Infographic

Sometimes, nothing makes a point as well as a picture…

An infographic compiled by a website for healthcare administrators and those looking for research about the medical field titled “The Kid’s Aren’t Alright” combined data from World Bank, UNICEF and International Living to subjectively rank countries on the quality of life they offer children, based on per-capita GDP, infant mortality, safety and more.

When you choose a variable in the infographic, such as the percentage of children  vaccinated against polio or enrolled in primary schools, watch the map transform into a color-coded index illustrating which regions perform the best and worst in that area. Countries colored red scored the worst, while countries colored seafoam green excel. There are six color-ratings possible, following a rainbow spectrum.

Naturally, at Holt, we zoomed in on the countries where we work. We noticed some immediate trends — many of which directly relate to the work we do overseas combating child abandonment, poverty and family instability.

Below, we break down how the infographic rates in countries where we work, and what we are doing to battle some of the issues most prevalent in the region.

Check out the infographic here.


Produced By Healthcare Administration Continue reading “Infographic”

This is Your Last Chance to Give a Special Birthday Gift to Vulnerable Children

This is your LAST CHANCE to send a birthday gift to a child in Holt’s care!

One of the best ways to show your love for vulnerable children is to wish them a happy birthday.  Last month, we sent a letter informing you of our plans to throw one big birthday party for all the children we’re helping worldwide on June 1 — the International Day of the Child.

Join us as we celebrate the precious children in our care, and give today!

Your online Birthday Gift today of $25 or more will help provide special party treats, such as: a delicious birthday meal, festive party decorations, exciting games and activities, Bible stories and songs, birthday goodies and even essentials like clothing and shoes!

Even though you and I can’t reach out in person to every child on their individual birthdays, we can celebrate every child in our care on this one special day!

Please help us make children in our care feel extra special on June 1. Give a Birthday gift today!

Thank you!

A Nourishing Start

After a successful pilot project, Holt and SPOON Foundation secure a four-year grant to implement a nutrition and feeding program for orphaned and abandoned children in five more countries — starting this year in China and Vietnam.

It’s lunchtime at an orphanage in southern Vietnam. Children eat their meals in separate rooms— grouped together by age and degree of special need — and caregivers help feed the youngest and most disabled children. In one room, a caregiver is feeding a boy on a stretcher. He is about 8 years old and has severe spastic cerebral palsy. Many of the other children in this room have cognitive or behavioral delays, and you can hear them screaming or clapping in the background. Some are waiting their turn to be fed. One sits on the floor, feeding herself.

The caregiver is a young woman who wears her hair in a neat bun and little pearls in her ears. She smiles as she spoons congee into the mouth of the boy with CP, who is laying flat on his back with a towel spread across his chest and his arms up around his head. Congee is a watery rice soup common in Vietnam and other parts of East and SE Asia, but it’s especially difficult for a child with CP to swallow. The boy keeps shaking and coughing — sometimes gagging — after each spoonful. Unsure what to do, the caregiver continues feeding him — rubbing his chest as he coughs. Thinking he might have an easier time if flatter on his back, she lowers the stretcher. This only makes it harder for him to swallow, and he shakes as he tries not to choke on his food.

Two years ago, Holt teamed up with SPOON Foundation, a Portland, Oregon nonprofit and truly the first organization worldwide to take a special focus on improving nutrition and feeding for orphaned, fostered and adopted children. After identifying two pilot sites among Holt’s partner organizations overseas, SPOON implemented a nutrition screening system and trained caregivers and staff to properly track the growth and nutrition of children in care. Looking at the diet and feeding practices at each care center, SPOON also suggested small changes that could dramatically reduce malnutrition and improve the overall health and wellbeing of the children.

After implementing the nutrition program in India, anemia prevalence dropped dramatically among children in care.

In India, these changes included introducing cow milk to infants at 6 months instead of 3-4 months; delaying the introduction of cereal to infants to when they are 4-6 months instead of 2-3 months; providing iron supplements with Vitamin C to increase absorption and adjusting the dosage depending on whether the child is anemic; and giving iron at mealtimes but not with milk, which lowers absorption. Although some nutritional measurements such as stunting and head size will take longer to show impact, one outcome was immediate. Just six months after SPOON implemented these changes, anemia prevalence among the children dropped from 45 percent… to nine. At one site, anemia was completely eliminated.

“Anemia is the big issue children face in orphanage care,” says Dan Lauer, Holt’s VP of Africa programs. Dan helped forge Holt’s partnership with SPOON. “If 75 percent of children are anemic, we have a real issue.”

Most commonly caused by a deficiency of iron, anemia can have very severe consequences for a growing child. As Zeina Makhoul, SPOON’s nutrition scientist, explains, “Iron is a very important mineral for brain development. For a child between 0 and 5-years-old — especially between 0 and 2 — this is when their brain is developing at an accelerated rate.  So having a deficiency in iron at that time is really going to impact their brain development.” Long-term studies of anemic children have shown that they have lower IQs and perform more poorly in school. Iron is also very important in disease prevention and immunity. As Zeina explains, “Those who are iron-deficient tend to get sick more easily and for longer periods of time and then those who are sick have poor appetite, and poor appetite means not enough nutrients. Not enough nutrients mean iron- and other deficiencies. It’s an ongoing cycle.” Continue reading “A Nourishing Start”

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”