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”

How Does Your Money Get To Your Sponsored Child?

Why we don’t give your $39 monthly sponsorship donation directly to your sponsored child’s family or caregivers, and how Holt uses your money to help your sponsored child instead.

A mom and her son in Colombia. Sponsorship helps this boy attend a daycare program where he receives a critical early education.
A mom and her son in Colombia. Sponsorship helps this boy attend a daycare program where he receives nourishing meals and a critical early education.

Every month, you faithfully send your $39 to your sponsored child … Sort of.

Technically, you send your gift to Holt International, trusting that we will properly steward your money and direct it to your sponsored child. While we do on occasion give cash directly to families to meet immediate identified needs, we don’t actually give your sponsored child and his or her family $39 in cash or check each month.

Why, you ask? Wouldn’t our sponsorship program be just as effective if we simply wrote a check each month?

 

Well, that’s a great question, and it is one that our sponsorship team often hears. Continue reading “How Does Your Money Get To Your Sponsored Child?”

International Adoption in the Time of COVID

Hannah and Paulo Lee were nearing the end of their international adoption process from Korea when COVID-19 became a global pandemic —  shutting down travel and causing obstacles they never could have expected. 

Hannah and Paolo with their daughter, Maddie, and son Elliott adopted from Korea during the pandemic.
Hannah and Paolo with their daughter, Maddie, and son Elliott adopted from Korea during the pandemic.

Three years ago, we were a family of three and we desired to have one more child. However, this time God led us on a journey of adoption to grow our family. After many months of praying, we decided to adopt from South Korea. We quickly finished our homestudy and were matched the following summer.

It was in June of 2019 when we finally got to see what our son looked like. We now had a face in our minds of the child we had been praying for. Using Holt’s timeframes provided, we expected to meet him in person in about a year.

But never could we have prepared for a global pandemic and the unexpected obstacles we would have to face. Continue reading “International Adoption in the Time of COVID”

140 Children, Forever Loved From Korea

Together, Mrs. Yang and Mrs. Kim have fostered over 140 children in Korea. In August 2017, they visited Holt families in Oregon — an experience they, and the adoptees and adoptive families they met, will never forget.

This story originally appeared on the Holt blog in September 2017. 

Mrs. Yang sat in a room at Holt’s international headquarters in Oregon — sobbing.

She clutched the glossy photobook to her chest then set it down to cover her face with her hands. The photobook was sent to her by a Holt family, and full of pictures and descriptions about how their son was doing. Her shoulders rose and fell with emotion and a Holt Korea social worker and translator, who was helping me with the interview, put an arm around her.

“Separation is not easy,” she said to me. Continue reading “140 Children, Forever Loved From Korea”

Mom, I Forgive You

Adoptee Krista Gause shares a letter she wrote to her birth mom before she traveled on the summer 2016 Holt Heritage Tour of Korea. 

The adoption agency suggested that I write you a letter. And while I know I’m supposed to keep this brief, I just can’t. I have so many things to share with you. Did you ever have a friend who you only saw every now and then but you loved each other so much that time and distance didn’t matter? And that when you finally did see that friend you had a laundry list of things to share with her? That’s exactly how I feel right now. Continue reading “Mom, I Forgive You”

9 Dos and Don’ts About Writing Letters to Your Sponsored Child

The question our sponsorship staff encounters most frequently is, “Can I write my sponsored child?”

We think this is a fantastic question! It shows that you take your sponsorship seriously — often sending positive thoughts or prayers to your sponsored child, and wondering how he or she is doing. Your desire to connect with your sponsored child is one that warms our hearts — and your sponsored child’s, too!

Generally, the answer is yes, you can write your sponsored child. But, there are a few stipulations, mostly designed to ensure your sponsored child and his or her family remain safe and successful in our programs.

Here, we’ve created a “9 dos and don’ts” list regarding correspondence with your sponsored child. Continue reading “9 Dos and Don’ts About Writing Letters to Your Sponsored Child”

A Sponsor Story That Began in Korea, 1954

A command radio and radar repairman for the U.S. Air Force, Clare Graham was just 20 years old when he found himself stationed near Seoul during the last year of the Korean War. On his rare days off, Clare and his buddies would sometimes drive the 30 miles into Seoul to find ice cream — a nearly unheard-of treat in Korea in 1954. But one day in April, he decided to stay close to base. He headed out for a walk, and it became a walk he’d never forget. Continue reading “A Sponsor Story That Began in Korea, 1954”

We Can Help This Child…

One adoptive mom shares how the loss of their son moved her and her husband to sponsor a child in his honor. 

Celebrating Greg's first birthday!
“We are so thankful for the wonderful gift we had in Greg for 28 years,” his mom, Gail, says.

We adopted our daughter, Amanda, from Korea in 1987, through Holt. We adopted our son, Gregory, from Korea, through Holt in 1991. Both of our children have brought joy and love to everyone they’ve met. Continue reading “We Can Help This Child…”

COVID-19 in Korea: How the Pandemic is Affecting Sponsorship Programs

Lee, Yoon-Joo, director of overseas adoption programs at Holt Korea, and Paul Kim, director of Holt’s programs in Korea and Mongolia, share how the pandemic is affecting the children, families and individuals in Holt’s sponsorship program in Korea — and how Holt sponsors and donors are helping to meet their most urgent needs.

While well-baby check-ups have resumed, they are conducted on a staggered basis, and any social activity and contact between the foster mothers and children in care while at the clinic is prohibited.
While well-baby check-ups have resumed, they are conducted on a staggered basis, and any social activity and contact between the foster mothers and children in care while at the clinic is prohibited.

How has COVID-19 affected Korea and what is life like there right now?

PK: Korea has gone from one of the first countries in the world outside of China to be impacted by COVID-19 to a leader in fighting the spread of the virus. The nation is currently experiencing the third wave of infections, and the authorities have tightened existing regulations. Continue reading “COVID-19 in Korea: How the Pandemic is Affecting Sponsorship Programs”

Last Christmas Was a Good One!

Last Christmas, children around the world experienced a huge holiday celebration! They attended parties and received presents and ate special meals. None of these experiences would have been possible without the generosity of Holt sponsors and donors.

Children living in impoverished communities or orphanages around the world often miss out on Christmas and holiday celebrations. For children and families who barely have enough to survive each day, treats, parties and gifts wrapped in colorful paper are impossible luxuries.

But every child deserves to experience the joy and celebration of Christmas. That’s why every year, Holt sponsors and donors go above and beyond to bring Christmas to children all around the world.

When sponsors and donors give $25, a child receives a hand-picked gift, festive meal, treats and a special party with their family and friends! It’s a fun-filled day — giving them wonderful memories that they will cherish all year. This year’s celebrations may look a bit different due to COVID-19 precautions, but Holt staff and partners will work hard to make it just as special!

Take a look at last year’s joyous holiday celebrations around the world!

Continue reading “Last Christmas Was a Good One!”