Caring for Children With HIV in China

In China, children living with HIV face intense stigma and discrimination. But through the kindness and generosity of Holt donors, they find love, care and compassion in Holt’s HIV group homes. This story originally appeared in Holt’s fall 2017 sponsorship magazine

A little girl at the HIV group home looks out the front door to a sunny courtyard.

Most of the children here don’t know they are HIV+. It’s too risky.

Their teachers don’t know. Their neighbors definitely don’t know because if they did, they would have to move again. They’ve moved eight times in ten years, all 28 children. If their teachers knew, they would be isolated and discriminated against or even kicked out of their pricey private school — a school they attend because they don’t have to inform the principal of their disease.

Most of these children don’t even know about the disease in their blood — the disease that killed many of their parents, robbed them of their life in their villages and that was likely passed to them at birth.

They just know that they have strict rules to follow.

Absolutely no fighting. No rough housing. If they get a cut or a scratch, they have their own first aid kit. And they have Mr. Huang.

“The kids are happy now,” Mr. Huang says, his face worn and tired, his spiky, graying hair hinting at his age.

When children pass through the living room of the apartment, they stop to grab his hands or talk to him and his eyes soften as he greets them lovingly.

“They are too young,” Mr. Huang says. “They don’t understand their fate. But as they get older, they will learn. The discrimination will start. They will always have to keep their secret.”

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10 Things You Need to Know About Adopting an Older Child

The Schell family, who have adopted four children.

One of the most common special needs among children waiting for an adoptive family isn’t a physical need at all—it’s simply being older than the age of 5. These children have waited a long time for a family, and often, being considered an “older child” means they wait even longer.

Think you could be the right family for older child adoption? Read the 10 things you need to know about adopting an older child.

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5 Things to Know About Adopting a Child With Cerebral Palsy

The Borland family adopted their son from China. He has minor cerebral palsy.

If you are considering adopting a child with special needs, or spent time on Holt’s photolisting, you have likely seen the term “cerebral palsy.” It’s a common special need among children waiting for adoptive families.

For many prospective adoptive families, “cerebral palsy” sounds intimidating, even potentially unmanageable. But the truth is that “cerebral palsy” refers to a broad range of symptoms and traits and its effects are different for every child.

Read the five things you should know about adopting a child with cerebral palsy!
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My Cherished Son

Adoptive mom Jen Skipper shares about adopting her son who has developmental delays — the unknowns, the hardships and the hope she now has for his future.

It was time to go and meet our fifth child, our second adoption from China. Our path to him had been clear — we knew he was the boy that God had led us to. He was to be our son. We knew he would come to us with a couple medical diagnoses and some developmental delays. We thought his developmental delays included learning to walk and speak late. At 2 years old, he was just starting to babble.

I had poured over his paperwork and felt like all of his reported delays were simply related to being institutionalized, and I was encouraged by the great strides in his development after joining a foster family in China. I had heard stories of institutionalized kids coming home to their forever family and overcoming so many of their delays. I was optimistic and ready to welcome my son into my heart and our family forever.

Jen and Marc in their first days with their son in China.

The moment he was placed into my arms in China at almost 3 years old, I knew his delays and issues were more severe than I had anticipated or imagined. He was laughing and smiling, and that was not how kids are supposed to act when being placed into a stranger’s arms.

We took him back to our motel room and I realized he was not making eye contact with any of us. He had no verbal communication and was rummaging through every garbage can he could find, looking for something to play with. He hit himself repeatedly and when we went anywhere new, he would go cross-eyed and grind his teeth. He was so scared and couldn’t communicate it. And so was I.

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5 Things to Know About Adopting a Child With Developmental Delays

As prospective adoptive families learn more about adoption and the children who are waiting to join families, they may frequently run into the term “developmental delays.” But what does this mean, exactly?

Developmental delays can present in many different ways, often encompass unknowns in a child’s development, and are different for every child.

Here are five of top things to know about adopting a child with developmental delays:

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In Vietnam, Sponsors Send Kids With Special Needs to School

For generations of children with special needs in Vietnam, school has been something only other children get to do. But now, in one rural community, over one hundred sponsored children are shattering stereotypes, exceeding expectations — and loving every minute of it.

A longer version of this story originally appeared in the spring 2018 Holt sponsorship magazine.

Khang swivels his head and shakes his body to the pop-y, upbeat dance tempo that reverberates off the tile floor and blares out into otherwise quiet fields of rice on this cool January day. He opens his mouth wide and snaps it shut in a toothy grin, reaching out for a friend who dances alongside him. Continue reading “In Vietnam, Sponsors Send Kids With Special Needs to School”

Four Things to Consider When Sharing Your Family’s Adoption Story

After 15 years of blogging about her adoptive family of 12 — and recently sharing their story with the world in the documentary “Hayden and Her Family”— Elizabeth Curry has learned a few things about what, how, when and when not to share about her children and their lives growing up in a multiracial, international adoptive family. Here are Elizabeth’s four key pieces of advice to consider when sharing about your family and your family’s adoption story.

This story is part two in a series. Click here to read part one, “How Our Family Became the Subject of a Documentary.” Continue reading “Four Things to Consider When Sharing Your Family’s Adoption Story”

How Our Family Became the Subject of a Documentary

When a documentary filmmaker approached Elizabeth and Jud Curry about filming their lives as a multiracial, international adoptive family of 12, they hesitated. But then their 9-year-old daughter, recently adopted from China, asked a question that so surprised them, they decided to say yes — welcoming viewers inside their lives and home.

This story is part one in a series. Click here to read part two, “Four Things to Consider When Sharing Your Family’s Adoption Story.”

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