Adoptee Identity: Tips From Post Adoption Services

Steve Kalb, adoptee and director of Holt’s post adoption services, shares advice for any adoptees beginning to explore and process what adoptee identity means to you.

I’ve been working in post-adoption services for over 16 years. While unique histories and individual circumstances have brought thousands of Adult adoptees to us over the years, many come asking similar questions about topics like adoption files and birth search. I’ll be providing insights and answers to some of those questions in this limited series I’m calling “Tips from Post Adoption Services.”

Read part one, “File Copies” and part two, “Birth Search.”

Part Three: Exploring Identity as an Adoptee

As a wrap up to my “Tips From Post Adoption” series, the recent announcement of Holt’s 2021 adoptee scholarship winners presents a nice opportunity to highlight a common theme that permeates most of the work we do in Post Adoption Services: Adoptee identity.

The idea of Adoptee identity reveals itself in bits and pieces in Post Adoption’s services: a file copy to demonstrate we are, in fact, U.S. citizens, a quest for personal origins and belonging through birth search, short-term coaching or mentoring youth. The extra layers of identity Adoptees have to wade through are apparent when observing the aggregate of our work, but less clear to anyone outside the department and Adoptee community.

Continue reading “Adoptee Identity: Tips From Post Adoption Services”

Congratulations, Class of 2021!

stock photo of graduates and confetti for congratulations class of 2021

Congratulations to the Class of 2021 Holt Adoptee Graduates!

It is with great joy we present this year’s digital yearbook and send each graduate a printed keepsake. You are all special members of the extended Holt family and we wish each of you good luck in your new chapter.

Continue reading “Congratulations, Class of 2021!”

Congratulations to the Class of 2021 Holt Adoptee Graduates!

It is with great joy we present this year’s digital yearbook and send each graduate a printed keepsake. You are all special members of the extended Holt family and we wish each of you good luck in your new chapter.

Continue reading “Congratulations, Class of 2021!”

Announcing Holt’s 2021 Adoptee Scholarship Winners

Congratulations to this year’s Holt Adoptee Scholarship winners — Annie Bone, Abby Conant and Kira Ewoldt!

This year, each applicant submitted a creative work framed around the prompt, “What’s in a name? Revealing the stories behind our adoptive names, birth names and nicknames.” Annie, Abby and Kira each received a $500 scholarships funded by donors to put toward the cost of higher education. See their winning submissions below!

Abby Conant

Abby will be studying visual arts at Boston University this fall. Continue reading “Announcing Holt’s 2021 Adoptee Scholarship Winners”

10 Influential Asian Americans To Teach Your Kids About

More than 30 years after President George H.W. Bush signed a law dedicating May 1990 the first national Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Asian American history remains relatively untaught. Asian American history lessons are usually limited to a few major historical milestones, with less of a focus on the influential Asian Americans that contributed to our country’s history. In a recent academic study conducted by the nonprofit Leading Asian Americans to Unite for Change (LAAUNCH), researchers found that 42% of respondents couldn’t name a single influential Asian American.

However, for an Asian American Adoptee, seeing a successful figure who is also a “racial mirror” (someone who looks like the Adoptee) is an important part of building a healthy racial and Adoptee identity. By giving them people to look up to who share their same race and/or ethnicity, racial mirrors allow children to develop positive feelings about their race. Learning about influential Asian Americans who have accomplished great things in history can help our adopted children dream big about their futures.

Learn more about some of the influential Asian American figures, past and present, who come from the countries where we work!

Holt Adoptee Camp Director: What I Do When Camp is Not in Session

Holt Adoptee Camp Director Joli Hanlon shares how she spends the eight-month off-season to continue serving adoptees — and make the camp experience the best it can be. 

Holt adoptee campers met over Zoom during the socially distant 2020 "Holt Camp at Home" version of Holt Adoptee Camp.
Holt adoptee campers met over Zoom during the socially distant 2020 “Holt Camp at Home” version of Holt Adoptee Camp.

One of the most common questions I get asked as Holt Adoptee Camp director is, “What do you do when camp is not happening?” Surprisingly, being camp director is a year-round job and there are a variety of tasks that I work on during the off-season. Here are five things that I do before and after camp that you may or may not know about: Continue reading “Holt Adoptee Camp Director: What I Do When Camp is Not in Session”

Holt Camp at Home

As COVID-19 canceled in-person gatherings this summer, Holt Adoptee Camp moved online — offering a virtual camp experience for over 400 youth adoptees, including many adoptees who had never attended Holt camp before.

During Holt Camp at Home, camp staff had two hours a day with each group of about 50 campers.

Holt Camp at Home just completed our first ever camp season online and the experience has been wild! As the effects of COVID-19 spread across the country, closing down schools and many youth summer programs, Holt Adoptee Camp was no exception to the growing risk of meeting together and the decision had to be made to cancel our in-person camp season. Continue reading “Holt Camp at 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”

Indian Adoptees Reunited After 30 Years

Thrity-one years ago today, Christina, Rekha and Deborah, along with two other Indian Adoptees, arrived in the United States.  They were escorted from India by the Poindexter family who took on an adventure of a lifetime. Since that day in December 1988, 30 years ago would go by before the women would be able to reunite in person with each other and then with the family that forever changed their lives. As we sat down with these young women we learned so much about their resiliency, heart and determination to find pieces of their past in each other. They were together from the beginning and the connections that formed as babies in India has blossomed into a friendship that is remarkable and deep.

Happy Adoption Day Christina, Rekha and Deborah! Your story is so important and we are proud to be able to share it with the world.