Growing up without a stable family in the Philippines, Konny Dela Cruz struggled to stay on track — and eventually left school early to work in a garment factory. Then she learned about Holt’s independent living and educational assistance (ILEA) program — a donor-funded program that helps institutionalized and disadvantaged teens to attend college and learn independent living skills.
The story of my life is so beautiful with a lot of learnings.
I was born in 1997. I grew up with a family with whom I have no blood relationship. I was only 2 years old when my mother entrusted me to the care of the landlady of the boarding house where we used to stay because she went to Korea to work.
When I was growing up, I was wondering why there is no name of my father on my birth certificate. I asked the landlady, whom I have been calling grandmother “Lola,” to explain “why I have no father on my birth certificate,” but she would just tell me it is only your mother who can answer your question. And my mother kept ignoring my question, too.
Holt’s feeding specialists have traveled the world training caregivers in nutrition and feeding best practices — and sometimes, something as simple as a spoon can make all the difference.
Several months had passed since Holt’s Child Nutrition Program team’s last trip to Ethiopia — to help lead a nutrition training at Sele Enat orphanage. And now, Rae Miller, an occupational therapist who specializes in feeding — a skill particularly helpful in her work with the child nutrition program — was there to evaluate how things were going. Already, rates of anemia had decreased and children looked healthier — and happier!
On August 28, 2017, Holt Haiti partnered with organization Education Works to throw a first annual Back to School Kickoff for children from impoverished communities and those living in orphanage care in Haiti.
Many parents in Haiti struggle to afford the high cost of school fees, uniforms, books and other supplies for their children. Sometimes, these costs alone are more than they might make in a week, month or longer. But when children don’t have the supplies and uniforms they need, they can’t go to school.
Children living in crèches (Creole for ‘orphanage’) are even more unlikely to receive their very own backpacks and school supplies.
Through the Independent Living and Educational Assistance Program in the Philippines, young adults aging out of institutional care gain the skills to live successfully on their own. Marlon Cruz was once an ILEA scholar. This is the story of his life, as told by Marlon.
I was 5 years old when I got lost in the market of Marikina City and never found my parents again. That was the start of my struggles in life. I did not know where I would stay and how I would eat. I came to the point that I was sleeping anywhere I could. To survive, I started to carry baskets and bags of goods for people in the marketplace so I could get money for food. When authorities learned that I had no parents, they put me in an orphanage and they started to look for my parents.
But nobody was found and nobody came back to claim me.
The barangay authorities sent me to Boys Town Complex in Markina City, an institution for children without parents. I was admitted in Mahay, a section in the institution where children like me are housed. I had mixed feelings, happy but sad. Happy because there were people who would care for me and there was food, so I did not have to wonder how I would find food to eat. Happy that I would not experience again what I had been through, I experienced playing again. I focused my attention on playing to avoid thinking of my lost parents and continuing to wonder why I no longer have parents. Continue reading “The Story of My Life”
A misconception we often hear is that Holt International is only an adoption agency. This probably stems from our long history in international adoption, but in truth, Holt serves far more children through programs that help them stay with their families.
At Holt, we in fact consider international adoption to be the last, best option for children. Holt’s model of adoption is child-centric, meaning that we uphold the needs of the child as our number one priority. Through this model, international adoption is the final effort we make to ensure that every child has a loving and secure home.
We believe, first and foremost, that every child deserves to grow and thrive in the loving care of their family, whenever possible.
To that end, we strengthen families who are on the edge and need just a little assistance to stay together. We do this through nutritional, financial, health, education and counseling services, which provide the tools and resources families need to independently care for their children. These programs would not be possible without our generous child sponsors!
Unfortunately, and far too often, children are unable to stay with their birth family for a variety of reasons. While we strive to reunite children with their families when this happens, many children remain growing up in orphanages. When that is the case, our goal is to find a family through domestic adoption — which gives a child the opportunity to grow up in the country and culture of his or her birth.
Finally, if the child is still waiting, then we begin to look at international adoption as a way to find a permanent and loving family. We understand the challenges that come with a child being adopted into a new country and culture, and so when international adoption becomes our only choice, we work very hard to make sure that the parents are as prepared as possible to care for the child. We have systems in place to prepare and support both the family and the adoptee — from the moment they apply to the moment they come home, and again when they need support, at any time throughout their lives.
Each child’s journey to a loving and secure home is different. But when you are matched, rest assured that every option was explored, and that international adoption was the best option for your child.
We are excited to share that little Liu — now Penelope Lian — is home with her family in New Jersey!
Earlier this year, sweet Penelope was living at Peace House, Holt’s very special, donor-supported medical foster home in Beijing. Because Penelope was born premature and experiencing global delays, Peace House offered a more nurturing alternative to orphanage care. At Peace House, Penelope received 24/7 attention from a dedicated caregiver and she grew and developed rapidly in a short time. Continue reading “I truly believe your kindness has created miracles …”
As a baby, sick from the effects of polio, Derek Parker was found at the gates of Holt’s Ilsan Center in Korea. The whole trajectory of his life changed when Molly Holt knelt down, picked him up and brought him inside…
“There’s a child at the gate — come look.”
This is the beginning to all that Derek Parker knows about his life.