Who Writes Sponsorship Reports

You open your mailbox and pull out a familiar red and yellow envelope, Holt’s logo flashing from the corner. It’s an update about your sponsored child — one that comes each season. You rip open the envelope and pull out a new photo of your child and an update about his or her life overseas. Or, you log into your email and click on a familiar link from Holt. Soon, a new picture of your sponsored child stares at you from your screen.

You examine the new picture of your sponsored child — her smile, how she’s changed from the last photo — and delve into the words, how your $30 per month is changing her life.

Maybe you even wonder about the day a Holt staff member visited your child to take his new photo and get his update, and the journey to get that update to you, the sponsor. How did it get to you, and why, in April, is your child talking about Christmas?

Here we explain who wrote your sponsored child’s update, and the long journey that report took to get to you. Continue reading “Who Writes Sponsorship Reports”

Two Organizations Join Forces for the World’s Most Vulnerable Children

Holt International assumes management of Sunny Ridge Family Center’s operations in Illinois.

We have some exciting news to share with you regarding our work in Illinois.

Effective May 1, 2014,  Sunny Ridge Family Center in Bolingbrook will merge with Holt International, joining forces in our efforts to find loving adoptive families for children in the United States and overseas. Holt will assume management of Sunny Ridge’s operations, and will operate as Holt-Sunny Ridge Children’s Services in Illinois — a branch office to Holt’s headquarters in Eugene, Oregon. Holt has branch offices that provide direct services to families living in several states from California to New Jersey, and looks forward to expanding these services to families in Illinois. “We are excited to have a direct connection with families at all levels of their adoption process in this state,” says Susie Doig, Holt’s senior director of adoption services.

Sunny Ridge started providing domestic adoption services in 1979, and international adoption services in 1981. With this merger, Holt plans to continue domestic placements in Illinois, beginning a new and exciting chapter — finding loving homes for children both internationally and in the U.S.  We also plan to continue the long tradition of programs and services provided by Sunny Ridge, including exceptional post adoption services and adoption-competent therapy.  “We are excited to continue these already successful programs,” says Susie.

Amy Trotter, a Holt adoptee from Vietnam, will serve as Holt-Sunny Ridge Children’s Services director.

Declining adoptions have put a strain on agencies in the United States. The merge with Sunny Ridge comes in direct response to this, and follows several months of collaboration between the two organizations. “We believe this is an opportunity to bring the best of two organizations together,” says Phillip Littleton, Holt president and CEO. “This merger will allow us to better serve families and supporters in Illinois, and further develop Holt’s reach in child welfare and social service activities.”

Amy Trotter, who was adopted from Vietnam through Holt, will serve as Holt-Sunny Ridge’s new director. With a personal connection to Holt, Amy has extensive knowledge of our adoption and child welfare services, and looks forward to joining the Holt team. “This is a natural transition for me,” Trotter says. “I know of the good work that Holt has provided for nearly 60 years and I am excited about being the bridge between these two outstanding organizations.”

We hope that you will pray for us as we embark on this new endeavor, merging with Sunny Ridge in Illinois for the benefit of the world’s most vulnerable children and continuing our vision: A world where every child has a loving and secure home.

Click here to read a press release about the merger.

Mother’s Day Gifts of Hope

Three of Amita’s children play and talk with staff at Holt’s childcare center in India.

As kids, our moms would often fret over whether we had eaten enough. Moms took us to the doctor when we were sick. They checked our homework, worried about our education, and also taught us many lessons themselves. Lessons like kindness and how to care for others.

This Mother’s Day, salute the person who taught you compassion by giving a Gift of Hope — a gift to ease the worries of a struggling mother or family in one of Holt’s programs overseas. A gift to ensure her child will have healthy meals, afford to attend school, or be able to see a doctor.

It’s a gift to help mothers like Amita* in India.

A single mother, Amita struggles to care for her four children alone. On good days, during festivals or celebrations, Amita might earn $1.75 selling flowers. But many days, Amita is too sick from a chronic health condition to go to work at all. The whole family shares a one-room shack without a bathroom or kitchen, and when they can’t pay rent, Amita and her children sleep outside. The family has little to eat most days, and Amita’s two eldest children often skip school to look for work.

Last year, Amita heard about Holt and the services we offer families on the verge of separation. She came to us for help with school fees and nutritional support — but also to gain the skills she needs to independently support her children.

Holt was able to provide the emergency food and medical care Amita’s family needed to grow strong and healthy. Each day, all four children receive breakfast, snacks and lunch at school. Now, five months later, the children’s teachers praise the students for their hard work and passion to learn. Amita is also learning new skills through the job training Holt provides to parents in her town. It only took a little assistance for Amita to get back on her feet, and today, she is proud that she can support her family.

This Mother’s Day, help change the world for a mother like Amita. Give a Gift of Hope in honor of your own mother.

*Name changed.

Vietnam Delegation Visits Holt International

Four government officials from Vietnam visit Holt families and staff in Eugene as part of a final selection process to begin adoptions from Vietnam to the U.S. The two selected agencies will participate in a pilot adoption program for children with special needs.

Sixteen years ago, Hai and Valerie Nguyen traveled to Vietnam to bring home their twin 2-year-old daughters, Mai and Ly. This month, Mai and Ly will turn 18. Both girls love math and science, can solve a Rubik’s Cube in 46 seconds — blindfolded — and have big ambitions to be the first twins in space! They also speak fluent Vietnamese, an amazing feat considering they grew up in Eugene, Oregon and have only traveled to Vietnam twice.

The Nguyen family pose for a picture with the delegates from Vietnam.

Continue reading “Vietnam Delegation Visits Holt International”

Thank You for a Wonderful Day In Our Children’s Lives

A photo essay and update on last year’s sponsor-funded International Day of the Child celebrations for children in Holt’s programs overseas.

Few things in life are as momentous as the birth of a child. When a child comes into our lives, we cheer and hug and pass around cigars — our faces wet with joyful tears. And every year after, we celebrate the anniversary of the day our child entered the world with parties and gifts and candlelit birthday cakes. Birthdays are more than a silly tradition. And however we celebrate them, the fact that we DO expresses to our children just how much we love them — and how grateful we are that they were born.

Every child deserves a birthday. Every child deserves to eat cake and open presents and have a whole day devoted to celebrating them.

But some children don’t have mothers and fathers and grandparents to throw them birthday parties. Others have loving families who wish they could do more on their children’s birthdays, but can barely afford to give them what they need every other day of the year.

That’s why, several years ago, Holt started a tradition of celebrating the birthdays of children in our programs overseas on June 1, the International Day of the Child. To fund these parties, Holt sponsors go above and beyond their normal monthly donation. They provide goodie bags with signed messages wishing their sponsored child a happy birthday, and give a little extra money for the celebrations. This year, donations from sponsors are also helping to provide a new pair of shoes for every child!

Below, we share photos from last year’s International Day of the Child celebrations in countries we serve around the world.

Click here to donate to this year’s birthday celebrations!

In Thailand, local staff used sponsor funds to fill goodie bags with stationary sets, sippy cups or cartoon-covered water bottles, chocolate bars and cookies. “HSF would like to convey our heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to Holt’s child sponsors for their generous donation,” writes the staff of Holt Sahathai Foundation, our partner in Thailand. “This special donation was very meaningful to needy children in our care!”

Continue reading “Thank You for a Wonderful Day In Our Children’s Lives”

Gifts of Hope Video

What would it mean in the life of your child if you not only gave him the toys on his Christmas list, but also toys in his name for vulnerable children in China?  What if, for your sister, you helped provide clothing, cribs and bedding for children in Korea?  Or a goat for a struggling family in Ethiopia?

This holiday season, you can help a child survive.  Help a family thrive.  This Christmas, you can give the gift of hope to children and families in Holt’s care…

Through Holt International’s Gifts of Hope Catalog! 

Watch this video to learn more….

Holt’s gift catalog provides an easy and convenient way to give a gift that matters this Christmas!

You can even honor your loved one by sending a card that acknowledges the gift you gave on their behalf.

Christmas is just one week away!  So get shopping, and start changing lives now!

Forward this video to your family and friends, so that they, too, can give hope to children this Christmas!

Thank you!

A Mother’s Final Gift

In Vietnam, the financial stability of a cow can be enough to keep a family together

Kim-Ly with her husband and two children.

Motherhood creates a universal connection. Regardless of skin color or culture, economic status or professional achievement, all mothers share a profound desire to protect and provide for their young. It overpowers everything — compelling them to put to their own needs aside for the sake of their child.

Continue reading “A Mother’s Final Gift”

Holt is My Second Family

Kyle Witzigman, a Holt adoptee from Vietnam and student at the University of Notre Dame, reflects on his summer as an intern at the Holt International offices in Eugene, Oregon.

Kyle Witzigman with his parents, Todd and Cindy, outside the Holt International office in Eugene, Oregon.

Every August 3, my parents and I celebrate Family Day. In 1995, it was the day my adoptive parents signed paperwork in Hanoi, Vietnam, and I officially became a Witzigman. Since I was 18 months old when I moved to the U.S., I only remember one thing about living in Vietnam – sitting on a courtyard bench swing at the orphanage. Exciting right? Continue reading “Holt is My Second Family”

The Best Birthday Party Ever!

With help from sponsors and donors, Holt threw special parties for children around the world on June 1st, the International Day of the Child.

Every child deserves to feel special on their birthday. It should be a joyous, fun-filled day, celebrated with family and friends.

But for homeless and vulnerable children around the world, birthdays sometimes go without much notice or celebration.

Many don’t even know what a “birthday” is.

That’s why, last month, we launched a campaign to help give orphaned, abandoned and vulnerable children the best birthday ever. We asked Holt sponsors for their help by sending a special greeting and goodie bag to their sponsored child. Some sponsors also gave an additional donation above and beyond their normal monthly sponsorship to help with the parties.

This year, we also asked our many other friends and supporters to contribute to the parties – either by sending a special greeting to a child who doesn’t have a sponsor, or donating to the celebrations.

We were overwhelmed by the responses we received from thousands of wonderful, caring people! Together, we made it happen.

On Saturday, June 1st – the International Day of the Child – Holt threw spectacular parties for children in care as well as children living in the communities where we work around the world, from Haiti to China and many countries in between!

Thank you to everyone who helped make the celebrations fun and special for nearly 10,000 children. The parties went off without a hitch!

VCT, one of our legacy partners in India, writes: “Our children had a lovely time on the 3rd of June celebrating International Children’s Day. This was a special day because kids were made to understand that this was a day earmarked just for them. With beaming faces, they set out to thoroughly enjoy the day…They played games, sang songs, enjoyed the bars of chocolate, cookies, chips, etc…” This was a special treat, as fruit is usually served at snack time.

After lunch, the party commenced! Continue reading “The Best Birthday Party Ever!”

In Celebration of Foster Families

May is National Foster Care Month! In celebration, we bring you two stories — the first from the Larson family, whose a little girl overcame the challenges of early malnutrition while in the loving care of her foster family in Vietnam. In the second story, Holt adoptive mom Debbie Dunham shares how foster families serve as a “bridge of love” to children awaiting adoption in Korea. Enjoy!

A Home Full of Love For Sophie

by Linda and Steve Larson

When we were in the process of adopting our second daughter, Sophie Lan, we learned that she had been in both the orphanage and a couple different foster families.  The last one she was with, in our eyes, made such a difference in shaping Sophie’s future and who she is today.

It was February 4, 2001 – the day we were to go to the Danang Rehabilitation Center for Malnourished Orphans to see and hold our Sophie for the first time.  It was an amazing feeling to see this little girl of 21 months old for the first time.  We were able to hold her and introduce her to her new big sister, Sadie.  We also got to feed her and try to get her to drink some water.  She looked at us with those big, deep brown and curious eyes…very seriously…afraid to crack a smile…afraid of what was going to change in her life…again.  We had to leave her there that day and come back the next for the adoption ceremony at the Department of Justice.  It was so very hard to say goodbye – even if just for a day.

Sophie with her foster parents during their reunion visit in 2008.

During our time in Vietnam, we were fortunate to have our Holt representative take us to meet our daughter’s foster family.  As we approached the front door and took off our shoes, they respectfully invited us into their home with such kindness.  The look in the mother, the father and the son’s eyes told us that their home was filled with love. This was the home where our daughter Sophie learned to be a fun-loving girl with the personality of a comedian. Here, she also overcame many of the challenges and delays she developed in early life.

When Sophie came into care, she was seriously malnourished and had iron-deficiency anemia. She was smaller in size than others her age, had moderate motor skill delays, and could not sit unsupported. She could not bear her body weight on her legs. Her language skills were also delayed.

In her foster family’s care, Sophie thrived. They fed her at the same times every day with food abundant in vitamins. They assisted Sophie in learning to bear weight on her legs, and helped to develop her motor and language skills – teaching her to identify and name different objects. They also played with her and took her for walks. They interacted with her like she was their own child – taking every measure to ensure her healthy development.

Continue reading “In Celebration of Foster Families”