2020 Holt Adoptee Scholarship Winners!

Congratulations to Grace Querido, Mei Vader and Grace Rafferty — our three 2020 Adoptee Scholarship winners!

This year, we asked applicants to submit a creative work based on the theme, “A Portrait of Me: An Adoptee.” They each won a $500 scholarship.

Grace Querido

For my piece I decided to paint the different facades of my identity. Growing up in a predominantly white town, it was rare to see other Asian kids let alone Korean kids with white parents. Because of that, I attended a Korean adoptee camp where I met other families that looked like mine, which was a really influential experience. On top of race, my religion made me special because I was usually the only Jew in class. I took my individuality as an opportunity to educate my classmates on adoption, Korea, and Judaism. I included my three different names because they’re the foundation from which I built the rest of my identity. I am fortunate that my parents took us on vacations because I learned I loved to scuba surf, and travel which I hope to continue in the future. The paw prints represent my love for animals and the volunteer work I did at a shelter. My artistic side is shown through my love of Broadway and painting. I was also able to express my athleticism through my high school’s cheerleading team. This painting is the perfect visual representation of who I am. Continue reading “2020 Holt Adoptee Scholarship Winners!”

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”

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.

Q&A with Adult Adoptee Kim Lee On New Director of Adult Adoptee Community Outreach Role

At Holt International, we continue to learn from the diverse experiences and perspectives of adoptees of all ages. Recently, we began a nationwide search for Holt’s first director of adult adoptee community outreach. The new director’s role will be to inform how Holt can best support, magnify and celebrate a healthy and diverse adult adoptee community. Holt board member and Holt adoptee, Kim Lee, offers her perspective on why bringing aboard a new director of adoptee community outreach is important to her, and for the broader adult adoptee community.

Kim plays with a baby in one of Holt's programs in Beijing.
Kim plays with a baby in one of Holt’s programs.

Tell us about yourself!

I am a Korean adoptee. In 1955, after the Korean War, Harry Holt traveled to Seoul to adopt eight mixed-race babies as he knew they would be shunned by Korea’s society and soon thereafter began to unite orphaned children with families in the United States, which pioneered international adoption and the founding of the Holt adoption agency. Mr. Holt, as I knew him, escorted me to the United States as part of the first wave of international adoptions from Korea in 1956. My parents had very full hearts – they adopted five children from Korea and while none of us are biologically related, we are siblings in every sense of the word and lived in Columbus, Ohio. When my youngest sister was adopted in 1959, I traveled with my mother from Columbus, Ohio to Portland, Oregon to welcome her and Mr. Holt, who escorted her from Korea. That was a memorable experience for me. Continue reading “Q&A with Adult Adoptee Kim Lee On New Director of Adult Adoptee Community Outreach Role”

Circle Back: A Program by Adoptees, for Adoptees

Designed for Adoptees, by Adoptees, Holt’s Circle Back program strives to help youth Adoptees build a positive identity. Co-creator Caitlin Howe explains how.

Caitlin (center) with youth Adoptee campers at last year's Holt Adoptee Camp.
Caitlin (center) with youth Adoptee campers at last year’s Holt Adoptee Camp. Feedback from campers in many ways informed and guided the development of Circle Back.

“Hey, what are you doing right now?” I said, laughing.

“Oh, I’m just making a sandwich real quick — but don’t worry, I’m still listening!”

I watched with amusement as Aya set the phone down and went from fridge to kitchen counter gathering ingredients. My fascination grew as she threw a sandwich together in 10 seconds. We had started our video chat just as she had arrived home from school, and before I knew it, she was settling into her living room couch and eating as we talked. She shared about her current classes and also her hopes to be a camp counselor next summer. And we traded stories about being in high school and getting ready for whatever comes next. As we chatted, early evening light spilled into her apartment in Chicago as the sun broke through the clouds here in Oregon. Continue reading “Circle Back: A Program by Adoptees, for Adoptees”