjan moved his toes. And after two years of occupational therapy and encouragement from his foster family, Ranjan finally learned to walk. Continue reading “Wishing for the Best”

URGENT: William Needs a Family

DOB: 2/9/97

From East Asia

In February, when *William turns 14 years old, he will no longer be eligible for intercountry adoption. We can’t let this happen….William needs a family before it’s too late.

This brave young man enjoys drawing, reading and playing ping-pong. In care since February 2002, he currently lives in an institution and attends school. Described as an honest and well-behaved child who knows right from wrong, William likes his caregivers, teachers and friends and is said to be respectful and caring to people around him.

William needs a family experienced in parenting past his age and who can provide him with any medical care he may need. Because of the short timeframe we have to find William a family, families interested in adopting him must have a dossier in country.

Would you join us in praying for William and asking God for a family for this young man?

For more information about William, contact Holt International.

*Name changed

*To adopt William, applicants must also be 30-54 years old and meet an income requirement of $30,000 plus $10,000 per additional family member, with $80,000 net worth. More than 4 children in the home may be accepted.

Learn more about the Waiting Child program

Helping the Children who Wait

University of Oregon graduate Ally Tritten is currently in Thailand working with Holt Sahathai Foundation (HSF) as an intern with IE3 Global Internships. Ally, a family and human services major, will work for HSF for six months, helping to find homes for 200 children with special needs. The children are currently in government-run child institutions in Thailand; some of them will eventually be placed into Holt’s Waiting Child program.

“I am really excited for this trip,” says Ally. “I look forward to learning more about Holt International, their work in Thailand, and to be able to provide services to children.”

Holt established a partnership with HSF in 1975. HSF serves a large number of vulnerable children through a variety of programs including adoption, pregnancy counseling, foster care, educational sponsorships and outreach services for children in hospitals and orphanages. Many of these programs help birth families stay together through counseling and assistance.

The following is an update from Ally about her first week in Thailand:

September 15th, 2010.

Bangkok, Thailand – Well, it’s been just over a week since I arrived here in Bangkok, and I already love every minute of it. I’ve been quite busy these last 10 days, meeting the staff at HSF and orienting to the diverse range of services HSF, as a highly recognized child welfare agency, offers. I have had the amazing opportunity to observe meetings with adoptive families and participate in a home visit, where I helped assess the potential of a family to bring their child back into their home. I also visited Pakkret’s Babies Home – one of the orphanages in Bangkok – where I, along with Pi Malee and Pi Tuk, two HSF social workers, helped identify the children in HSF’s special needs project.

We then went on a trip to explore an agricultural, self-sufficient center. This center is used as a model for maintaining a steady income through ones own resources and property. The goal of this project is to keep rural communities intact and prevent overpopulation in the big cities throughout Thailand, as well as maintaining close relationships with friends, family and community members. It was a fascinating experience in every aspect.

On that same day, Pi Malee, Pi Tuk and I visited the neighboring village occupied by HSF foster families, and we enjoyed observing the love and energy that surrounded each child being cared for. Continue reading “Helping the Children who Wait”

Learn About Molly’s House….Where the Love and Care at Ilsan Begins

A message from Kim Brown, Holt president and CEO:

You likely know about the incredible work taking place at the Ilsan Center in Korea. As a Korean adoptee and father of two adopted children from Korea, Ilsan has a special place in my heart and I praise the Lord for the work that goes on there. But during my most recent visit to the center, I couldn’t help notice the poor physical condition of some of the buildings, especially “Molly’s House,” where Harry and Bertha Holt’s daughter still cares for Ilsan children and residents. These buildings are badly in need of repair.

God has truly blessed us by calling then 19-year-old Molly, more than 50 years ago, to follow in her parent’s faith-filled footsteps. A trained nurse, Molly cares for orphaned children in their very first days at the center, as well as after surgery or during a serious illness. She’ll tell you that she keeps them for as long as needed, “Until these children know that they are loved and wanted.” Over the years, her Christian faith has driven her to minister hope to some of the most needy children in Holt’s care.

Unfortunately, Molly’s house is one of many of Ilsan’s 15 buildings that need repair. During my visit I saw exposed electrical systems, outdated plumbing, crumbling stairs and peeling paint.

To bring our facilities up to recently revised government standards, we’ve launched a five-year renovation campaign for Ilsan and need your help to make these vital repairs.

The following is the story of Min-kee, a 6-year-old resident at Ilsan who was brought into Molly’s care….

Min-kee came into Ilsan’s care at 16 months of age. He started out with a foster family, but when it was determined that he would most likely need ongoing and more in-depth care, he was transferred to Ilsan and into the arms of Molly Holt. Upon arriving at Molly’s House, where all new arrivals are brought, Min-kee had several developmental delays and was not able to walk or feed himself. He had low set ears, a webbed neck and short extremities – traits often associated with Noonan’s disease, a congenital heart defect for which he was later diagnosed.

“When the young children and babies arrive at Ilsan, they start out at my house and the housemothers and myself teach them to sit up, walk and feed themselves,” explains Molly. “Min-kee was quite delayed when he came to Ilsan, but then started functioning really well after awhile. He learned to feed himself and speak.

“Before moving into another house at Ilsan, the children will usually stay at my house for a month or so while we assess their needs. If children continue to struggle or they need more long-term care, they will come back to my house for however long they need.” Continue reading “Learn About Molly’s House….Where the Love and Care at Ilsan Begins”