A Malnutrition Transformation for Children in Ethiopia

In response to a hunger and malnutrition crisis, Holt began emergency nutrition assessments and interventions across rural Ethiopia.  Over 5,790 children were acutely malnourished. But thanks to generous Holt donors who provided nutrition intervention, education and treatment, children are surviving — and their health has transformed! 

Fully garbed in protective gear, Holt’s team of community health workers went village to village, hut to hut, in rural Ethiopia — looking for children who were malnourished.

Months into the pandemic, children needed help. Families had wisely stayed home for many months to protect themselves from the virus, but this also meant children missed their regular health checkups, vaccinations and nutrition screenings. And children were in danger. Continue reading “A Malnutrition Transformation for Children in Ethiopia”

The Importance of Foster Kids Maintaining Connections With Biological Relatives

Holt’s foster care and adoption specialist shares why it’s important to help foster kids stay connected to their biological families, regardless of the reasons they entered the foster care system. 

When a child is entering into care, every situation or case is different. As a foster care worker, the one thing we hear a lot about from adults going through the foster care process is their uncertainty or uneasiness about being involved in legal risk, or being involved with biological parents or relatives. But at the end of the day, no matter what happened for a child to come into care, they all belong and came from somewhere and will long for that connection with their birth family. Continue reading “The Importance of Foster Kids Maintaining Connections With Biological Relatives”

Our Story of Adopting From South Africa and Becoming a Transracial Family

Adam and Erin Turner share about their experience becoming a transracial adoptive family as they welcomed into their lives two children from South Africa, the country where Holt recently launched our newest adoption program.

The Turner family, including their three biological children and two children they adopted transracially from South Africa.

It’s difficult to say when the word “adoption” first popped into our heads. We talked about adoption in the earliest moments of forming our family. Maybe it was an image or a story that stuck with us during our childhood years. We had no examples in our family, per se. It simply felt like a whisper and a heart opening. It felt like extending love, security and family to a child who desperately needed it.

The desire and whispering voice stuck with us as our young children grew. And in the most unlikely moment, that whisper turned into a curiosity about what was possible. Many hurdles had to be overcome and many unlikely “yeses” had to be given. When the doors flung open, we were nervous yet hopeful. We knew we had a lot to learn but that the gift of time would allow us to set out on a journey of growth and maturation that would be important for our family and all our children. Continue reading “Our Story of Adopting From South Africa and Becoming a Transracial Family”

How COVID-19 is Affecting Children and Families in Colombia

Holt’s in-country representative for Colombia, Ana Maria Fernandez, and U.S.-based program manager, Malia Robello, share how crisis of COVID in Colombia is affecting vulnerable children and families and how Holt sponsors and donors help meet their most urgent needs. 

During COVID-19 in Colombia, a Holt partner distributes groceries to families in need.
Holt partner FANA distributes groceries to families in need.

How is the pandemic currently affecting children and families in Colombia?

ANA MARIA: Definitely there is an increase in violence, abuse and neglect. But Colombia had a very long, very strict lockdown. At the beginning of the pandemic, no one was allowed to leave their homes. … So it’s been really difficult to identify cases because children are not going to school. Medical care, unless it’s an emergency, is also reduced. … The two biggest [child abuse] reporters — schools and hospitals — are not seeing kids so it’s hard to know.

Right now, we are seeing an increase in the number of children that are coming into the [child protection] system, but still, it’s lower [than when schools and hospitals could report cases]. … [Due to social distancing restrictions], there’s not a lot of staff going to visit [families]. So imagine the situation of the children that are below the radar. Continue reading “How COVID-19 is Affecting Children and Families in Colombia”

One Family’s Story of Adopting From South Africa

Adoptive mom Amanda Kick shares her family’s story of adopting two children with special needs from South Africa, where Holt just launched our newest adoption program.

My husband and I were on our first date when I bluntly asked if he’d be comfortable with adoption as a way to grow a family. I had adoption in my heart for years and knew I wasn’t willing to budge. Although there’s deep beauty in biological children, I just knew I wanted to parent the kids who were waiting. Thankfully, my now husband was fully on board.

We first approached our agency and learned we were too young for many countries, too poor, or our BMI was too high for others. We fit all the parameters for South Africa so it was an easy decision that felt kind of made for us. I had been on a trip to South Africa in high school so I thought I was somewhat familiar with the country. Continue reading “One Family’s Story of Adopting From South Africa”

A Look Inside Orphanages Today


Since the pandemic first began spreading in early 2020, it’s changed life for everyone — but especially children in orphanage care. Here’s what life looks like now for children in orphanages from China to India to Thailand. 

Continue reading “A Look Inside Orphanages Today”

Voices of Sponsored Children and Families in the Philippines

See what life is like in Escopa 3, an impoverished community in Manila, Philippines where sponsors and donors support children and families. This story originally appeared in Holt’s spring 2018 sponsorship magazine.

Roughly the size of three square blocks, Escopa 3 is part of barangay — or slum neighborhood — home to 7,000 people in Manila, Philippines.

No one here owns the land, so the risk of eviction by the city is high. Escopa 3 residents live in such tight quarters, it’s not at all uncommon for families of 12 or more to live together in less than 200 square feet of rented space. Single room homes are literally stacked on top of one another, and built from any material families can find. Hanging laundry, dishes drying in racks and bags of recyclable plastic bottles fill the thin, dirt-and-concrete footpaths that cut through the barangay.

Jobs in Manila are scarce and many people survive on what they can scavenge, like plastic bottles or tin cans. Many families live in extreme poverty, surviving on less than $1.25 per day. Some families have access to running water that may trickle in through a pipe or hose, but few are connected to sewage.

One of the biggest struggles families face is providing for their children. Many don’t make enough income to meet their kids’ basic needs, such as shoes, food, medical care or school costs. School is difficult to access and expensive. In Escopa 3, Holt sponsors and donors support children in need and provide support to families, helping them launch small businesses or learn new job skills.

View the slideshow above to hear voices from  Escopa 3  and learn how you are helping to change the lives of children and families in this community.

When you sponsor a child through Holt, you help provide everything they need to thrive — from nourishing food and safe shelter to tools and resources to help their parents achieve stability and self-reliance, such as a small business microloan or job skills training. Visit Holt’s sponsorship webpage to learn about a child in the Philippines or another country who needs a sponsor!

A Generation Lost and Found

A group of girls in traditional wear, learning about China adoption history on their Heritage Trip
A group of Chinese adoptees in traditional dresses on the 2010 heritage tour of China. As most of the children placed in the 1990s were healthy, infant girls, tour participants are almost all girls.

In 1993, Holt began placing children from China in loving families in the U.S. Here, our staff reflects on 20 years of international adoption and child welfare work in China — including the many Chinese adoptees who are now coming of age, graduating high school and beginning the bright futures we always hoped for them.

This story originally appeared in Holt’s fall 2013 sponsorship magazine

Continue reading “A Generation Lost and Found”

The Grand Dream of One Single Mother in Korea

A single mother in Korea shares her story about choosing to parent her child while staying in one of Holt’s donor-supported single mother shelters. This story was originally published on the Holt Stories blog in April 2016.

In Korea, unwed motherhood is one of the leading reasons women choose adoption for their children. When a single woman becomes pregnant, she could lose everything — her family, friends, career, education, housing and the hope of these things in the future. This stigma is so strong and enduring that often, women feel like they don’t have a choice except to relinquish their child for adoption.

Through our partner agency in Korea — and with the support of Holt donors — we work to empower women and show them that they do have a choice. Holt Korea operates several shelters for mothers and their children where they can receive free housing, nutritious food, counseling and educational support in a safe and positive environment. The overall mission of the shelters is to help each mother gain the skills she needs to successfully parent, provide for her child and care for herself.

The following story is written by a woman who lives with her son at the Holt Morning Garden unwed mother and child shelter. Because of the support she and her son, Ji-ho, receive, this young woman decided not only to parent her son — but also to pursue higher education despite the discrimination she would likely face in the admissions process.

Defying all odds, she was accepted to college and is now studying to become a social worker so she can help other single mothers like herself as they work to overcome the stigma that is so firmly entrenched in Korean culture.

Continue reading “The Grand Dream of One Single Mother in Korea”