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.
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.
“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.
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.
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 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.
In her early teens, Devi thought she’d never be able to attend school. But then, Holt sponsors lifted her family out of the darkness.
When Devi imagined her life, it looked a lot like her mother’s. She would never learn to read or write. She would get married and have children at 15 or 16. She would work on the farm or do chores for a wealthy family. Life would be difficult.
Before a sponsor starting supporting her, Mekdes wasn’t sure if she could even stay in school in her rural community of Ethiopia — much less follow her dream of becoming a doctor.
Eighteen-year-old Mekdes dreams of becoming a doctor one day. Today, she is close to realizing her dream. Ten years ago, however, Mekdes’ future seemed uncertain.
Though bright and driven, Mekdes faced overwhelming challenges, and her family’s economic status seemed to dictate another path entirely — a path not nearly as bright, and certainty not one that would lead to a medical profession, or even an education.
As five decades of brutal war come to an end in Colombia, families have begun to heal from the violence and crime that ravaged their communities. And now, with the support of sponsors, many have begun to create a happier, more hopeful future for their children.
Yalena peeks out the side of her princess castle — a sheer, pink-and-white cylindrical-shaped tent with a miniature kitchen set and a family of stuffed animals to keep her company. Monica, her mom, grabs her foot, making her giggle and scoot back to safety. Continue reading “A Whole New World”
Two years ago, Holt donors gave Lhagvajav a brand new “ger” — a traditional Mongolian home — in which to raise his six children. He promised that he would work hard, and help his children succeed. He has lived up to his promise.
Two years ago, we visited Lhagvajav and his family at their home on the outskirts of Ulaanbaatar. It was the last day of a week-long trip with a group of Holt donors who had traveled to see the work — and meet the children and families — they support through their generous giving. Before traveling, the donors also provided the funds to build new gers, or traditional Mongolian homes, for four families in greatest need.
A few years ago, Mary Luz thought she might have to make the heartbreaking decision to leave her children in someone else’s care. But then she discovered a Holt donor-supported program in her community. And now, in every moment, she’s there.
At home, in a special place, Mary Luz keeps a collection of
cards. Each card has a message inside, written in crayon or colored pen.
“Mama, I want to tell you that you’re the best, and in every
moment and place, you’re there,” reads one message written by her daughter,
Camilla. “You’re my right hand. You’re my light. You’re my joy, my sadness, my
company, my everything. With Love, Camilla.”
Inside another hand-cut in the shape of a heart, the message reads, “On this day, I want to tell you that I love you. And I love you with a lot of love.” This card came from both her children, 5-year-old David and 9-year-old Camilla.
When her husband became ill, Dinknesh suddenly had to provide for her family on her own. She didn’t know where to begin, and her family quickly fell into poverty. Then sponsors and donors came together to empower Dinknesh, giving her two of the most powerful Gifts of Hope — confidence, and a cow.
Like many women in rural Ethiopia, Dinknesh had a more traditional role in her family before her husband fell sick. She worked incredibly hard to maintain her home and care for her two sons while her husband, a farmer, worked the fields to bring in an income and meet the basic needs of their family.
But when he became ill, he could not work and was bedridden for months.
Suddenly, Dinknesh had to provide for her children on her own.