They Are Safe, Because of You

A few months ago, we shared with you the story of Thak Kan and his family in Cambodia.

Eleven-year-old Thak Kan and his family had trouble sleeping every time it rained where they live in rural Cambodia. The roof would leak. The house would flood in heavy rain. But what worried them the most were the poisonous snakes and scorpions that crawled through the holes in the walls of their house seeking dry shelter. Thak slept on the ground with his parents and three younger siblings. And he was scared of snake bites.

Thak Kan and his family stand in front of their old house, which had holes in the walls and floor that let in snakes and scorpions.
Thak Kan and his family stand in front of their old house, which had holes in the walls and floor that let in snakes and scorpions.

Thak Kan’s family was one of the poorest families in their village in rural Cambodia. They could hardly afford food, much less the materials to build a safer house. But when, on Giving Tuesday, we asked you to help build new safe homes for families living in dangerous conditions, you responded with overwhelming kindness and generosity.

You helped provide home repairs and new houses for some of the most vulnerable families living in some of the worst conditions — including for Thak Kan and his family!

Continue reading “They Are Safe, Because of You”

The Least We Could Do

When the Poliakoff family travels on Holt’s heritage tour to Vietnam, they meet a family whose quiet heroism in the face of poverty inspires them to help build a safe new home for the family and their children.

The second morning of our Holt Vietnam heritage tour, we set out at 9 a.m. from downtown Hanoi in our tour buses to visit families receiving services through Holt’s family strengthening program. I’m not sure that any of us knew what to expect. What we encountered that steamy July morning changed my understanding of Holt’s role, of families living in poverty, and of ways that our American families could make a real and sustaining difference. Continue reading “The Least We Could Do”

I Won’t Give Up On Her

In the summer of 2016, Holt sponsor and then Holt employee Billie Loewen met a very sad, hungry girl in a remote village in Cambodia. She immediately signed up to sponsor her. Four years later, she receives an update that makes her heart soar.

In the first week of every month, I pull open the Excel spreadsheet with four years of monthly budgets. I open the Chase app and Wells Fargo and drift quickly over the charges, looking for anything amiss. The single line with a shortened title, “HOLT INTL CHILD,” and associated charge — $38 — always catches my eye.

Most months, paying bills is the only time I think about what it costs to sponsor the beautiful, shy, heartbreakingly sad little girl I met in a village in Cambodia on a scorching hot, dusty day in 2016.

Tiny, impossibly thin with straggly hair turning yellow from lack of nutrition, and a broad face with deep, serious eyes, 10-year-old Phal captured my entire heart the moment I saw her.

It’s been four years since I met her, and I think about her a lot.

Photos of Phal over four years of sponsorship reports. Her first photo is in the bottom right corner. Her most recent photo is top left.
Photos of Phal over four years of sponsorship reports. Her first photo is in the bottom right corner. Her most recent photo is top left.

Continue reading “I Won’t Give Up On Her”

10 Ways Holt Donors Changed Kids’ Lives in 2019

You did some truly amazing things in the lives of children and families this past year.

As Holt sponsors, donors, volunteers and advocates, you gave your time, money and energy to make sure as many children as possible could grow up with the love, stability and opportunity they deserve. And because of you — because of your kindness and generosity — 283,212 children and families in 14 countries around the world received the life-changing care and services they needed in 2019!

Seriously, you’re amazing. And we’re so incredibly thankful for you.

Just to give you a glimpse, here are 10 specific ways that your heartfelt giving changed the lives of children and families in Holt programs last year:

You helped kids. LOTs of kids!

Continue reading “10 Ways Holt Donors Changed Kids’ Lives in 2019”

Empowering Women: The Key to Strengthening Families

Holt-Sunny Ridge’s “Empowering Women, Strengthening Families” program has changed the lives of moms who previously thought placing their children for adoption was the only solution to their desperate situation. Program director Nancy Crouch talks about the program in this article.

For many women, impending motherhood is a momentous event, often filled with laughter, joy, baby showers, nursery decorating, and bright hopes for the future.

But for women going through tough times who don’t have family or friends to support them, being a mother can be incredibly overwhelming — just to get through each day. They don’t think they can take care of themselves, much less their children. And sometimes, to give both their child and themselves the best chance to survive and thrive, they make the decision to place one or more of their children for adoption — even if they don’t really want to. Continue reading “Empowering Women: The Key to Strengthening Families”

A Dispatch From The 2019 Korea Gift Team

While traveling on this year’s Korea Gift Team trip with Holt, adoptive mom and donor Seri Boettcher kept a travelogue to tell her friends and family about the programs she visited and the children, families and individuals she met. 

Holt staff member Amanda Baca holds a child in care during the 2019 Korea Gift Team trip.
Holt staff member Amanda Baca holds a child in care during the 2019 Korea Gift Team trip.

Holt Morning Garden Shelter

We travelled back to Seoul yesterday afternoon after a VERY moving morning in Daejeon (where we spent the night) at the Holt-sponsored Achimddeul Mother and Child Shelter. It seems with every Holt trip I’ve taken, there is one day that just hits me emotionally and I truly did not anticipate it would be this day on this trip. Continue reading “A Dispatch From The 2019 Korea Gift Team”

A New Hope, A New Cow

After Dat’s father caught malaria and died three years ago, his mom was forced to sell their only cow to pay off their debts. In this story, the family’s local caseworker in Vietnam shares what happened when a generous donor replaced the family’s cow — and the family’s hope. 

Dat builds a sand bridge with bricks and sand in front of his home in southern Vietnam.
Dat builds a sand bridge with bricks and sand in front of his home in southern Vietnam.

“What are you building?” I ask Dat, the little boy playing on a small sand dune by the entrance to the house. He answers me as he continues to collect sand and pile it onto broken bricks.

“I’m building a sand bridge,” Dat answers in a soft voice without looking at me — his family’s caseworker.

“Is your mom home?” I ask.

Dat continues working on his sand bridge. ‘She’s in the field now,’ he says. Continue reading “A New Hope, A New Cow”

The Greatest Gift a Sponsor Can Give

When Holt staff member Celeste Snodgrass had the chance to meet her sponsored child, it affirmed her belief that sponsors are the key to keeping children out of orphanages — and with their families.

Celeste slipped off her sandals and swung her legs out of the SUV and into the squishy, dark mud. Looking at her surroundings, she couldn’t believe she was here. Lush palm groves lined the rutty, narrow dirt road that led her to a small collection of thatched houses raised on wooden stilts. 

A child and family's home in Thailand
Celeste and local Holt staff wade through knee-deep water as they leave Panit’s home.

Continue reading “The Greatest Gift a Sponsor Can Give”

The Children We Sponsor Are Real

For Jerrod and Melissa Adair, meeting their sponsored child in Mongolia was not just a blessing. It was a dream come true.

Jerrod and Melissa with her sponsored child, her sponsored child's twin sister, mom and Holt staff members in Ulaanbaatar.
Jerrod and Melissa with her sponsored child, her sponsored child’s twin sister, mom and Holt staff members in Ulaanbaatar.

Jerrod and Melissa Adair stood on a street corner in front of a large shopping mall in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. They had traveled nearly 6,500 miles from their home in Oklahoma, and now waited in anticipation with toys in their arms. When they turned the corner, they recognized them immediately. 

“One was dressed in a beautiful red dress, and as I turned the corner, I saw they’re twins,” Jerrod says. “A double blessing!”

Each holding onto their mom’s hand, the twin sisters walked toward them in matching frilly red dresses, striped tights and white sandals. For over a year, Jerrod and Melissa had read about, and prayed for, these girls and their family. But in that time, they had developed a special connection with one girl in particular — Narantuya, their sponsored child. 

Continue reading “The Children We Sponsor Are Real”