This December, a team of Holt adoptive families, sponsors and supporters from all around the United States traveled on our annual Korea Gift Team to deliver special Christmas gifts to children in our partner’s care in South Korea. Holt Development Associate and Korean adoptee Courtney Young traveled on this year’s team, and below she shares about her experience and why it was so meaningful.
If Christmas spirit is contagious, then I must catch it every year the day after Thanksgiving. It is my favorite holiday! I love the twinkling lights, the trees, the hope for snow and baking up a storm to give holiday treats to all of my friends and family. I’m like a real-life Buddy the Elf.
During the trip, we traveled south of Seoul to visit the Jeonju Babies Home and then to Daejeon to visit the Holt Morning Garden Mother and Child Shelter. While the whole trip was indescribably life changing, there were a couple of days that were particularly special. The first of these days was at the Jeonju Babies Home.
Returning from the 2015 Holt Ambassador trip to China, Liz Larson reflects on the activities she and her team led there to educate HIV+ children about adoption before traveling home to advocate for them.
Last week I had the privilege of traveling to Nanning, China with the Holt Ambassador team where we focused on advocating for HIV+ children who wait for families. We spent the week getting to know 10 children affected by HIV, learning more about the stigma that HIV carries in China, and considering how to advocate for the kids to find families once we returned to the U.S.
Each member of our team came up with an idea for an activity to do with the kids in order to help get to know them in spite of our language differences. We played soccer and badminton, did puzzles, drew pictures, made friendship bracelets, looked at cool stuff with magnifying glasses and took walks. It was beautiful to watch the kids come out of their shells and show off their personalities. As the kids opened up, we took time after lunch one day to educate them about what adoption means.
Holt adoptee Ling O’Donoghue shares about her experience on the 2015 Holt China Tour.
Looking back on the Holt China tour, I feel that it went beyond all my expectations. I’ve been looking forward to this trip ever since I was little. It was a dream come true, allowing me to experience my culture, visit my orphanage, and absorb and share my feelings about adoption.
The excitement of preparing for the trip was half the fun. I spent the fall researching the reasons and policies behind adoption, and shared personal stories with other international adoptees. I also created a mosaic artwork for a school project, which represented my feeling about being “Rooted in Two Worlds.” I wanted to be prepared for any new emotions that would arise on this trip. So I met with a therapist who helped me process my feelings about adoption. It was fun getting ready for the trip, especially thinking about and deciding on the gifts for the people we would meet and for the children at the orphanage where I lived until my mom adopted me in 1999. I prepared physically, emotionally and spiritually as best I could. In China, I learned the preparation was worthwhile. I felt engaged, I was eager to learn the history of the places we visited, I asked questions of the Holt staff, and I was open to sharing my feelings. It’s not about how many presents you brought or the great experiences you can brag about to your friends. It was an incredible feeling to discover my birth country. Continue reading “A Return Home; A Known and Unknown Journey”
Ten-year-old Holt adoptee Annabel Horvath reunites with her foster mom and visits her finding site on the 2015 Holt China Family Tour. This post originally appeared on the blog Bringing Home Annabel.
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
As our travel group prepared to depart for our respective provinces, the larger group of adopted girls all became a bit pensive and introspective. It was clear they were all preparing themselves for the days to come. We all parted ways and our family left for the town of Yuanling in the Hunan Province to see Annabel’s orphanage and meet her foster mother.
Holt needs volunteers to sign up for this year’s gift team trip to Korea! Every December, volunteers on Holt’s gift team trip deliver gifts and host celebrations for the children, foster mothers and caregivers at our care centers in Korea — a tradition that the children and residents look forward to every year!
All year long, in preparation for this special week, the children make gifts and practice songs and skits to perform for gift team travelers.
Members of the gift team also get a chance to tour the Ilsan center, Jeonju Babies’ Home and other Holt-supported programs in Korea.
Experience the culture, taste the cuisine, and marvel at the extraordinary beauty of Korea. But most of all, help create a magical, joyous Christmas for children and residents in Holt’s care!
Holt was the first agency to pioneer the concept of heritage tours for international adoptees in the 1970s. With adult adoptees in leadership positions and working on our staff and Board of Directors, and thanks to many years of experience working with children in orphanages all over China, Holt is uniquely qualified to offer a special homeland experience for you and your family…
50+ years of unparalleled history and expertise on adoption
Strong ties with the Chinese Government and Social Welfare Institutes throughout China
Direct involvement of professionally trained adult adoptees on our tours
Highly capable resident staff in China to assist with foster family and finding site search
Holt’s upcoming tour in 2015 will last two weeks. The main tour will run from June 28 to July 13, 2015. Individual family itineraries will vary depending on preferences and add-on tours. You will visit places of educational and cultural interest including well known and beautiful tourist sites like the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Temple of Heaven and the mountains and rivers of Guilin; private local homes; and public places like schools if their schedules allow. You will also participate in activities and visits significant to the story of your child’s adoption from China, which is absolutely central to Holt’s heritage tour philosophy. We try to arrange itineraries to give participants an overview of the variety of urban and rural life around China. Continue reading “There’s Still Time!”