Holt Camp at Home

As COVID-19 canceled in-person gatherings this summer, Holt Adoptee Camp moved online — offering a virtual camp experience for over 400 youth adoptees, including many adoptees who had never attended Holt camp before.

During Holt Camp at Home, camp staff had two hours a day with each group of about 50 campers.

Holt Camp at Home just completed our first ever camp season online and the experience has been wild! As the effects of COVID-19 spread across the country, closing down schools and many youth summer programs, Holt Adoptee Camp was no exception to the growing risk of meeting together and the decision had to be made to cancel our in-person camp season. Continue reading “Holt Camp at Home”

Post-Adoption Programs for Adoptees & Families

Holt International offers a variety of post-adoption programs for adoptees and families, including weeklong adoptee camps and a coaching and education program to help families navigate challenges. Below, adult adoptee Bre Linder shares her reflections on Holt Adoptee Camp while the Choate family shares about Holt’s Post-Adoption Coaching & Education program.  

Holt International offers a variety of post-adoption programs and services — providing lifetime support for adoptees and families. 

As a new adoptive family, you will likely experience both joys and challenges once your child comes home. And as your child grows up, he or she will probably have some questions — questions surrounding their adoption, race, identity as an adoptee or their birth family. You both may encounter issues that you’re not sure how to handle. But don’t worry, you won’t be alone.

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Journey of Hope 2020: TBRI Adoptive Family Camp

This summer, Holt International in Oregon will host its second annual TBRI camp for adoptees and their parents!

This two-day family camp is designed around the Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI)® parenting curriculum for domestic and international adoptees and their families. Even years after their adoption, some children may struggle with behavior regulation, attachment and social skills. With specialized assistance from TBRI practitioners, this camp will equip families with tools and strategies they can use to help their child learn self-regulation skills and deepen family attachment. Other activities include fun sensory games, art, nurture and movement groups and maybe even a visit with a furry friend!

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Country Singer Amy Corey Goes Back to Holt Adoptee Camp

Holt adoptee Amy Corey is fast becoming a country music star. Signed with Grammy-nominated producer Kent Wells — as well as the publicity firm Derailed Development — she now lives in Nashville where she works as a recording artist and songwriter. But long before Nashville, Amy was a Vietnamese Adoptee growing up in a small town in Oregon. And every summer from age 9 to age 17, she attended Holt Adoptee Camp — an experience she describes as the highlight of her every summer.

I was born on May 28, 1997 and was adopted six months later from Da Nang, Vietnam. My older sister, who is two years older than me, was adopted from China. I was brought to America and lived in Cleveland, Ohio until 2000. Our family then moved to Ashland, Oregon, where I grew up and lived until I was 18. Three months after graduating high school, I moved to Nashville, Tennessee to pursue my music career. I’m still living in Nashville where I am now a recording artist and songwriter.

My parents told me at a very young age that I was adopted. They began telling me when I was 3; they never hid it from me or my sister. They helped me understand it all throughout the years. Being 6 months old when I was adopted, I don’t remember much and I obviously didn’t fully understand everything until much later. Continue reading “Country Singer Amy Corey Goes Back to Holt Adoptee Camp”

Holt at 60: The Growth of Post-Adoption Services

Yesterday on the Holt blog, Holt President and CEO Phil Littleton explored Holt’s gradual shift over the years from serving children primarily through adoption to serving tens of thousands more children every year through family strengthening and preservation programs. Today, Phil shares how Holt’s pre- and post-adoption services for adoptees, birth parents and adoptive families have grown and evolved — becoming one of the cornerstones of our organization. Read part one of this blog series here, and part three here

This year, as Holt celebrates 60 years of serving children and families, we look back on all that we have learned and all the ways that we have grown and changed as an organization.

When international adoption began in earnest in the mid-1950s, it was entirely new territory. From the child welfare professionals who placed the first children, to the first families to adopt children from overseas, to the first generation of international adoptees, there truly was no real precedent for this model of building — and blending — family.

Needless to say, the concept — and need — for post-adoption services was not known in 1956. But as the first generation of Korean adoptees began to come of age, they naturally began to ask questions and to show an interest in exploring their past. In the years since, our post-adoption services have grown into one of the cornerstones of our organization — and our robust offerings continue to set us apart today.

Adoptees Enjoying Their Time At Holt's Adoptee Camp.
Today, Holt Adoptee Camp has grown into a robust program serving between 350-400 youth adoptees every summer at four locations across the country.

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Why Holt Camp is Special

Steve Kalb, Holt’s director of adoptee services, shares what drew him to lead Holt’s camp program — and what’s sustained his enthusiasm over the past 11 years. 

During my freshman year at the University of Iowa in 1995, a friend of mine suggested we become camp counselors at one of the local United Methodist youth camps. “We just take care of kids, lead some activities, and get to live by the lake all summer. It’ll be awesome!” my friend told me. How could I lose? Little did I know, I was about to embark on a summer that would change my life forever. Never having attended camps before, the environment was like nothing I’d ever known. It was a place where time slows down and blurs past you all at once. You’re completely uncomfortable living out of a suitcase and sleeping bag but it all fades into the background as the community and relationships make you feel at home. It’s a place where campers and staff reinvent themselves because they’re unbound from the role they’re expected to play back home. The high school offensive lineman can be the lead singer for his cabin’s doo-wap skit. The introverted Pokémon player confidently directs her team at the challenge course. The unassuming piano player wins the tie-breaking game by capturing the flag. It’s a flexible and forgiving space where awkwardness and vulnerability rise to the surface for everyone to celebrate.

Camp Staff 2015
Steve Kalb (front row, far right) with the 2015 camp counselor staff.

Despite the openness camp fosters, as an Asian Adoptee camp counselor and subsequent camp director in Iowa, I felt little space to be anyone but the farm boy from Oelwein. I wasn’t able to take advantage of camp’s biggest benefit, optimal conditions for self-exploration, because I was always reassuring campers, parents and co-workers that I was as Midwest as they were. I wore seed corn-branded clothing, spoke with a Midwest drawl, and thoroughly enjoyed Jell-o cake and breaded pork tenderloins (some of the Midwest’s finest cuisine). This mindset left me with less room to explore different ways of being or trying different types of roles, for fear that people around me would forget that I was “just like them.”

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