Our Homeland is Each Other

Last week, Caitlin Howe — Holt’s adoptee programs coordinator — was featured on an edition of the NPR podcast Code Switch. Hear her, and other adoptees, share about their shared experiences, being a transracial adoptee and more!

As Adoptees, we long for representation — to see and hear stories to which we relate and that help us feel like part of a bigger community. It demonstrates to us that experiences we feel are had in isolation may in fact be shared. Through working with Adoptees and at Holt Adoptee Camp, I have learned that we long for a vast array of stories to help paint a robust picture of the Adoptee experience. The NPR Code Switch podcast has been making strides in the representation of minority voices and in providing relevant commentary about society and culture. When we found out that they were doing an episode on adoption, I — along with many other Adoptees — jumped at the idea of being part of the conversation.  All Adoptees have a story to tell and it was a privilege to participate in this podcast and continue to elevate the voice of Adoptees. Thank you for listening!

Caitlin Howe, MS | Adoptee Programs Coordinator

Learn about Holt’s newest program for youth adoptees, Circle Back! 

The Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Had To Do

GIna with her newborn son.Fifteen years after placing her son for adoption, Gina Ledesma got in contact with Holt earlier this year.  When we asked her if she was open to sharing her story, her response was an enthusiastic “yes.” While the environment and circumstances are different from country to country and individual to individual, Gina’s domestic U.S. adoption story is one that may resonate with any birth mother. And understanding stories like hers is important for everyone who is touched by adoption.

Gina will never forget the three hard, precious days she had with her son.

“I just counted all the toes and fingers,” she says, remembering those days in a hospital bed in Eugene, Oregon. “I looked at every little piece and part — and said my goodbyes.”

Twenty-nine years ago, Gina chose adoption for her son. Continue reading “The Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Had To Do”

Advice for Healing Childhood Trauma


Abbie Smith, Holt’s director of clinical services, shares how parents can help older adopted children heal from the trauma in their past. To learn more, contact Abbie about Holt’s adoption-competent therapy program, and the resources available for your child and family.

An older child without a family has many life experiences we can’t even dream of. In Mongolia, Holt is working to provide children with indoor toilets and warm showers. In China, children with HIV are treated like “lepers” of centuries ago. In the Philippines, children growing up without families find shelter in cardboard boxes and warmth from burning trash. The lack of love and nurturing care in orphanages can be a trauma in and of itself. Their experiences vary, but the trauma many older children experience ultimately impacts their growth and development. But there is hope. With the right training, parents can help their older adopted child to heal. Continue reading “Advice for Healing Childhood Trauma”

Alert! Citizenship Fees Increasing Soon!

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced numerous fee increases that will take effect on December 23, 2016. The fee to obtain a new Certificate of Citizenship (COC) will increase from $550 for a minor adoptee to $1,170. The fee to replace a lost COC or to change a name on an existing COC will increase from $345 to $555. These fee increases may not affect parents who have automatically received their children’s COC shortly after arrival, but will most likely have a big impact on parents and adult adoptees who still need to obtain a COC.

If you are an adult adoptee or an adoptive parent and have not yet secured proof of citizenship for yourself or your child, we urge you to do so as soon as possible. Securing U.S. citizenship is essential to ensuring rights and protections throughout your or your child’s life.

Obtaining a COC is of particular importance for adult adoptees whose parents never took the steps for them to become U.S. citizens. If you are an adult adoptee and have any question about your citizenship status, we advise you to seek confirmation from your parents. If you have additional questions or concerns, contact our post-adoption team about how to check your status.

To download the N-600 application for Certificate of Citizenship directly from USCIS, please click here.

If you have any questions, please contact either Debby Hanson at debbyh@holtinternational.org or Sunday Silver at sundays@holtinternational.org in Holt’s Post Adoption Services department.

Our post-adoption team is available Monday-Friday, 8-4:30 Pacific Time, at 541-687-2202.

For answers to frequently asked questions about the COC, click here for a PDF provided by the National Council For Adoption.