Thank You Holt Volunteers!

2017 Thank You Video-Volunteers from Holt International on Vimeo.

Thank you to our amazing creative team of volunteers, advocates and supporters!

You are amazing.  Seriously. We can’t thank you enough.

At Winter Jam this year, nearly 6,000 concertgoers felt moved to sponsor a child through Holt — a feat that simply would not have been possible without your heart, your energy and your dedication as a Holt volunteer. Continue reading “Thank You Holt Volunteers!”

Korea program needs families + more adoption news!

KoreaHeader2Holt’s Korea program continues to be one of our most stable and predictable adoption programs. While they wait for adoptive families, most children in Korea live with foster families, which provide the attentive, nurturing care they need to reach developmental milestones. Families in process to adopt also receive excellent medical information and frequent updates about their child. Most of the children who need families in Korea are younger with minor special needs. There are more boys than girls, and a family will need to be open to either gender. Could a child be waiting for you in Korea?

Learn more about our Korea program!

Continue reading “Korea program needs families + more adoption news!”

Why One Adoptive Mom Volunteers at Winter Jam

Holt adoptive mom Angie Lewis shares why she and her family volunteer every year to help sign up new child sponsors at Winter Jam and other Holt events.

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Nicole volunteering at a sponsorship table during Winter Jam!

In January 2012, my husband and our three oldest children attended Winter Jam in Atlanta. They all came home that night so excited about the concert. My husband handed me a picture of a child whose packet he picked up that night to sponsor. And he said to me that the difference with these children is that while some of them live with their birth families, some of them are waiting to be adopted. My heart melted at that moment because God had been moving me towards adoption. The next morning, I started researching Holt International, and within a few weeks, God also moved on my husband’s heart. By March, we started the adoption process for our daughter Nicole.

After our daughter came home, we began serving as Holt volunteers at Winter Jam and during Christian artist group NewSong’s Very Merry Christmas tour. These events have always been a great way for our family to enjoy great music while advocating for orphaned and vulnerable children by helping to sign up new child sponsors. We enjoy the chance to try to make a difference for kids and families. Continue reading “Why One Adoptive Mom Volunteers at Winter Jam”

Why Is It Important to Have a Special Needs Heritage Tour?

In October of this year, Jordan Love traveled to Korea as part of the Happy Together tour for adoptees with special needs. This was his second time traveling on the Happy Together tour. And this time, he brought back with him some fresh insight about the experience, including a deeper understanding of why it’s so important to have a birth country tour just for adoptees with special needs. 

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Jordan with Dr. Cho, the long-time resident doctor at the Ilsan Center in Korea.

At the end of October this year, I had the great opportunity to travel to Korea on the Happy Together tour. This tour is designed specifically for Korean adoptees who have a special need — giving them the opportunity to experience the Korean culture in a variety of activities and also have opportunities to explore their adoption. I first traveled on this tour back in 2011, which was also the first time I returned to Korea since I was adopted at 4 and a half years old. Looking back on my trip in 2011, the whole week seemed like a whirlwind of new experience and discovery. This trip, I felt a lot more comfort and was able to be more relaxed as I knew what to expect.

Upon reflection, I think there are two main things I brought back with me from the Happy Together tour to Korea. Continue reading “Why Is It Important to Have a Special Needs Heritage Tour?”

Mary Paul Retires After Career In Service to Children

After 19 years, Holt says goodbye to the executive director of Vathsalya Charitable Trust, Holt’s long-time partner in Bangalore, India.

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Mary Paul (right) with U.S. Ambassador Susan Jacobs (center) and the executive director of BSSK in India.

“If you educate a girl, you educate a generation.”

The world is a better place because of Mary Paul. And it will continue to become better because of her for years into the future. Mary Paul has spent her career in service of others — pouring herself into the children she cared and advocated for, the women she led, the students she taught, the visitors she welcomed with open arms. Continue reading “Mary Paul Retires After Career In Service to Children”

The Story Behind the Photo: 86 and Counting

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

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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…”

Adoptees Travel to Korea on Happy Together Tour

On October 19th, four adoptees will travel to Korea on the Happy Together Tour,  a trip designed to give Korean adoptees with special needs the opportunity to return to their country of birth.  While there, the adoptees will tour Holt-supported programs, take part in popular sightseeing activities, and some may be able to reconnect with caregivers.  “The trip was amazing! A true blessing to experience going with a group of other adoptees,” Holt adoptee Misty Rasmussen says of her trip in 2014.  “To share what each of us adoptees have in common was amazing. It was also a little emotional for me. I didn’t get to meet my birth family like I was hoping, but I still loved i14628267_10153966024447688_831016696_nt and think it’s very beneficial for other adoptees!”

In 2011, adult adoptee and Holt employee Jordan Love also went on the Happy Together Tour, and will be traveling on the tour again next week. Continue reading “Adoptees Travel to Korea on Happy Together Tour”

IKAA Korean Adoptee Conference in Seoul

This past August, Holt’s director of adoptee services, Steve Kalb, attended a gathering in Seoul, Korea with over 700 other Korean adoptees. Together, they made meaningful connections and looked toward the future.

They came from Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, France and the United States to celebrate and learn about the one thing they all had in common — that they were all Korean adoptees.

The International Korean Adoptee Associations (IKAA) is an organization that connects Korean adoptees with each other to form community, learn about their roots and make a stand together on adoption-related issues. Each of these countries has their own IKAA group, but every three years, Korean adoptees from all IKAA groups gather together in Seoul, South Korea. Last month was the three-year mark for this gathering, bringing over 700 Korean adoptees to the country of their birth.
Continue reading “IKAA Korean Adoptee Conference in Seoul”