Growing With Love

Adoptive mom Johanna Utman describes her family’s journey to adopt their daughter, Alanna, from the Philippines, and why it was one of the most beautiful and heart-wrenching experiences of their lives.

Adoptive mom Johanna Utman with her daughter, Alanna.

Adopting is a journey. Parenting is a journey. However, adoption is a special journey of its own.

Growing our family by adoption was one of the most beautiful and heart-wrenching experiences of our lives. Adopting from the Philippines, specifically, was even more significant because I knew I shared a rich heritage with my child — a child who I hadn’t even met yet. Continue reading “Growing With Love”

Top 10 Myths About Adopting From the Philippines

If you or someone you know has been considering adoption from the Philippines, you may have heard some common misconceptions about the adoption process. Below, we highlight the top 10 myths about adopting a child from the Philippines, and provide some useful insight as you consider this program!

Myth #1: There isn’t much information available about children waiting to be adopted from the Philippines.

Fact: Holt receives very detailed family background, behavioral, developmental and social information about children waiting to be adopted from the Philippines.

Continue reading “Top 10 Myths About Adopting From the Philippines”

Analyn’s New World

Born with cerebral palsy and placed in an orphanage at 10 months old, Analyn had a small world — mostly consisting of the ceiling tiles above her crib in the Philippines. But then, an unexpected intervention changed everything.

Analyn’s world was small. About four ceiling tiles to be exact. Ceiling tiles that she stared at for hours and hours every day and every night from her crib at an orphanage in the Philippines.

Analyn in her crib.
Continue reading “Analyn’s New World”

David Archuleta Visits Holt’s Programs

David Archuleta with a sponsored child.David Archuleta travels to the Philippines to meet children and families in sponsorship.

“It blew my mind to see homeless children on the street,” music artist David Archuleta says, still struck a year later. “Kids sleeping in cardboard on the side of the road…”

Though he knew about the difficulties children and families face in urban Manila, Philippines, it shocked him to see this level of poverty first-hand.

Continue reading “David Archuleta Visits Holt’s Programs”

What Makes The “Perfect” Family?

Taeyang and his sisters.

Special needs. Older children. Single parent adoption. Kids with unknown medical needs. Just the good ol’ “let the agency choose” path. There are lots of adoption paths — and no “perfect” families — but whatever path you choose, your family will ultimately be the right family for a child who is waiting.

Once upon a time, there was the perfect adoptive family. The mom and dad — both pediatricians — decided to adopt a child with a few medical needs. Their neighbors, high school teachers with a trust fund and awards for their work with underprivileged youth, decided to adopt an older child. Then, their other neighbors, who have never once been afraid in their whole lives, adopted a child with some “unknowns” in his history.

If you already questioned whether this was a “true” story, congratulations! You caught us. Continue reading “What Makes The “Perfect” Family?”

The Story of My Life

Growing up without a stable family in the Philippines, Konny Dela Cruz struggled to stay on track — and eventually left school early to work in a garment factory. Then she learned about Holt’s  independent living and educational assistance (ILEA) program — a donor-funded program that helps institutionalized and disadvantaged teens to attend college and learn independent living skills. 

Konny Dela Cruz in her graduation gown.

The story of my life is so beautiful with a lot of learnings.

I was born in 1997. I grew up with a family with whom I have no blood relationship. I was only 2 years old when my mother entrusted me to the care of the landlady of the boarding house where we used to stay because she went to Korea to work.

When I was growing up, I was wondering why there is no name of my father on my birth certificate. I asked the landlady, whom I have been calling grandmother “Lola,” to explain “why I have no father on my birth certificate,” but she would just tell me it is only your mother who can answer your question. And my mother kept ignoring my question, too.

I could not approach any relative because I don’t know anyone — and maybe nobody knows about me, too. Continue reading “The Story of My Life”

Holt’s Child Nutrition Program Partners With the Philippines Government

Local caregivers and staff in the Philippines proudly hold their certificates showing they graduated from Holt’s child nutrition program!

In July 2017, the Philippines became the sixth country where Holt has implemented our child nutrition program (CNP).

In tandem with our long-time local partner, Kaisahang Buhay Foundation, we provided trainings for caregivers and staff at two new government-run care centers. The trainings were filled with lots of learning, dancing — a beloved pastime and popular ice-breaker activity throughout the country — and meaningful hands-on opportunities. Continue reading “Holt’s Child Nutrition Program Partners With the Philippines Government”

Adoption is Changing, but Kids are Still Waiting for Families!

We know there have been a lot of changes in adoption recently. Country programs are changing their eligibility requirements, the profile of children coming home is changing and it is easy to feel overwhelmed and give up.

One thing that isn’t changing, though, is the need. There are still so many kids who have been deprived of the love and protection that only a permanent family can provide. Each child is waiting for a family, and our mission is to find loving parents for those children.

Could you be the family that a child is waiting for?

If you are just in the beginning stages of adoption and aren’t sure what to do next — or if you are ready to move forward — email our adoption team at adopt@holtinternational.org! They can give you free information with no strings attached — helping you learn more about adoption or guiding you through the first steps of the process.

Contact our adoption team! Continue reading “Adoption is Changing, but Kids are Still Waiting for Families!”

Two Minute View

Sarah DeGarmo has 12 brothers and sisters, 11 of whom joined her family through adoption. Here, Sarah shares about her journey to find God’s 30-before-30 bucket list for her life, and how she and her husband, Leighton, began their own adoption journey to their third child.

Sarah and her husband, Leighton, with their 4-year-old son, Wyatt, and 6-year-old, Levi.

My husband and I are currently in the process of adopting from the Philippines. While we may have just started our adoption journey, the seed of adoption was planted for me over 20 years ago when my parents returned home from the Philippines with my brother Isaac. After him followed Kim, Lancer, Josh, Gerard, Arturo, Ericko, Melvin, Cathy, Chris and Jena. I have one biological brother, Austin, making our family 13 children strong.

Back when there were only four of us kids, our family took a road trip to the Grand Canyon. I was 12 or 13 at the time and somehow Dad had convinced Austin and I that we should hike from the rim of the Grand Canyon down to the river and then back up to the rim in a day.

We were so excited!

Continue reading “Two Minute View”