When Families Migrate in Cambodia: One Mom’s Story

When Ary migrated to Thailand in search of work, she wasn’t sure when she would see her children again. Then Holt sponsors and donors helped her come back home. 

The first time Ary and her husband traveled to Thailand in search of work, they brought their four children with them. Their youngest was still breastfeeding, and Ary couldn’t stand the thought of leaving her children behind. Migrating on foot, they eventually came to a fast-moving river. There was no bridge or ferry to take them across. They would have to swim.

“My children nearly drowned because the water was very strong,” she says. Continue reading “When Families Migrate in Cambodia: One Mom’s Story”

How Migration Endangers Children: a Q&A, How You Can Help

Increasingly long periods of drought have made it difficult for families in rural areas to support their children without migrating for work.

What does migration have to do with Holt’s mission in Cambodia?

In every country where Holt works, Holt sponsors and donors help vulnerable children grow up with the love and stability of a family — either by helping them stay in the loving care of their birth family, or uniting them with a loving, permanent family through adoption. But in Cambodia, a country where more and more families migrate to big cities or neighboring countries in search of work, helping families stay together has become an even greater challenge. Continue reading “How Migration Endangers Children: a Q&A, How You Can Help”

For My Korean Sisters

Holt adoptee Kate Pyle shares what inspired her to launch a campaign raising over $16,000 for the Holt Morning Garden shelter for single mothers and their children in Korea.

A single mom and her son who stayed at the Morning Garden shelter.
A single mom and her son who stayed at the Morning Garden shelter.

My name is Kate Pyle and I’m a Holt Korean adoptee. At the beginning of September, following a six week campaign, my wife, Laurel, and I raised $16,450 for three women at the Achimddeul “Morning Garden” shelter in Daejeon, South Korea. It was the first time Laurel and I had ever fundraised. Soliciting donations is never easy, but even in this bizarre time in history, we were successful! We both believed in the cause, in Holt and in ourselves.

So why did we do this? Let me tell you a little story. Continue reading “For My Korean Sisters”

Thank You For Helping Me Come Home

One boy’s story of life in a Cambodian orphanage, and how Holt sponsors and donors helped him come back home to his family.

Kea stands in front of his grandma's home.

When Kea lived in the orphanage, he slept on the bottom bunk in a room full of bunkbeds occupied by teenage boys who left him out of things and made him feel alone.

“I was the smallest,” he says. “That’s why I didn’t have many friends.”

In the morning, if he slept too late, the orphanage cook would throw water on him to wake him up. He would help clean the pigpen, eat a breakfast mostly made of rice and go to school. After school, he had to come straight back to the orphanage. He did his homework by himself. He ate more rice. And went to bed.

“No one took care of me,” he says. Continue reading “Thank You For Helping Me Come Home”

Adoption: More Than One Moment in Time

Susie Doig, senior executive of U.S. programming, explains why understanding that adoption is more than a single moment in time requires us to take a broader, more comprehensive approach.

Susie Doig with her husband and two children, both adopted from Thailand.
Susie Doig with her husband and two children, both adopted from Thailand.

When most of us think about international adoption, we take a process with lifetime and generational implications and narrow it down to one brief moment in time — the moment an adoptive parent meets their child for the first time. We watch videos of an adoptive parent’s first embrace of their new child; see the child cry and pull away or perhaps fiercely hug the adoptive parent back, and we are overcome by this moment.

Continue reading “Adoption: More Than One Moment in Time”

Her Best Example: Empowering Women and Children in Colombia

When Diana got pregnant at 17, she thought her dreams — and her dreams for her children — were over. Then she discovered Holt’s partner program in Colombia, empowering both women and children through education.

We visit Diana at her home on a warm weekday morning, and her neighborhood is quiet but for an occasional horseback rider clop-clopping along the long, straight dirt road out in front of her home. A small black dog lays in her doorway and a cat sleeps in her garden, which is lush but well-tended, with neat stone steps that descend from the road above down a story to her orange brick home. Diana and her husband built their home themselves, she says, “brick by brick.” Continue reading “Her Best Example: Empowering Women and Children in Colombia”

Keeping Kids Connected During COVID-19

In Delhi, children felt isolation, bored and disconnected from their Holt-supported community during their city-wide lockdown. But then, they started a vlog to connect with each other — and it’s been more meaningful than they ever expected.

“Hello Friends! I’m Deepa,” says a young girl, giving a slight wave to the camera. Deepa wears her black hair in two low French braids fastened with purple scrunchies, and has a thin black choker necklace around her neck.

A friendly greeting and introduction like this is how 11-year-old Deepa starts all of her videos on the KARE Kids vlog. In her first video, she shares about herself, her life and her family. In a later video, titled “Arts and Crafts with Deepa,” she shows how to make a pop-up greeting card. In the one before that she shares yoga tips, and in another she tells everyone which superpower she would choose to have and why.

In her latest video on the vlog. Deepa shares about which superpower she would want to have.

Deepa is one of 28 children who contribute to the KARE Kids Vlog Channel. Although, with its classroom-like feel, it’s really more like a community of friends than just a YouTube channel. Each of these children lives in Delhi, India and are part of the Kinship Care and Relational Engagement or “KARE” program through Shishu Sangopan Griha (SSG), Holt’s partner organization in the city.

Continue reading “Keeping Kids Connected During COVID-19”

The Children Left Behind

When a news story broke in China about children who died by suicide after their parents migrated without them, it became clear this was more than a crisis of poverty. It was a crisis of loneliness and loss.

When Luan's parents left, she was left in charge of her younger brother and her elderly grandparents.
When Luan’s parents left, she was left in charge of her younger brother and her elderly grandparents.

Luan doesn’t blame her parents for leaving. She loves them and forgives them for doing what they did. She even goes to visit her mom sometimes.

“I don’t know why she left me,” she says of her mom, “but I don’t blame her or hate her.”

Luan is among an estimated 60 million children in China who are growing up without their parents — left behind in rural villages in the care of elderly grandparents or relatives who struggle to provide for them on their own meager resources. In some cases, parents leave their children when they divorce, or when they remarry and their new spouse won’t accept children from a previous marriage. But most parents leave when they migrate to cities in search of work. They leave out of poverty, out of desperation. Continue reading “The Children Left Behind”

Can a Sewing Machine Actually Help?

sewing machine in CambodiaWhen Narin’s dad lost his job because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Gift of Hope of a sewing machine saved their family.   

Narin’s family was empowered, independent and thriving.

At the beginning of 2020, they were doing well. They had food to eat, a stable income, the children were going to school, and 16-year-old Narin finally had the medical care he needed — all thanks to the generosity of Holt donors.

But then the coronavirus pandemic began. And their family plunged once again into crisis.

Continue reading “Can a Sewing Machine Actually Help?”