New Holt Family Retreat Slated for 2020

Change is coming to Holt Adoptee Camp… Are you ready?

Holt Adoptee Camp strives to offer a variety of different programs to meet the ever-changing needs of Adoptees and adoptive families. Consolidating and expanding upon current programs for adoptive families at camp is the next step in providing greater support to our community. In July of 2020, Holt Camp will be offering a new multi-day family retreat specifically designed for adoptive families with young Adoptees. This family retreat will take place in Salem, Oregon! Continue reading “New Holt Family Retreat Slated for 2020”

Their Home is Not Safe

Families living without safe shelter face all kinds of threats — especially during the rainy season in Cambodia. Ten-year-old Linna lives in the city. Eleven-year-old Thak Kan lives in a more rural area. Neither of them have a safe place to live. 

Thak Kan sits between his parents as his mom wipes tears from her eyes and his dad holds his little sister in his lap. His little brother sits on the other side of his mom. Thak Kan looks down, his brow knit tightly together. Sleepy, he rests his head on his dad’s shoulder. He is 11, but looks small for his age.

“How do you feel when it rains really hard?”

“Scared,” he says. His voice is sweet, soft and high. Continue reading “Their Home is Not Safe”

The Full Picture Of My Adoption

Last year for National Adoption Month, adoptee Mai Anh Hall reflected on adoption’s role in life — a role she hadn’t thought much about in her 21 years of life. One year later, she takes a closer look at the full picture.

Mai Anh didn't know about National Adoption Month until last year, but now she's reflecting on the full picture of her adoption.

Last year, I learned about National Adoption Month for the first time. I reflected on my adoption story, allowing myself to think about what my adoption meant to me.

When I reflected on my story, experiences and upbringing, my mind was immediately filled with gratitude. My brother and I both had positive experiences growing up together, as we were both adopted as infants. We knew adoption was a part of our family’s story from the beginning.

As a child, I rarely thought about my birth parents or culture. I didn’t feel out of place since I had other friends who were adopted, or grew up in Vietnamese families. I learned about the culture, ate the food and celebrated the Tet Festival every year. But honestly, I didn’t think too much about adoption’s role in my life.

Continue reading “The Full Picture Of My Adoption”

Why U.S. Kids Need You To Say “Yes”

Children in our U.S. foster care and adoption system are in crisis — sleeping in hotel rooms and repurposed jails for a lack of somewhere to go. They need individuals and families to stand up, and say “yes.”  

In our Seattle area office each day, we receive multiple emails from the State of Washington that briefly describe children who need a place to go. For multiple reasons, some need a placement for only a few days, other need a long-term foster family, and others need an adoptive family. These emails overwhelm me with the sheer volume of need.

One recent Friday, I opened one email to find 57 children listed. We received eight more emails that same day, just like this one. They come every day. Every. Day.

Continue reading “Why U.S. Kids Need You To Say “Yes””

A Family For Me

Denise Russell, Holt’s child advocacy coordinator in the Seattle area, works with youth in foster care every day. And each child is so special to her. But one child, Kyle, especially touched her heart and reminded her of the urgency to find families for children in the U.S.

I love meeting and interviewing the fostered children we feature on “A Family For Me.” They are never who I expect them to be. Reading their profiles helps me envision their personalities and seeing their beautiful photos gives me a glimmer of their essence. But no amount of research has completely prepared me for meeting these young people and hearing what they have to say.

Over the past eight years, our partnership with KING5 News in Seattle has allowed us to feature over 170 foster care youth who are waiting for permanent, loving families through adoption. And yet, I’m confident I can still tell you something unique about every single child I’ve ever interviewed. One way or another, they either did something unexpected, said something incredibly profound, made me laugh, wore me out, left me speechless, generated a tear, and/or taught me something new.

Continue reading “A Family For Me”

Preparing For The Unexpected — And The Expected!

How the “Child-Specific Preparation” tool helped two families anticipate their child’s needs, and ease their transition home.

Two-year-old Nam Fon with her parents.

A 2-year-old girl from Thailand, and a 13-year-old girl from China. Over a thousand miles and a 10-year age difference separated them. But in the last year, both of their lives would change forever in the very same way. Each would leave the life they had known and the country of their birth to join an adoptive family in the United States. And though their caregivers had prepared each girl as much as possible, when the day actually arrived for them to leave — reality sank in. And with it came confusion, fear and sadness. Continue reading “Preparing For The Unexpected — And The Expected!”

Finding Families for Children in Thailand With Special Needs

This month, three Holt staff members will travel throughout Thailand to assess 130 children who are eligible for adoption through the Thailand Special Needs Program. 

Thailand trip packing

Right now, I’m packing my suitcase, preparing for a 24-hour flight and an exhausting two weeks in Thailand. But I can’t wait!

Over the next three weeks, I will travel around the country to visit 12 orphanages and over 130 children who are waiting for families. Holt’s clinical social worker for our south and southeast Asia programs, Zoila Lopez, as well as Jennifer Nelson, Holt’s adoption services coordinator for Asia programs, will travel with me. And together, we will get to know these children so that we can better advocate for them once home.

Each of these children is eligible for adoption through Holt’s new Thailand Special Needs Program! 

Continue reading “Finding Families for Children in Thailand With Special Needs”