Go, Team Holt!

Ten Holt supporters need YOUR support as they run for the children in Ethiopia.  Holt adoptive mom and member of Team Holt Cathy Morin shares her story below.

I look forward to the Holt marathon every year!  This will be my fourth year as a member of Team Holt.

I learned about Holt International through some good friends who adopted two beautiful children. When I started looking into adoption, I knew that Holt was the agency for me. On April 3, 2008, about one year after starting my adoption journey, my son Jack came home and was delivered into my arms on what turned out to be the best day of my life – the day I officially became a mom. I remember so many things about that day, and every day since then with my little guy has been a joy.

As a participant on the Holt team, I am spreading the word about an amazing agency and raising donations to help the agency continue its vital work around the world.

I will be running the 10K portion of the Omaha marathon this year. My goal is to raise $400 for Holt’s Ethiopia program. Will you help me? Any donation amount is appreciated, and 100% of the donation goes directly towards maintaining and growing Holt’s Ethiopia program.

Thank you,

Cathy Morin

Help Cathy reach her goal! Click here to support Cathy and the rest of the marathon runners!…..

 

Hey, New Jerseyans!….Got any plans for September 24th?

Join Holt in Princeton, New Jersey for a night of food, friendship, fun and, most of all, helping children in Holt’s care!

Holt has a long history of commitment to children with special needs.  We strive to ensure that expenses are not a barrier between a child with special needs and a loving adoptive family.

This year’s Gala Dinner and Auction will raise money to support Holt’s Children with Special Needs Adoption program — helping to bring children with special needs home to their families.

A message from Jackie Miller, Gala Chair:

On Saturday September 25, 2010 the idea for an annual New Jersey Holt Gala Dinner became a reality. New Jersey Holt families had enjoyed an annual dinner in the past, but this time we were challenged with making a fun evening into a gala event. Despite a small but wonderful dinner committee, I wasn’t sure we could pull it off.

The evening was a mix of a silent auction, make a difference and live auctions. Parents, adult adoptees, community members as well as many of the Holt staff came together to make the New Jersey dinner a very  special event. We enjoyed the food, the camaraderie, and the knowledge that each of us was helping New Jersey families who had adopted a child with a special need.

Late into the evening, a committee member whispered into my ear that the evening’s proceeds were at $20,000. I was so overwhelmed by everyone’s support and generosity that it was difficult to announce it to the group.

Currently, we are in the process of planning the 2011 New Jersey Holt Gala Dinner for September 24, 2011. It will be held at the Princeton Westin. We are currently seeking dinner sponsors and donated auction items.

I would love to see everyone at the dinner in the fall!

For more information about the Holt Gala and Dinner Auction in New Jersey and to RSVP, Click here

Seven Summers at Holt Camp

Recently, Holt’s senior writer, Robin Munro, sat down for an interview with Josiah Bell, a Holt adoptee born in Korea and raised in Alabama.  This summer will be Josiah’s seventh season working at Holt’s adoptee camps – a six-week commitment for leadership staff, five weeks for counselors.  When not at camp, Josiah works as a freelance artist specializing in portrait work for adoptive families.  He currently lives in Birmingham, but plans to move to Brooklyn, NY at the end of the summer.  View a couple of Josiah’s adoptee portraits below.

So this will be your seventh summer working at Holt camp?

This is my sixth summer on the leadership staff. The first year, I was a counselor.

What are your responsibilities as a leadership staff member?

We prepare the camp curriculum and schedule, and manage the counselors and camp staff.

How do you prepare the curriculum every year?

We have a foundation of subject matter that we talk about, such as race and identity.  Every year, we tweak it.  We brainstorm ideas of new and fun ways to relate those ideas to campers.

What’s an example of a fun way you relate issues to campers?

We always talk about identity on the first day. That helps us ease into being able to discuss other subjects, such as race and adoption, in a group setting.

When we talk about identity with the youngest group, we ask them to name TV characters that have multiple identities.  They usually come up with super heroes and Hannah Montana.  We talk about how Hannah Montana is sometimes Miley Cyrus, but she’s also a daughter, a sister and a student.

We always close that day with having the campers write down as many of their identities as they can come up with.

What do you hope the campers will get out of that exercise?

We want them to understand that we have multiple identities and they’re always changing – and that’s a good thing.

We definitely make the point that being adopted is an identity.  That helps the campers acknowledge that about themselves, and empowers them to take on that identity with confidence.

Did you go to Holt camp growing up? Continue reading “Seven Summers at Holt Camp”

Holt Picnics in Oregon: July 16th in Corbett, August 6th in Eugene

Hey there, Holt families in the Portland area – it’s time to get together again for Holt’s annual picnic!

I hope you, your family and friends can join us Saturday, July 16th, from 11-3 at Camp Angelos in Corbett, OR. Camp Angelos is also the site of Holt’s Oregon adoptee camp, which will begin the following day. (Day Camp, for parents and children ages 5-18, will be held July 20th.)

Holt’s camp counselors will be leading children’s activities at the Portland-area picnic.  They look forward to meeting you and your children!

Please bring a picnic lunch for everyone in your party. And don’t forget comfy shoes, as you may want to hike Multnomah Falls trails before or after the picnic.

Also, don’t forget about the Eugene picnic on Saturday, August 6th, at Camp Harlow. RSVP for the Korean BBQ lunch today or anytime before July 25th.

After the picnic lunch in Eugene, Holt adoptive father Daniel Freed – a.k.a. “The Amazing Spaghetti” – will perform a magic show for the children.

The Camp Harlow pool will also be open after lunch in Eugene.

For directions to the park or to print an invitation for others, please visit us online at www.holtinternational.org/picnics.

President and CEO Kim Brown sits down for Interview with KACmedia

Kim Brown holding a child in ChinaKim Brown, Holt president and CEO, recently sat down with Kwon Cho, executive director of Korean American Christian (KAC) Media for the network’s “Faith, Power, and Influence” segment. In the interview, Brown discusses his adoption story and Holt’s humble beginnings, issues facing adult adoptees and adoptive families, and the future of Holt’s work.

“It’s a humbling position for me to be in,” says Brown. “I feel the weight of all the children who have been placed by Holt through the years, and I also feel the responsibility of the children who need homes.”

Brown also discusses Holt’s work as a child welfare organization…

“We are not just an adoption agency. We are concerned for the kids who don’t get the opportunity to find a home of their own.” We’re expanding what we’re doing, and we’re excited about being able to help more and more children around the world.

To see Kim Brown’s full interview, click the video below…..

Faith, Power & Influence #314 Kim Brown: “Rescuing Orphaned Children” from KAC Media on Vimeo

Adoptees and Adoption Advocates Become One Voice for Children in Washington D.C.

by Brian Campbell, Creative Services Director

On the first official day of discussions at the International Forum in Washington D.C., adoptees and adoption advocates —laughing and chatting — created a loud bustle in every room they entered. Some connected with each other for the first time, others reconnected with old friends.

More than just a look back into the 55-year history of international adoption, the discussions served as a tremendous resource for

adoptees and the adoption community — a wonderful opportunity to share experiences and look to the future of international adoption and how to best serve children.

When the welcome plenary began, chatting and laughing gave way to intense silence and devoted attention. Speakers shared stats

and figures that represented everyone in the room in one way or another. The attendees listened closely, taking notes and nodding as

Senator Jim McDermott speaks to International Forum attendees

topics about the importance of post adoption services and ongoing support for adopted children were discussed.

After the morning session concluded, a parade of forum attendees made their way from the hotel, down the street to the Russell Senate building and into the Kennedy Caucus room, where Senator Jim McDermott prepared to speak to the guests. An advocate for children and adoption for several decades, McDermott — between voting in the Senate —dashed across the street, eager to speak to the forum group about an issue for which he is passionate.

The Kennedy Caucus room has served as the setting for many significant events, trials and political gatherings that helped to move forward policy and legislation.  And on this important day — in a room alive with history and the voices of people moving forward with one goal in mind — over 200 adoptees and adoption advocates spoke out and became one voice for children, moving forward together to do what’s best for every child.

Adult Adoptees Kick Off the International Forum at the National Press Club

From left to right: Holt adoptees Dominic Pangborn from Korea; Kim Hanson from Korea; Glenn Morey from Korea; moderator of panel, Michelle Li from Korea. At the microphone: Tara Lihn Leaman from Vietnam; Adam Conner from Korea; Amber Stime from Ethiopia; Nu Wexler from Vietnam, and Holt President and Ceo Kim Brown from Korea.
A press conference at the National Press Club kicked off the International Forum in Washington D.C. this afternoon.

 

“We are celebrating 55 years of children and adoptive parents coming together into real families across the globe,” said Adoptees for Children member and Holt adoptee, Glenn Morey. “But the real focus of this weekend is how to move forward with 55 years of real-life perspective from those of us who are adoptees.”

Susan Soonkeum Cox, Holt vice president of policy and external affairs, and Kim Brown, Holt president and CEO, were also in attendance.

“One of the concerns that I have about the way international adoption and adoptees are presented is that adoptees never seem to grow up,” says Susan. “We are always frozen in time and always referred to as the ‘little children’ and babies….but adoption is a lifelong experience.”

To illustrate this concept, nine adoptees from various countries and backgrounds stood before members of the press, adoptive families and fellow adoptees and shared their adoption stories, experiences and personal perspectives.

“I think it’s great to be here and share our stories. I think for many people adoption is talked about in the context of being a choice. It’s the choice of birth parents to give up children and it’s a choice of adoptive parents to adopt,” explained Holt adoptee Adam Conner, “but for the children, it’s just something you inherit. It’s a reality that you are born with, just like anything else that your are born with. I think this is difficult for individuals to understand.   [Adoption] for the child is not a choice…it’s a wonderful gift.”

To watch a video of the National Press Club conference and hear more adoptee perspective, click here

 

 

 

Intercountry Adoption — Moving Forward From a 55-Year Perspective

The international forum kicks off this Thursday, April 14th, in Washington D.C.!

As we speak, participants from around the world are gathering in our nation’s capitol to celebrate 55 years of intercountry adoption.  Sponsored by Holt International and Adoptees for Children, the conference will be held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Capitol Hill, April 14-16, 2011.

Saturday’s presenters will be adoption professionals who are also adult adoptees. “This will be the first significant conference to highlight the unique personal perspective of adoption professionals who also happen to be adult adoptees.  Too often the influence and voices of those who have lived the experience are not represented,” says Susan Soonkeum Cox, vice president of policy and external affairs at Holt International.

The forum will conclude with a gala dinner and program Saturday evening, where the Honorable Marjorie Margolies will serve as host and renowned comedian Alison Larkin, author of The English American, will provide entertainment.

It’s not too late to register online! If you’ll be in the D.C. area this coming weekend, please join us for this historic event. Adoptees, adoptive families, child welfare professionals and government officials from around the world will be participating in this unprecedented gathering. Join all the festivities, Saturday‘s panels, or the gala dinner only.

Follow Holt adoptee and news anchor Michelle Li as she live blogs from the forum!

Help Repair the Ilsan Center for the Children! –Join Us at the Omaha Event on March 19th

This morning on Omaha Morning Blend, a local talk show, Celeste Snodgrass, Holt’s Midwest branch director, discussed Holt International’s upcoming gala and dinner auction. Adoptive parent Juliet Brown and her son, Gavin, joined Celeste during the interview.

“This event is going to help renovate the buildings at the Ilsan center in Korea,” said Celeste. “They have fallen into disrepair…the children need a safe place to live.”

The Omaha event will commemorate Holt International’s 55th anniversary of serving homeless children — a legacy of love that began at the Ilsan center. Since Holt’s beginning, many children with special needs at the Ilsan center have gone home to wonderful, permanent families.

Molly Holt, director of the Ilsan Center and daughter of Harry and Bertha Holt, will be the honored guest at this year’s auction in Omaha.

Click here to see a video of Celeste Snodgrass, Juliet Brown, and her son, Gavin, on Omaha Morning Blend….

Click here to RSVP to the Omaha event or contact Sandi Mehl at sandim@holtinternational.org

Holt Forum Speaker Profiled in The Washington Times

Juntunen family on holiday.

Several years ago, while volunteering at an orphanage in Haiti, Craig Juntunen’s heart was captured.  Her name was Esperancia.  “I can’t explain it at all, other than to say she instantly captured my heart.  I called and told my wife that we were about to become parents,” he told a reporter for the Washington Times. Today, Craig and his wife Kathi are parents to three children adopted from Haiti — Quinn, “Espie” and Amelec.

A father for the first time, Craig felt inspired to write a book about his experience. It’s called Both Ends Burning. Moved to advocate for safer, more efficient and more cost-effective adoption practices, he later founded a nonprofit — also called Both Ends Burning.

“We have a moral obligation to fix this immediately and allow them to come home to loving families,” he says of the children who continue to languish in orphanages.  “There is no shortage of families wanting to adopt and there is no shortage of orphans.  Adults have a responsibility create an efficient and reasonable system to allow these children to flourish.”

On April 15th, Craig Juntunen will speak at the Holt Forum in Washington D.C., a historic gathering of adoptees, families, policymakers and adoption professionals working to “move forward from a 55-year perspective.”

To learn more about this exciting event, click here.

To read the full article on Craig Juntunen in the Washington Times, click here.