The Story Behind the Photo: 86 and Counting

collage-86-3

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!
learn help advocate

The Story Behind the Photo: What Social Workers Actually Do…

kathiekris-red
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…”

I Will Never Abandon You

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.

img_2989
Lai holds her grandson, Binh, in front of her food cart.

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”

For Children Like Jin

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. 

img_5551
In the year since Holt implemented a new feeding skills training at Jin’s care center in China, his physical capabilities have also significantly increased. During a recent visit, Holt’s in-country China director, Sue Liu, helped him stand and walk around the room. Holt is now beginning the process to find a family for Jin through adoption.

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.

Then, in August of 2015, something big happened for Jin. Continue reading “For Children Like Jin”

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.

Suzanna

 

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:

 Circle Hunter SmallCircle Gabbie SmallCircle Brady Small

Why Do Children Drop Out of School in Southeast Asia?

Education-2-Header-600x321Around the world, education is one of the most effective ways to help children and families escape long-term poverty. But in the countries where Holt works in SE Asia, this basic right of children is not easily obtained.

In impoverished communities across SE Asia, parents often let their children drop out of school to enter the labor workforce at very early ages. But high dropout rates, lack of education and poverty are all primary factors contributing to child trafficking.

Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 8.37.25 AM

Children as young as 12 who drop out of school have become easy targets for traffickers who recruit them with the promise of job placements in big cities. Sometimes, they end up in very harsh working conditions. Others are trafficked for far worse reasons.

Preschools or daycare for children ages 3-5 are also not available in many rural areas in SE Asia — resulting in delayed social, language and academic development. In some countries, the frequent migration of parents to seek jobs in big cities has resulted in children not having access to preschools. Many parents simply can’t afford to send their children to preschool, or do not understand how education impacts the development of their children prior to Grade 1.

But by giving the gift of school supplies, books and uniforms, you can help children continue their education and empower them to pursue their dreams. In Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines, you can also help reduce the risk of abuse and child labor.

Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 8.37.34 AM

Without your help and partnership, Holt could never reach so many lives in SE Asia and the many other countries where we work. Thank you for being part of a big cause serving children and families around the world!

Thoa Bui | Senior Executive of South & Southeast Asia Programs

Education-2_Bottom-Photo_600x390Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 8.40.36 AM

What a new mother needs most…

email5-Header-Art-600x450

It is a special time when a woman carries and gives birth to her first child. This is also the time when she needs the most support from her family.

But around the world, not all mothers-to-be receive the love and support they need and deserve.

Thuy was three months into her pregnancy when the child’s father left her without any support.

Although she carried her baby to term, she lacked the resources to see a doctor during her pregnancy. Her baby was born premature with low birth weight, and Thuy also experienced complications from the pregnancy. Because she had insufficient food to nourish both herself and her developing child, Thuy was also unable to breastfeed her baby, and lacked money to buy formula. Continue reading “What a new mother needs most…”

First Family Comes Home From Vietnam

 

Vietnam 03-2016 61It comes with great excitement that we announce that the first child to be adopted through our special pilot adoption program in Vietnam has come home with her family in the U.S. Jessica Palmer, Holt’s director of adoption services for Southeast Asia, was with the Nguyen family when they met their 19-month-old daughter in Binh Duong. It was such an honor to be able to witness first-hand this milestone in Holt’s adoption program in Vietnam,” Jessica says. “It was also my first trip to the country, so getting to meet all the Holt staff, seeing the country for the first time, and getting to witness such an amazing moment of a family being formed was truly an unforgettable experience.” Continue reading “First Family Comes Home From Vietnam”

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

Danh’s Remarkable Change

Eight-year-old Danh has cerebral palsy and lives in a care center in Vietnam. He spent most days lying in his crib and would remain laying down even when he ate — a position that, unbeknownst to his caregivers, caused him to choke on his food. But now, Danh sits up in his wheelchair to eat and loves engaging with the other children.

Danh* was born in June 2007 and was abandoned when he was an infant. He is now enrolled in care in the House of Love in Cam Ranh, Khanh Hoa. He has cerebral palsy and was diagnosed with hydrocephalus, for which he received surgery to drain the excess accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from his brain. However, his brain was affected by the hydrocephalus and resulted in stiffness and some brain damage. Despite the fact that Danh received good care and attention from the nuns at his care center, some of his specialized needs were not met due to his caregivers’ lack of knowledge and skills in caring for children with cerebral palsy. While in care, the nuns focused mostly on providing him with proper diet, medical care when he gets sick, and good hygiene. As he got older, Danh spent most of his time lying in his crib and being in a room by himself. Danh could not move, sit up or walk by himself. He ate in a laying position and depended mostly on his caretakers to meet his daily needs. The caretakers mostly showed up and interacted with him shortly during feeding or bathing time or to change his diaper. The only means of entertainment for him was watching TV. He cried when the TV was turned off and felt happy when it was on.

DanhDanh’s life changed remarkably in November 2015 when his caregivers received the ONP training to teach healthy, safe feeding for children without families organized by Holt International and the SPOON Foundation. Right after the training completed, the nuns ordered a wheelchair for Danh and some supplies needed to provide him with simple massage and physical exercise. Twice a day, Danh is given about one hour of massage and exercise using the big yoga ball. He is now fed while sitting up in his wheelchair. His caretakers share that Danh responded well and enjoyed the massage and exercise he received. He also got used to his new wheelchair after the first week. Now he can’t wait for his caretaker to come to his room every morning. He smiles happily when seeing the caretaker showing up in his room with his wheelchair because he knows that it is time to be brought outdoors with the other kids. While outdoors, he is around many other kids who stand around him, talking to him and making him laugh. Danh has been so happy and excited with these changes in his life. This is a simple change, but has made the Danh’s life significantly meaningful and full of excitement.

Hang Dam, MSW | Holt Vietnam Program

*Name changed