Dustin is a friendly and energetic boy who has been in care since he was 3 weeks old. He is currently in the 1st grade and is reportedly learning well. He can write letters and numbers and enjoys counting. He is said to have mild cognitive delays and a lisp, but is otherwise healthy! Continue reading “Dustin Needs a Family!”
Sometimes when a country hasn’t seen any movement on a waiting child’s file, they remove Holt’s referral for the child. Effectively that means that Holt can no longer seek families for these children.
Vincent is one of three boys who Holt will soon no longer be able to home-find for. If we can find the right family for Vincent, a $5000 Brittany’s Hope grant is available to help cover his adoption costs!
He has decided that five best friends is not enough, and is open to having more. It is rare to see him alone and he is most upset when he can’t hang out with others. He isn’t just popular with his peers, though, he is also close with his caregivers!
Vincent is also a very active boy, which can get him into trouble when he is supposed to be sitting still. He can ride a bike, play soccer, and likes to play pretend with the other kids in his care center.
He is very observant and a quick learner. One of his caregivers told the story of when a carpenter came to repair a door. Vincent was very curious about all of the tools that the carpenter brought and was very interested in the work that he was doing. He sat and watched as the man worked and in a very short time, he knew what each tool was called and how it was used. By the end, Vincent was helping the carpenter by handing him the right tools at the right time.
Vincent also has a very caring and thoughtful spirit. He can often be found helping the younger children in his care center and he likes playing with others and doesn’t mind sharing his toys because it brings them joy. One day, he hopes to be a priest because they help people.
Vincent is said to be in good physical health and to have mild cognitive delays. An adoptive family for this older boy should be knowledgeable about older child adoption issues, such as how grief may affect adjustment and attachment. His family should also have access to a good educational system to help him reach his full potential.
Born with severe sight and hearing impairments, it’s like Giang was trapped, unable to communicate with the world around her. But then, everything changed.
Giang sat on the back of her family’s motorbike, riding home after a full day. Her mother thought everything was going well, until out of the corner of her eye she saw something fly through the air and land on the side of the road.
“No! Not her hearing aids!”
Yes, 4-year-old Giang had apparently had enough noise for the day. But still — believe it or not — this was progress.
When Holt staff member Billie Loewen delivers a uniform to a young girl in Vietnam, she also gets a glimpse of how one small act of kindness can forever change the course of someone’s life.
I know how powerful your gifts, as donors, can be because I’ve been blessed to visit families and children who have received them — and on one especially wonderful occasion, I got to deliver a gift to one particularly sweet and inspirational 15-year-old girl.
When I met Nhi, it was a hot, humid afternoon in late June. My husband and I traveled to Vietnam on our honeymoon, but took a couple extra days to visit with children and families in Holt’s programs. This is one of my favorite parts of working for Holt. I am inspired by the families in our programs. They have big dreams and work harder than most anyone I’ve ever met. They take the small investment or hand-up we provide and completely transform their lives and the lives of their families and communities. I meet mothers, fathers and grandparents who sacrifice everything to provide for their children and grandchildren the opportunities they never had. Many of the parents and grandparents in our programs have survived unspeakable atrocities. War, violence, oppression, the worst kind of poverty. And children seem so much older than their chronological age. They take on adult chores and responsibilities from a young age.
Nhi was no different.
At 14, she was tremendously quiet and absolutely beautiful, but understated in her appearance. In contrast to many American girls, Nhi didn’t wear makeup, anything brand-name or jewelry. Her slick black hair met at the nape of her neck in a low ponytail. She wore simple jeans, flip flops and a polka dot T-shirt.
Just weeks before I arrived at her home in Danang, Vietnam, Nhi received some incredible news. After weeks and weeks of studying for her high school exams, Nhi received her test scores.
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!
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.
How one woman in Vietnam used a small donor-funded investment to grow her business, build her confidence and create a safe and stable home for her grandson.
Lai wraps her tiny frame and arms around her shy, chubby grandson, Binh. She bounces him playfully, jutting her hip out to help support his weight. Her eyes are soft-hearted and sparkling, her face radiant with joy. She has the energy of someone half her age.
Behind Lai, an open garage door leads to the main room of her street-side apartment — a small and sparsely decorated space that empties onto a bustling sidewalk in Danang, Vietnam. Her sidewalk is set up like a small café — with little tables and chairs strategically filling the space. On the curb, Lai’s wheeled kitchen cart is filled with fruit and blenders, juice and straws — ready for customers. Continue reading “I Will Never Abandon You”
Over the last month, Holt’s child nutrition program team has traveled to twelve childcare institutions in Vietnam and China to evaluate the success of the program as well as the ongoing implementation of our nutrition, health and growth screening system. Below, Holt’s nutrition initiatives coordinator, Aloura DiGiallonardo, shares the story of one boy she met in China whose extraordinary transformation illustrates how Holt’s groundbreaking nutrition program is impacting the children we serve.
In the minds of Jin’s caregivers, finding a family for him would never enter the realm of possibility.
Jin has cerebral palsy (CP), a neurological condition that affects motor function in the body. As caring for a child with CP is beyond the resources of most low and middle-class families in China, many of these families feel they have no other recourse than to abandon a child born with CP or other special needs — hopeful that others will provide the care they need. Jin too was found abandoned and brought into care as an infant.
With a weak immune system and constant upper respiratory infections, Jin was never not sick. He was extremely listless, he could not walk, he could not sit up or support himself and he had extremely limited mobility. For the first few years of his life, he laid in a crib all day and all night. His caregivers would come and interact with him from time to time and he would listen to the noise in the background of his room. But without the attentive care of a family, he missed most of his developmental milestones and had very low cognitive function. His caregivers believed he had no hope of advancing to be independent or engaged in his own life. They assumed he would spend his entire life in an institution.
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.
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.
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.