Where Are They Now: Seven Years After the Earthquake

Adoptee Nephtalie Moore was still in Haiti when the country’s devastating earthquake of 2010 hit. Her older sister, Martine, and soon-to-be adoptive family were in South Carolina. One year later, Martine and Nephtalie were reunited — solidifying a bond that today remains as strong as ever.

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Rebecca, Nephtalie and Martine

Rebecca Moore was the first one in her family to wake to the news on January 12, 2010. A 7.0 magnitude earthquake had struck close to Haiti’s capital of Port-au-Prince. Hundreds of thousands were feared dead. Buildings were leveled and millions of families were now homeless. Haiti, already the poorest country in the western hemisphere, now faced even more devastation and uncertainty. Millions in the United States and around the world clung to their televisions and computers, awaiting updates. People sent prayers, churches and communities gathered for vigils, and local relief agencies prepared to send aid to our distressed neighbors in the south.

But for the Moore family of South Carolina, the catastrophic event hit even closer to home. In the midst of the devastation, at a Holt-supported care center near Port-au-Prince, the Moore family’s soon-to-be adopted daughter, Nephtalie, waited to come home. Her biological sister, Martine, was already home with the Moores. Continue reading “Where Are They Now: Seven Years After the Earthquake”

The Story Behind the Photo: 86 and Counting

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At the beginning of November, to kick off National Adoption Month, we shared a collage of all the children on our waiting child photolisting — just a small glimpse of the hundreds of children who we are seeking families for at any given time. We hoped it would kindle a passion in our supporters to help advocate for children who need loving families of their own. And it did!

You shared our waiting child stories. You reposted our advocacy blogs. You helped us tell the story behind each and every photo that we featured on social media during National Adoption Month.

The photo above represents the number of children from our photolisting that we have — thanks in part to your advocacy — matched with families so far in 2016. The black and white blocks represent the children who now are, or soon will be, part of a loving and secure family. The ones in color represent the children who we still need your help advocating for.

In total this year, Holt has matched 86 children from the photolisting — and another 200+ directly with a family! This is something to celebrate!

But we seek a world where every child has a loving and secure home. And until that day comes, we intend to keep working hard to advocate for the children left behind — and we ask you to join us.

One of the best ways that you can support our advocacy efforts is through sharing the stories we post about waiting children. That can be anything from pressing “like” or “share” on Facebook to leading an informational meeting in your community. Creativity is encouraged and we look forward to hearing what you come up with!

Thank you again for your heart and compassion for children who need families. Allied with you, we can achieve anything!
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The Story Behind the Photo: What Social Workers Actually Do…

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With stern faces and plastic inspection gloves, adoption social workers Kris Bales and Kathie Stocker illustrate what prospective families THINK they do — not what they ACTUALLY do.

Social workers. They come into your home with a white glove and a watchful eye. They check under your bed for dust mites. They go through your medicine cabinet. They call your neighbors to inquire how long you wait to mow your lawn. They take note of every imperfection, just looking for a reason not to approve your family for adoption.

Is that about what you had in mind?­­

Well meet Kathie Stocker and Kris Bales, two of Holt’s most devoted — and beloved — social workers. Kathie has worked with Holt for 23 years and Kris for 14. K­athie is often the first person families hoping to adopt from Korea will speak to, while Kris advises families interested in the China program. Both and have guided hundreds of families through their adoption process. At Christmas time, their walls are covered in cards from families and photos of children they’ve helped place. Both will be the first to tell you that the job of a social worker is not to be taken lightly — entrusting a family with a child is no small decision. But they will also tell you that the homestudy process is not about judgment. No family is perfect. And neither are they.

Above all, their passion — and their role — is to find the right family for every child.

Today on the Holt blog, learn more about what Kris and Kathie ACTUALLY do as adoption social workers for Holt.

Continue reading “The Story Behind the Photo: What Social Workers Actually Do…”

Crisis in Haiti; Recovering From Hurricane Matthew

With crops destroyed, homes flooded and care centers damaged, our staff and partners in Haiti face critical and urgent needs to help children and families recover from Hurricane Matthew.

haiti-2013-serious-boy-looking-upLast week, Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti with torrential rain and 145-mile-per-hour winds. For Haitians, the devastation from the storm can’t be overstated — especially those living along the southwest coast, which was hardest hit by Hurricane Matthew. Many people lost their most valuable possessions, such as goats, cows or other farm animals, small fishing boats, nets or crops — robbing them of their livelihood, their income and their ability to care for their children without international assistance. Many Haitian families were already vulnerable before the storm, and Hurricane Matthew has only increased their instability. Continue reading “Crisis in Haiti; Recovering From Hurricane Matthew”

Children and Families in Haiti Need Our Help

haiti-urgent-appealOn October 4, one of the strongest hurricanes in recorded history hit Haiti with torrential rain and 145-mile-per-hour wind. The storm damaged farmland, power lines and houses. Flooding and landslides destroyed businesses, schools and homes. So far, we know that at least seven people have died and over 14,500 have been evacuated from their homes, and these numbers are rising.

All the children and families we serve in Haiti are alive, and we thank God for keeping them safe. The orphanages we support were stocked with extra food and water prior to the storm, and an orphanage staff member even brought children to her own home to keep them safe during the worst of the wind and rain. But their access to future supplies is uncertain, and the families we serve in the surrounding areas are experiencing staggering loss.

They need additional food, water, shelter and other aid as soon as possible.

With your help, we will deliver emergency aid to the children and families in in our care centers and family strengthening projects as soon as we can. We must act quickly to ensure children and families receive the lifesaving supplies they need to endure this difficult time.

We continue to receive updates from our staff and partner organizations and stand ready to offer whatever help we can. We will keep you updated as we learn further information.

Would you consider making a tax-deductible donation today?

Thank you for your lifesaving support and continued prayers for the people of Haiti.

For waiting kids, it’s all about “reach.”

We need your help!

During the summer, we consistently receive fewer applications than throughout the rest of the year. Maybe it’s because families are going on vacation or their lives are full of activities, but whatever the reason, lower application numbers mean that we are finding homes for fewer children overall. We want to counteract that trend and we need your help.

One of the major ways that we find prospective families for children is through social media, and when working with social media, it’s all about “reach.” This is where you come in.

Photo Release: Further_Marketing_Use Adopted Child's Country of Birth: China Report Month: : 24 Month Adoptive Parent's Info:  Adoptive Father's First & Last Name: Brian Murphy Adoptive Mother's First & Last Name: Jessica Murphy State: IN E-mail address: mrsjessicamurphy@gmail.com Adopted Child's Information:  Child's Original Name: Yu Bing Yan Child's New Name: Alaina Murphy Child's DOB: 01/16/2013 Arrival Date: 05/30/2014 Caption for each photo:  AlainaMurphy-01.jpg The Murphy family on vacation in Brown County, Indiana. We love spending time outdoors together. AlainaMurphy-02.jpg Alaina dressed in as a princess for Halloween. AlainaMurphy-03.jpg Alaina and Jessica (Mother) spending time together at the beach. Our family visits the same place in Florida every year! AlainaMurphy-04.jpg Alaina, excited to ride the train at the Cincinnati Zoo. AlainaMurphy-05.jpg Alaina and Brian (Father), together on a beautiful nature trail. AlainaMurphy-06.jpg The Murphy Family on vacation together in Florida. We spent the week swimming and playing together on the beach. AlainaMurphy-07.jpg Alaina dressed as her favorite Disney character, and holding one of her "babies". AlainaMurphy-08.jpg Alaina dressed in her beautiful silk dress for Chinese New Year. We celebrated together with our extended family and ate some delicious food.We often use our Facebook page to advocate for children on our waiting child photolisting. In order for our Facebook campaigns to be successful, however, we rely on people like you to spread children’s stories through sharing, liking and commenting. Facebook thinks it knows what people want to see on their feed, and it figures that out by looking at what is getting the most engagement. So the more shares, likes and comments that our posts get, the more Facebook assists in spreading them around. Basically, the more engagement that a post about a child receives, the better chance we have of finding them a loving and secure home.

Take Suzanna. Like many other children on our waiting child photolisting, we wrote a blog post about Suzanna and then posted it to Facebook. Here is where it gets exciting. People like you started sharing it, liking it and commenting on it, and within the first day, 40,000+ people saw it! That number is still climbing.

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Now, that is a lot of people and we get excited about that. But what we are really excited about is that we had 40+ inquiries about adopting Suzanna, and one family is going through the process to adopt her now!

Helping us spread the word about children who need extra advocacy has a real and tangible impact on the lives of the people that we “reach” — and most importantly, on the lives of children who are waiting for a family of their own.

 

Sincerely,

Emily Lund

Adoption Counselor

Holt International
Ready to advocate for children? Hunter, Gabbie and Brady need your help right now:

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Empowering Women in Haiti to Seek a Better Life for Their Families

MARIE GUERDIE & FAMILYWomen are the backbone of Haitian society, but they have little access to the resources they need to build a better life for their families. In one rural farming community, Holt is now working with a local partner to lift up the women of the region — equipping them with the tools and resources to build a small business, as well as the life skills they need to sustain and grow their business long-term.

Marie Guerdie dreams the dreams of mothers everywhere. She dreams that her children will complete their education. That her eldest son, now 13, will study mechanical engineering. She dreams that her 6-year-old daughter will grow up to be a nurse. And that her youngest son, just 18 months old, will one day work as a doctor. Marie Guerdie dreams that her children will grow proud and strong, give back to their community through meaningful work, and experience all the riches that life has to offer.

In her hopes and dreams for her children, Marie Guerdie is just like every mother everywhere. But where she lives, Marie’s dreams are unusually out of reach. Continue reading “Empowering Women in Haiti to Seek a Better Life for Their Families”

Can you guess what gift made children shriek with joy?

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It’s only October. So why are we blogging about Christmas?
Because in order to create an incredible Christmas for every orphaned and vulnerable child we serve, we need you now.

This year, let’s create something truly magical for children. Miraculous, even.

So many of the children in Holt’s programs have experienced so much pain and poverty — hardships that no one should ever have to endure, but especially children. The children in our programs have an adult-like maturity. You can see the worry in their eyes.
Continue reading “Can you guess what gift made children shriek with joy?”

An Update on Our Work in Haiti

Despite significant changes in our adoption and sponsorship programs over the past year, we look forward to a year full of possibility for continuing our mission of ensuring stable, loving homes for children in Haiti.

Holt sponsors are now helping to meet this little girl’s needs.

At a small orphanage in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, tree limbs spread across one wall, branching in every direction. Falling from each limb like leaves are exactly 53 hearts. All but one of these hearts represents a child who died when the orphanage nursery collapsed in Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake. One heart is dedicated to a nurse who died while caring for these children.

At the time of the earthquake, 156 children lived in this orphanage. Today, about 60 children remain in care. Some of them are in temporary care and will later rejoin their families. Others are eligible to be adopted internationally.

Last month, Holt enrolled every one of these children in our sponsorship program. When the earthquake hit, it severely damaged the infrastructure of the orphanage, which has struggled to rebuild over the past five years. With few resources, the orphanage staff has also struggled to provide adequate care for the children. Through their monthly donation, Holt sponsors will help meet the nutritional and medical needs of the children. They will ease the financial burden on the orphanage so the staff can focus on rebuilding the structure and making it safe for the children. And ultimately, with support from Holt, the orphanage hopes to resume an education program for children in the community that abruptly stopped on January 12, 2010.

For Holt, this new partnership highlights a new direction and new momentum for our work in Haiti.

A little over a year ago, Holt was forced to suspend our sponsorship program for most of the children we serve in Haiti. Although we continued to meet the needs of children in care at Holt Fontana Village, rising costs in Haiti hampered our ability to serve children living with their families in the community. At the same time, the Haitian government ratified the Hague Convention — changing the process for international adoption from Haiti, and creating new guidelines for partnerships between agencies and orphanages. Whereas before, agencies worked directly with orphanage partners to find families for children, Haiti’s central adoption authority has now taken on the role of matching children referred for adoption to pre-approved adoptive families on their waiting list.  Although agencies can still provide non-adoption related support for orphanages, they no longer work together to find adoptive families for children. Continue reading “An Update on Our Work in Haiti”

Gifts of Hope

Can you put a price tag on Hope? Can you calculate the worth of something so abstract?

The worth of something is, after all, relative — it changes from place to place, person to person, currency to currency. Hope is relative too, and looks different for everyone.

By definition, hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.

The expectation that something is about to change.

Something is about to get better.

Hope is also a feeling — a very powerful one — that drives us to continue to push through hard situations, eager to find the light in the darkness.

Continue reading “Gifts of Hope”