I Won’t Give Up On Her

In the summer of 2016, Holt sponsor and then Holt employee Billie Loewen met a very sad, hungry girl in a remote village in Cambodia. She immediately signed up to sponsor her. Four years later, she receives an update that makes her heart soar.

In the first week of every month, I pull open the Excel spreadsheet with four years of monthly budgets. I open the Chase app and Wells Fargo and drift quickly over the charges, looking for anything amiss. The single line with a shortened title, “HOLT INTL CHILD,” and associated charge — $38 — always catches my eye.

Most months, paying bills is the only time I think about what it costs to sponsor the beautiful, shy, heartbreakingly sad little girl I met in a village in Cambodia on a scorching hot, dusty day in 2016.

Tiny, impossibly thin with straggly hair turning yellow from lack of nutrition, and a broad face with deep, serious eyes, 10-year-old Phal captured my entire heart the moment I saw her.

It’s been four years since I met her, and I think about her a lot.

Photos of Phal over four years of sponsorship reports. Her first photo is in the bottom right corner. Her most recent photo is top left.
Photos of Phal over four years of sponsorship reports. Her first photo is in the bottom right corner. Her most recent photo is top left.

Continue reading “I Won’t Give Up On Her”

10 Ways Holt Donors Changed Kids’ Lives in 2019

You did some truly amazing things in the lives of children and families this past year.

As Holt sponsors, donors, volunteers and advocates, you gave your time, money and energy to make sure as many children as possible could grow up with the love, stability and opportunity they deserve. And because of you — because of your kindness and generosity — 283,212 children and families in 14 countries around the world received the life-changing care and services they needed in 2019!

Seriously, you’re amazing. And we’re so incredibly thankful for you.

Just to give you a glimpse, here are 10 specific ways that your heartfelt giving changed the lives of children and families in Holt programs last year:

You helped kids. LOTs of kids!

Continue reading “10 Ways Holt Donors Changed Kids’ Lives in 2019”

Favorite 15 Stories of 2019

In 2019, we shared some amazing and inspiring stories from and about adoptees, adoptive families, sponsors, donors, and children and families in our programs around the world. It has been an incredible year at Holt — a year that you shared with us as you read, commented on and reposted our updates, stories and videos throughout the year.

Early last year, we merged with the adoption and child welfare agency WACAP — combining our resources and knowledge to help even more orphaned and vulnerable children both in the U.S. and in countries around the world. Throughout the year, Holt’s extraordinary donors made it possible to reach more than 280,000 children and families in 14 countries with everything from school supplies and bicycles to lifesaving food and critically needed surgery. Continue reading “Favorite 15 Stories of 2019”

Hunger in Haiti

Over one-third of child deaths in Haiti are due to malnutrition. But malnutrition is not a simple problem. 

Dayana couldn’t afford milk. Sometimes, instead, she would make a juice out of carrots and porridge for her daughter, Quyana. 

Undernourished herself, Widline barely had any breastmilk to feed her newborn son, Bernardo. She tried to nurse, but after a month, he just stopped feeding.

Continue reading “Hunger in Haiti”

A Dispatch From The 2019 Korea Gift Team

While traveling on this year’s Korea Gift Team trip with Holt, adoptive mom and donor Seri Boettcher kept a travelogue to tell her friends and family about the programs she visited and the children, families and individuals she met. 

Holt staff member Amanda Baca holds a child in care during the 2019 Korea Gift Team trip.
Holt staff member Amanda Baca holds a child in care during the 2019 Korea Gift Team trip.

Holt Morning Garden Shelter

We travelled back to Seoul yesterday afternoon after a VERY moving morning in Daejeon (where we spent the night) at the Holt-sponsored Achimddeul Mother and Child Shelter. It seems with every Holt trip I’ve taken, there is one day that just hits me emotionally and I truly did not anticipate it would be this day on this trip. Continue reading “A Dispatch From The 2019 Korea Gift Team”

Should We Buy a Ger?

These children in Mongolia needed a new gerWhen Mongolian adoptee Melissa gave a ger as a Gift of Hope to a child and family in need in Mongolia, it began a special connection to a child living in her birth country.

Hello, my name is Melissa and I am your sponsor. When I was younger, my name was Davaasetseg, which is very similar to your name, Battsetseg. I do not know if you were told this, but I was adopted from Mongolia at the age of 3…

These were the first lines of the first letter I sent to my sponsored child, Battsetseg, just last July. A year ago, I never would have guessed I would be corresponding with a child from my birth country of Mongolia! But it all started last Christmas, when my family decided to give a Gift of Hope…

In my family, like many, part of how we celebrate the holidays is by giving and receiving gifts. Last Christmas, we received Holt’s Gifts of Hope catalog, and looked at all the different kinds of gifts you could give to a family in need. We saw an image of a young boy proudly standing in front of a ger, which prompted my mom to ask, “Should we buy a ger?”

Continue reading “Should We Buy a Ger?”

Their Home is Not Safe

Families living without safe shelter face all kinds of threats — especially during the rainy season in Cambodia. Ten-year-old Linna lives in the city. Eleven-year-old Thak Kan lives in a more rural area. Neither of them have a safe place to live. 

Thak Kan sits between his parents as his mom wipes tears from her eyes and his dad holds his little sister in his lap. His little brother sits on the other side of his mom. Thak Kan looks down, his brow knit tightly together. Sleepy, he rests his head on his dad’s shoulder. He is 11, but looks small for his age.

“How do you feel when it rains really hard?”

“Scared,” he says. His voice is sweet, soft and high. Continue reading “Their Home is Not Safe”

Because They Are Brave

For generations, women and girls in Cambodia were taught not to speak their minds or stand up for their rights. But step by step, and with the support of sponsors and donors, they are learning to stand up, speak up and go after their dreams.

Sela sits in the Holt Cambodia office in Phnom Penh.
Sela sits in the Holt Cambodia office in Phnom Penh.

Sela’s voice quivers a bit as she speaks. She is slight and girlish, in jeans and a V-neck shirt, her dark hair pulled back in a ponytail and long bangs swept across her forehead. A large, black, practical watch overwhelms her slender wrist. Continue reading “Because They Are Brave”

You Gave Them Christmas: Photos & Updates From 2018 Parties

Every year, children around the world receive a special Christmas and holiday celebration — all thanks to generous sponsors and donors!

Christmas and holiday celebrations look a little different for children living in impoverished communities or orphanages around the world. For most children, holidays aren’t celebrated with treats, a party or gifts wrapped in colorful paper. These luxuries are often too expensive for families and children who have just enough to survive each day.

But every year, our generous sponsors and donors share the love of Jesus, and the spirit of Christmas, with children in Holt’s programs. They go above and beyond, and they bring so much joy to their sponsored child!

When sponsors and donors give $25, each child receives a hand-picked gift, festive meal, treats and a special party with their family and friends! It’s a fun-filled day — giving them wonderful memories that they will cherish all year.

Take a look at last year’s joyous holiday celebrations around the world!

Continue reading “You Gave Them Christmas: Photos & Updates From 2018 Parties”

How Holt’s Feeding and Positioning Manual Changes Children’s Lives

Holt International's Feeding and Positioning Manual.

In spring 2019, Holt’s nutrition program released Holt International’s Feeding and Positioning Manual: Guidelines for Working with Babies and Children. The first of its kind, this publication will have a lasting and life-changing impact on the lives of children in orphanages and impoverished communities around the world. 

As *Lanh lay on his back, his wide, fearful eyes filled with tears as he choked on each bite of food spooned into his mouth.

“It was hard to watch,” says Emily DeLacey, Holt’s nutrition program manager. Continue reading “How Holt’s Feeding and Positioning Manual Changes Children’s Lives”