Project Gifts of Hope

Through Holt’s Gifts of Hope catalog, English professor and adoptee Tara Robbins Fee helps her students think critically about — and find solutions to — the problems affecting our world.  

Tara with her family.
Tara with her husband and children.

I am a professor of English, wife and mom, and Holt adoptee. I spent my childhood in rural South Jersey, reading Nancy Drew mysteries and Little House books and happily running around in the woods behind the house my parents built. Growing up, I rarely thought about the five months I spent in Korea before the day I arrived at JFK airport in New York City, the day depicted in our family photos, where my mother reaches out to hold me for the first time. That was the moment that I understood as my family origin story. Continue reading “Project Gifts of Hope”

Can a Sewing Machine Actually Help?

sewing machine in CambodiaWhen Narin’s dad lost his job because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Gift of Hope of a sewing machine saved their family.   

Narin’s family was empowered, independent and thriving.

At the beginning of 2020, they were doing well. They had food to eat, a stable income, the children were going to school, and 16-year-old Narin finally had the medical care he needed — all thanks to the generosity of Holt donors.

But then the coronavirus pandemic began. And their family plunged once again into crisis.

Continue reading “Can a Sewing Machine Actually Help?”

A Herd of Sheep, a Lifetime of Hope

For her class community service project, adoptee Anna Hebert launches a fundraising campaign for impoverished families in Mongolia — and raises enough to provide a herd of sheep and goats for three families!

My name is Anna Hebert, and I am currently in 11th grade at a public charter school in Southern California. I was born in a small province in China called Hunan and adopted through Holt as a baby. I have always loved helping out those who are less fortunate than I am.

This whole project started because my school has a graduation requirement to do a community service project. After learning about this graduation requirement in seventh grade, I was really excited to tackle a project that would change the lives of others in a positive way. Continue reading “A Herd of Sheep, a Lifetime of Hope”

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”

A New Hope, A New Cow

After Dat’s father caught malaria and died three years ago, his mom was forced to sell their only cow to pay off their debts. In this story, the family’s local caseworker in Vietnam shares what happened when a generous donor replaced the family’s cow — and the family’s hope. 

Dat builds a sand bridge with bricks and sand in front of his home in southern Vietnam.
Dat builds a sand bridge with bricks and sand in front of his home in southern Vietnam.

“What are you building?” I ask Dat, the little boy playing on a small sand dune by the entrance to the house. He answers me as he continues to collect sand and pile it onto broken bricks.

“I’m building a sand bridge,” Dat answers in a soft voice without looking at me — his family’s caseworker.

“Is your mom home?” I ask.

Dat continues working on his sand bridge. ‘She’s in the field now,’ he says. Continue reading “A New Hope, A New Cow”

5 Ways School Supplies Change Kids’ Lives

In developing countries around the world, going to school means much more than learning.

At the Yesus Mena Deaf School in Shinshicho, Ethiopia, Holt donors provide the books and supplies that children need to learn.  Many of these kids had no way to communicate before this sign language-based school opened in their community!

But before children can go to school, they need — and are often required to have — specific school supplies. The cost of supplies and uniforms are often too high for families living in poverty — causing children to drop out early. Below, we list five ways that your gift of school supplies can change kids’ lives.

Continue reading “5 Ways School Supplies Change Kids’ Lives”

Only One, But Still One

When 7-year-old Amelia Rose Cook learned about one girl’s need for a cleft lip surgery, she decided to help not just one but many kids — sending a ripple of kindness throughout her community, and the world.

Amelia with her mom and dad and brother, Jameson.
Amelia with her mom and dad and brother, Jameson.

I can’t remember exactly when I felt a sense of urgency to teach my children Ephesians 4:32: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” This verse inspired me to start a kindness project in our home from the time my children were extremely young. I felt led to teach them that kindness should exude from them as natural as breathing. Kindness and love should be the very essence of our Christian lives. 

Continue reading “Only One, But Still One”