Loved Like One of Their Own

While waiting to join a permanent family through adoption, a little girl with severe special needs receives the attentive, nurturing care she needs in her foster family in Thailand.

20160226 (13)When our partner staff in Thailand met Worawan, they were shocked by her condition. Born prematurely at seven months, she spent the first three months of her life in an incubator — and two months on a ventilator. At birth, she had multiple special needs and health problems — including respiratory distress syndrome, rickets, anemia and congenital heart failure, among other severe and complex conditions. At the age of seven months, she weighed just over 8 pounds and was just 19.5 inches long. Most of the time, she laid still in her crib.

“Worawan had global developmental delays and failure to thrive,” says Jintana Nontapouraya, the director of the Holt Sahathai Foundation in Thailand. “We were so worried about her condition and also very afraid about whether the foster parents who agreed to receive her would still want to welcome her when we brought her to their home.”

Nine months have now passed since they welcomed Worawan into their home and lives.

“Although they appeared worried as she looked very tiny and fragile,” Jintana remembers, “they said they believed their family was the best choice for the girl under this situation as they were not afraid to love and nurture her.” Continue reading “Loved Like One of Their Own”

She Carries Your Love Always

Holt adoptive mom Libby Wendland writes a heartfelt letter to her daughter’s foster mom in Thailand, who cared for her in the six years she waited to join a family through adoption. This letter originally appeared on Libby’s blog, milestoeden.com

My husband and I just adopted our beautiful 6-year-old daughter internationally. She was placed in foster care at 3 weeks old until the approval of her adoption. Nothing I could ever give or say could repay her foster parents for the love they gave my daughter while she waited for six years for her forever home. My words will always fall short, but I pray all foster moms\dads know the importance of their job and role in a child’s life. This post is dedicated to two of the world’s best people (Por Kian & Mae Eiat) and to all the foster moms and dads in our world. Your work does not go unnoticed and your love will live through these children for all eternity. All my love and gratitude!

To My Daughter’s Foster Mom,

Eden riding a bike.I know you will probably never read these words nor will they ever touch your ears to know my heart, but I want to tell you that the day we met I will never forget or be the same. You showed me the broken hallelujah of loving someone with all your heart even if that love was meant only for a moment. You loving my daughter may have just been a season, but she will carry that love for eternity.

When she trusts me, I know it was because of your trusting hand that held her during those years of waiting and hard transitions.

When she loves me, I know it was because she was first loved by you.

Continue reading “She Carries Your Love Always”

Children in Thailand and Vietnam Need Families!

So, you’re thinking about adoption! While you’ve already made a first big step in reaching out to Holt, you may be discovering that there are a lot more decisions to make along your adoption journey.

A couple of the next ones coming your way are deciding on the country program and profile of child you are open to. Often, it’s best to begin by talking with Holt’s intake staff or your social worker and doing some research to get an idea of which country program is right for your family.

For some families, Holt’s smaller adoption programs are a perfect fit. And right now, both our Thailand and Vietnam programs are in need of adoptive families!

These two programs have two different sets of parent eligibility requirements and two very different profiles of children who are waiting for families. Could your family be eligible and interested in adopting a child from Thailand or Vietnam? Take a look!

Thailand

Thailand

Right now, the Thailand program needs loving adoptive families for younger children who have very manageable/minor special needs. The majority of these children are living with a nurturing foster family where they are growing and being cared for in a stable family environment. These foster families prepare the children very well for adoption, helping the transition into a permanent adoptive family to be as smooth as possible.

Because of Thailand’s eligibility requirements, this program is a good fit for younger parents — the adoptive mother should be under the age of 40 and the adoptive father under the age of 45 at time of application — and those who have just one or no other children living in their home. However, these requirements can be flexible for families interested in a waiting child. Families with one child in the home can request a child of the opposite gender, but otherwise you cannot request a specific gender.

VietnamVietnam

If the Thailand program doesn’t seem like a good fit for your family, check out the Vietnam program! This is our newest adoption program, and our first Holt-matched child came home just this past month!

Children waiting for families typically fit within one of two profiles. These include children who are generally between the ages of 1 to 5 and have moderate or major special needs. Older children, ages 6-14, are also waiting for families. Some of these children may not have any special needs, but will need families who are experienced and prepared for the complexities of older child adoption.

Parent eligibility requirements for the Vietnam program are generally more open and can be flexible depending on the needs of the specific child. Families adopting from Vietnam can have up to four children in the home, parents can be up to 54 years old at the time of application, and the program is open to single applicants.

We hope this helps you as you continue your journey toward welcoming a child into your heart and family. If you have any question about either of these programs, you are always free to contact me at emilyl@holtinternational.org.

Sincerely,

Emily Lund
Adoption Counselor

In Honor of Judy

When Holt adoptive mom Angie Ledbetter decided to sign up new sponsors for children as a volunteer at Winter Jam, she knew it would be a wonderful way to honor Judy Young — her family’s adoption social worker and Holt’s Arkansas/Kansas/Missouri branch director who recently passed away. She never expected the beautiful confirmation of her decision that came next.

Our family feels Winter Jam is such an amazing event and is very proud to be a part of the Holt International family that sponsors it. It’s a night spent worshiping the Lord along with ten of the best Christian bands who are sharing the word through music, promoting adoption and getting sponsors for children. We first volunteered at Winter Jam several years ago while we were waiting for our daughter, Lauren, to come home. We were at the point in our adoption where we had all the paperwork finished for the time being and were waiting to be matched with our daughter. Everyone who has adopted knows that is one of the hardest times… to wait. We felt volunteering would be something we could do to feel productive while we were sitting idle in the adoption process.

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Angie Ledbetter first volunteered at Winter Jam while waiting to be matched with her daughter, Lauren, from Thailand.
I admit, the first time we volunteered, it was partly for selfish reasons. I wanted to have the opportunity to see all the faces of the children who needed sponsors, hoping that somehow I would see my daughter’s face. I suppose I had hoped for some divine intervention, considering I didn’t even know who our daughter would be at the time. I had hoped to see a precious baby girl and just know that she was my daughter. Needless to say, that didn’t happen, but we were able to sign people up to sponsor some of the children who were in need and enjoyed an amazing concert. Continue reading “In Honor of Judy”

The Top 10 Photos of 2015

We all love feel-good stories. At Holt, we are surrounded by miracles, triumphant underdog tales and inspiring success stories every day. But sometimes, the best stories aren’t told through words. Today, we look back at a few of our favorite stories of hope, love, family and incredible, life-changing impact — not told through words, but pictures. We’ve rounded up our top 10 favorite, most iconic photos of the year. It’s likely that if you’ve followed us on social media, checked out our website, started sponsoring a child, given a gift to help a child in need or started your adoption journey, you’ve seen at least one of these photos this year. Today, we share the stories behind the photos, and explain why these images exemplify Holt’s work and the incredible impact of Holt’s friends, families and supporters around the world. Enjoy!

Photo 10: Summer Camps

Every summer, Holt Adoptee Camp is both fun and inspirational for the kids and teens who attend. At four sleep-away camps across the country, adoptees spend a week hiking, swimming, playing games and enjoying evenings around a campfire with fellow transracial adoptees and adoptee counselors. This is a time and place for adoptees to just be themselves, surrounded by other people who share similar stories and family histories. Together, they explore identity, race and other adoptee-specific topics in an open, safe setting. Mostly, they have fun! In the photo below, 2015 camp director Chris McGinn — who will return to direct camps in 2016! — serves as jungle gym and friend to 9-year-old Adam Wachner during camp in Nebraska. In the background, 16-year-old Alec Zoz and 13-year-old Karl McGillvray sport Holt camp shirts specially designed by Holt camp counselors.

Photo 10 Continue reading “The Top 10 Photos of 2015”

Just look at the striking differences in these children and families…

Holt’s supporters are amazing. Because of gifts to our President’s Top Priority Fund last year, we have seen striking changes in the lives of children and families we serve. Hopeful adoptive families have been able to offer a loving home to children with special needs, while children with special needs living with their families around the world were able to receive the vital medical care and therapies they need to thrive. Through family strengthening initiatives, many struggling families now have the tools and resources to independently support their children. Holt’s supporters created pathways for children to go to school, provided lifesaving food to orphaned children in North Korea and created hope and opportunity in the lives of children and families as near as Haiti and as far as Mongolia and Vietnam.

Below, we share some of our favorite stories from the year — stories that show the lasting and meaningful difference you made in the lives of children and families in 2015. Thank you, and enjoy! Continue reading “Just look at the striking differences in these children and families…”

MYTH: Adoption — Particularly International Adoption — Is Coming To An End.

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Without a doubt, this is one of the most pervasive and dire of adoption myths. There are many theories behind the adoption doomsday scenarios — the most lovely and hopeful of which is the notion that children no longer need adoption to have a permanent, loving family.

If this were true, our work would be done.

In every country where Holt works — and long before pursuing adoption — we strive to keep children in the loving care of their birth families, whenever possible. But sadly, we are far from living in an ideal world where every child can remain with their families.

Fall LeavesFor children who are orphaned, abandoned or unable to remain or reunite with their birth families, adoption is still the best route to a permanent, loving family.

And we assure you that adoption is not ending — not anytime soon.

“I mostly hear this myth about Korea.” So says our long-time adoption counselor Emily Lund, who is often the first person you will speak to when you contact Holt. “There have been rampant rumors for decades now about Korea wanting to eventually cease international adoption,” Emily explains. “Social media doesn’t always help.”

As with many rumors, this one is actually grounded in some truth. But in the game of telephone that invariably follows — now conducted over Facebook and Twitter — truths often become warped and distorted. Continue reading “MYTH: Adoption — Particularly International Adoption — Is Coming To An End.”

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?”

You’re Forgiven and Loved

Holt adoptee Max Douglas, 21, shares a poem he wrote about — and for – his birth mother, who he has never met but hopes to some day when he returns to Thailand. “I have a really good connection with how it feels to be adopted,” Max says. “Originally, I was just going to make a regular poem. As you can see, I repeated a sentence throughout the whole poem. This sentence was not put in the same place every time — it’s to help bring emotion to the poem. This is based off the song ‘Everything to Me’ by Mark Schultz. In the song, he conveys intense emotions about how his birth mother gave everything to him.”

Douglas, Maxwell Continue reading “You’re Forgiven and Loved”

Growing Their Confidence

Through a community-based gardening program, Holt’s partner agency in Thailand provides vulnerable children and families an outlet for enhancing their self-esteem and providing for their community.

Tha sala

Since 1998, Holt Sahathai Foundation, in an effort to strengthen families and help children thrive, has provided a community-based gardening program in the Tha Sala district of southern Thailand. The program provides learning and socialization opportunities for vulnerable children and their families in order to enhance self-esteem and help promote community camaraderie. “If a community is strong and healthy, then the children of that community have a much higher chance of healthy development both physically and mentally,” Thoa Bui, Holt’s senior executive for SE Asia programs, says. “This is what the community garden helps to address.” Continue reading “Growing Their Confidence”