Update, March 14, 2013: Holt is thrilled to report that Willow has a family! Thank you for your support and prayers.
Update, March 11, 2013: Thank you to everyone who shared Willow’s story! As of March 11, 2013, our waiting child committee has identified a potential family for Willow. At this time, we will not be sending her file to any additional families.
URGENT UPDATE ON WILLOW (February 21): For the last 3 years, Willow’s story and beautiful photos have graced our blog and Facebook page. We had hoped that in that time an adoptive family would come forward for her, and provide her with the loving home she needs and deserves. But, still, she waits. We at Holt recognize that adopting an older child isn’t for everyone, but we still hold onto hope – still pray – that a family can be found for sweet Willow.
Just a few hours ago, we were informed that Willow has exactly 1 month to find a family in the United States. If a family can’t be found for her by March 21st, she will have to leave her foster family and return to a government-run orphanage. We can’t let this happen! If Willow returns to the orphanage, finding an adoptive family for her will prove almost impossible.
We have just one month, and we need your help! Please share Willow’s story and photos with your family and friends, on your blog and Facebook page, and at your church! We know that a family is out there for Willow, but we are running out of time – Willow is running out of time. So please do all you can!
Adoption eligibility requirements for Willow may be flexible regarding parent age limit and number of children in home. Willow will need specialized attention upon coming home, so we are seeking an adoptive family with 0-1 children younger than Willow currently in the home. A family that has parented past her age is also recommended. There is a $5000 Special Blessings grant available for the adoption fees. Please contact Erin Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org if your family is interested in adopting Willow.
In 2011, Jessica Palmer, director of services for Southeast Asia, traveled to Southeast Asia to meet children living in Holt-supported foster and institutional care. Here, she reflects on her visit with Willow*, whose referral is posted as G10_8 on Holt’s Southeast Asia photolisting.
Date of Birth: October 13, 2002
The smell of incense wafts from the front porch of Willow’s foster home – a small, wooden house that sits beside a river. The incense is especially important this afternoon, as the thunderstorm that came through this morning has caused some flooding in nearby areas. The incense keeps the mosquitoes away.
For over six years, Willow has lived in this house, patiently waiting for her forever family. In a house nearby, a close friend of Willow’s once also waited. But she has since left to join her adoptive family. When a post-placement photo came in, Willow eagerly asked to see it, no doubt missing her friend.
And wondering, when it will be her turn.
Found as a newborn in a rice field, Willow spent the first 4 years of her life in an institution. She knew nothing else. So when, in July 2006, she went to live with a foster family, her adjustment was not exactly smooth sailing. But time has passed, and the change in Willow is visible. She is thriving as a member of this family and has learned productive ways of handling frustration, such as walking away from a situation. As we sit on her front porch, we talk with Willow and her foster mother about her friends at school and in the neighborhood, how much she helps her foster mother around the house, and about her most recent interest – jigsaw puzzles.
As we hear more and more about Willow’s personality, I begin to notice pieces of myself in her foster mother’s descriptions. When Willow finishes a jigsaw puzzle, she loses interest and doesn’t want to do the puzzle again – she’s already solved it! Sometimes she needs to be reminded to make the bed. She is quite helpful to other people and is a very patient girl.
In September 2012, Willow met with a psychiatrist for a regular follow up visit. The psychiatrist determined that Willow is doing well both in school and at home. Willow also regularly meets with a speech therapist and is now able to clearly recite short stories. Her foster continually encourages Willow to tell longer stories, with more complex sentences, and Willow is improving in this area. Willow always works hard in school and gets along well with other children.
Willow and I are so similar in personality, and so different in circumstances. I wonder what I would think if I were in her shoes – what hopes and dreams I would have for my future. Would I ever go from foster child, my information posted on a photolisting for over a year, to the permanent daughter of a loving adoptive family? If I were her, I wouldn’t give up on that hope.
As we walk down the porch steps, away from the incense and back down the muddy path to our vehicle, I see Willow, quietly blowing bubbles and watching as they float to the ground.
For more information about Willow, contact Erin Anderson at email@example.com.