As she prepares to move to Indonesia for an exciting new job, Holt Adoptee Programs Lead and adult adoptee Caitlin Howe shares some thoughts on her time at Holt.
I remember my first interview at Holt. I actually remember all three of my interviews at Holt, each for a different position in a different department. After I completed my master’s degree in intercultural youth and family development, I knew that Holt was one of the few places in town where I could see myself working because of the international focus. After the first two attempts I knew that I had one more shot left in me before moving on in my job search. Continue reading “Parting Words For a Place That Will Never Part From Me”
This International Women’s Day, March 8, is a day to celebrate women and girls everywhere — to empower them to rise above gender-based discrimination, lift themselves from poverty and pursue their dreams.
Empowering women and girls is work that Holt donors support every day.
Here are just some of the amazing women and girls whose lives you are changing!
When Diana got pregnant at 17, she thought her dreams — and her dreams for her children — were over. She hoped to finish her high school studies, but with limited resources and no outside help or support, all her time and energy went toward caring for her newborn daughter. And within a couple of years, she was pregnant again.
Then she discovered Holt’s partner program in Colombia, offering services like free, sponsor-supported daycare where children receive critical early education and a safe place to go while their parents work or finish school during the day. With this extra help, Diana learned that she could study to graduate from high school.
Although continuing her education is a personal dream, since having children, it has also become bigger than that — it’s also about giving her children the best future possible.
“I would love to give them everything, that’s why I want to study, prepare myself,” Diana says. “So, they will have a better quality of life. I would give them the world. I want them to study, to have a career...to be somebody in life.” By becoming educated herself, she is giving her kids her “best example.”
“Why do they want to let the children to study?” says Payal, her dark brown eyes perplexed.
“Especially girls…?” Mayvis adds hesitantly. Payal, Sanjana, Manixa and Mayvis sit in their classroom in Bengaluru, India. As young teenage girls living in a society in which they’d traditionally already be married at this point, they are grateful to be here.
Young girls in India, and around the world, are often married early when their family lives in poverty — when they can’t afford another mouth to feed. Her childhood ripped away from her, she drops out of school. She is now susceptible to continued poverty and nearly every form of abuse.
“That is called a bal vivah,” Sanjana says, the Hindi word for child marriage. “We should not do this.”
But the most powerful tool to keep this from happening is exactly what these girls are receiving right now — an education.
Payal, Sanjana, Manixa and Mayvis are just four of the over 1,000 girls Holt donors help go to school in Bengaluru, India. Through the gift of a one-year scholarship for girls who are most at risk of dropping out, the cost of their school fees, uniforms, school supplies and more are completely covered.
All multitalented, Payal, Sanjana, Manixa and Mehrunisa are taking full advantage of these opportunities. When they grow up, they want to be an actor, a fashion designer and actress, a dancer, and a singer, respectively. Their dream jobs — as 11-to-13-year-olds — are a bit fanciful perhaps, but exciting. And with an education, they have the foundation they need to work toward whatever profession they want someday. They say they want to get good jobs, ones that will allow them to support their families. That is, if they choose to get married — many years from now.
As quickly as it started, this serious conversation ends and lends way to an active game of tag. Within seconds, Payal, Sanjana, Manixa and Mayvis are running and laughing, playing tag in the courtyard of their school. Shrieks, squeals and schoolgirl braids fly through the air as the girls run and play. And this is exactly as it should be.
A 20-year-old single mom, Stephanie did everything she could to provide for her two young boys. She worked as a street vendor — selling bananas, eggs and bread — but it was never enough. Her sons weren’t even getting enough to eat, and were severely malnourished.
As a woman, it’s not surprising that Stephanie struggled to find work that payed enough to provide for her family. In Haiti, as in many places, skilled trades earn significantly more —but these are considered “men’s jobs.” But when Stephanie had the opportunity to learn a trade, she chose a “man’s job” — and became a plumber!
Stephanie received the Gift of Hope of job skills training from generous Holt donors and enrolled in Holt’s single mother empowerment program. In this program, each single mother enrolls in a training program of her choice, and is equipped with the skills she needs to earn a stable income and provide for her children. Stephanie receives a small monthly stipend to cover her expenses as well as a monthly package of food and nutritional supplements for their children, which is sustaining her family and healing of them of malnutrition until Stephanie can provide this food herself.
Stephanie is one of just four girls in her plumbing class of about 20 — all four of them a part of Holt’s single mother’s program. And she is absolutely succeeding.
“I thank you a lot for what you have done in my life, and I would like you to be able to continue the program to help other women in my condition to whom you have given a second chance at life,” Stephanie says. “So many women do not have that opportunity in Haiti, and for me to be here, I feel very happy, very proud — and thankful — for what’s happening in my life.”
Meet Sophia. Sophia lives with her grandmother and four of her cousins in Biika Iwamigo village, a small farming community recovering from both the spread of HIV and years of brutal conflict in central Uganda. And like many girls in her community, Sophia may have never gone to school...
Around the world, more than 31 million girls do not attend school. Girls are far more likely than boys to drop out of school at a younger age. And when struggling to make ends meet, many families opt to keep boys in school and pull girls out to help earn income for the family. But when girls receive an education, they’re equipped with the tools to pursue their dreams, earn a stable income and rise above poverty — even ending the cycle of poverty in their families. And that’s exactly what’s happening for Sophia.
With so many children in her household, Sophia’s grandmother didn’t have the resources to send them all to school. But that all changed when a generous Holt donor gave the Gift of Hope of a school scholarship. Now, Sophia attends school each day. The scholarship covers her school fees, uniform, textbooks, supplies and daily lunch. Sophia wants to be a nurse someday, and now she has the tools to make it happen!
“We call ourselves the brave women because everyone has to be brave and speak up.” At a meeting of the Brave Women, this explanation of the name draws nervous laughter — as if the idea of brave women is a laughable concept. But in Cambodia, the act of gathering together as a group of women is nothing short of brave. Each month, 30 women meet in this Holt-initiated support group to discuss common hardships. They talk about parenting their children and raising animals, and share advice and wisdom about their newly developed job skills. One of these women is Saywen.
After receiving job training and encouragement through the Brave Women, Saywen, a 29-year-old mother of two children, expanded her small grocery stall. Now she stays home with her children while her husband travels for construction jobs.
“I always dreamed of owning a shop like this,” Saywen says. “I never went to school. I can’t read or write.” But now, because of the financial and job skills training she’s received from generous Holt donors, Saywen’s dreams are becoming a reality. Once she pays off her first $100 loan, she wants to borrow again and add an electricity source and small refrigerator to her shop so she can keep produce fresh longer and sell cold items. Today, Saywen can confidently care for herself and her children on a reliable income. And her biggest goal? To keep all of her children in school, so they can have the same opportunities in life that she has now.
Read about the top five misconceptions we hear about adopting a child internationally, and get the facts you need to begin your adoption journey empowered and informed!
Myth: Infants need families through international adoption.
Fact: Due to shifts in culture and greater efforts on the part of country governments and advocacy organizations, more children are now able to join domestic adoptive families — giving them the opportunity to grow up in the country and culture of their birth. In many countries, the central adoption authority designates the first 6+ months of a relinquished or abandoned child’s life to looking for a family domestically. Only then will they even consider international adoption for a child. We typically do not see internationally adopted children joining families before the age of 3 years old. Holt is primarily seeking families who are open to children ages 4 years and older at the time of arrival with their family in the U.S. Continue reading “Top 5 Myths (and Facts) About International Adoption Today”
Chamie, Charlie and Mandie are siblings who are currently living in different care centers, waiting to unite together with an adoptive family! A Families Not Finances grant is available to help find these children an adoptive family.
At Holt, we believe money should never stand between a child and a loving family. That’s why we launched the Families Not Finances campaign — to help cover the cost of adoption for families who have the desire and capacity to care for a waiting child with special needs, but may lack the financial means to cover all the fees and expenses required to adopt. Continue reading “FAQs About Holt’s Families Not Finances Campaign”
Announcing Holt’s new adoption fundraising and family recruitment campaign to help waiting children with special needs join the loving, permanent families they deserve!
In an ideal world, money would never stand between a child and a loving family.
But far too often, that’s what it comes down to for families who would love to adopt but can’t.
As prospective parents, you may meet every eligibility requirement. You may have a stable home environment and the resources to meet a child’s physical and emotional needs. You understand the complexity of international adoption — or you’re willing to learn. You might be the ideal family — or single mom or dad — for a child with a particular medical or developmental need. You are flexible, adaptable, nurturing, patient and willing to go above and beyond to advocate for a child and ensure they have everything they need to thrive. Most of all, you have ample love to offer a child waiting for a family.
But the one thing you don’t have is $30,000+ to cover all the fees and expenses required — and necessary — to ensure an ethical adoption process. Meanwhile, the child you would adopt if only you had the money continues to wait in an orphanage or foster home. Continue reading “For Families, Not Finances”
With tax season upon us, take a minute to learn about the Adoption Tax Credit and how this benefit can make adoption more affordable.
A form of federal financial assistance, the Adoption Tax Credit lowers your overall tax liability — up to $14,300 per adopted child in 2020! Although currently nonrefundable, any credit in excess of your tax liability may be carried forward for up to five years. In other words, if you don’t have $14,300 in tax liability one year, you can apply the remaining credit to your future taxes.
The credit covers qualified adoption expenses, which include:
Reasonable and necessary adoption fees
Court costs and attorney fees
Travel expenses (including amounts spent for meals and lodging while away from home)
Other expenses that are directly related to and for the principal purpose of the legal adoption of an eligible child
Ways you can help a child of a different race and ethnicity who joined your family through transracial adoption or foster care feel more secure and safe in your home.
Foster care and adoption bring uncertainty to a child’s life. These children face a continuum of unanswered questions, searching for where they came from, who they are and who they will become. When looking at a child in the system from a bird’s eye view, most of their identity has been taken away from them, and everything they ever knew has vanished.
An interview with Sue Liu, country director of Holt China, about how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting children and families in China — and how sponsors and donors are meeting their most urgent needs.
How is the pandemic affecting children and families in Holt’s China programs right now?