The Gift of Time

Holt adoptive parents volunteer at Winter Jam

by Lisa Sharpless

We are the extremely busy parents of five children. Our days are filled to the brim with activities, practices, home-educating our three younger children, and basically just keeping the house from imploding. It’s difficult to fit much else in, and we tend to give an emphatic “No!” to any requests for our time. But last year, when we heard that Holt needed volunteers to help out with Winter Jam, we knew we just had to jump in.

We were assigned to the floor of the arena and during the concert we were invited backstage to meet and chat with Eddie Carswell, a member of NewSong. But the highlight of the night was manning the tables covered with countless pictures of children waiting to be sponsored. We’d answer people’s questions and take their information as they’d try to choose the right child. And with thankful hearts, we told them that our daughter used to be one of those pictures.

Four years ago, we got the call from Holt telling us about a precious, little 5-year-old in China who needed a family. Much to our delight, she also happened to be in the Holt sponsorship program. Though we don’t know who her sponsors were, we can guess that they hung her picture on their refrigerators, pored over the updates sent by Holt and prayed for her to find a forever family. Because of them, Suzanna had everything she needed, including a loving foster family to keep her happy and healthy until we could bring her home.

In 2010, over 10,000 Winter Jam concertgoers said “YES” to sponsoring a child! This year, we’ve set our sights higher…Help us reach 15,000 sponsors – 300 at each concert! It’s easy and fun! Check to see if Winter Jam is coming to your town and sign up online. Email for more information. Rock the House with Holt and NewSong at Winter Jam 2011 – Raise Your Voice for Children!

Please Pray for the Children and Families in Haiti

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. (Psalm 46:1-3)

Following the January earthquake and a recent cholera outbreak, Hurricane Tomas is the third natural disaster to hit Haiti this year.

Fortunately, the storm skirted the vulnerable island, but caused 12 hours of nonstop rainfall and continuing hurricane conditions that may lead to flash foods and mudslides.

At the Holt Fontana Village, the child care center Holt supports in Haiti, staff on the ground have been preparing for the coming storm for the past week – stockpiling a month’s worth of food and water and checking medical supplies.

“For the families in the Fanmi Ansanm program in Montrouis and Jacmel, since it is hurricane season, the families have all received trainings on hurricane preparedness,” says Sarah Halfman, Holt’s director of programs in Latin America, Haiti and Romania. In addition to nutritional and educational support, the 234 families in Holt’s family preservation program receive weekly family wellness trainings. Different topics are discussed, including disease prevention and hurricane preparedness.

Mansour Masse, Holt’s Haiti director, reports that families in our family preservation program are safe.

This weekend, Holt asks that you keep the people of Haiti in your prayers.  Pray for ongoing safety for the children and families in our care and strength and courage for all Haitian people as they struggle through yet another tragedy.

2010 Korea Christmas Gift Team

Volunteers needed for this special team

All year long, children await the arrival of Christmas. It’s a time of magic. A time of joy, celebrated in the cozy embrace of family. At Holt’s Ilsan Center in Korea, the children celebrate Christmas with a very special family – a family of Holt volunteers.

This year, join Holt’s annual Christmas Gift Team as they share in hugs and prayers with the Ilsan residents. Enjoy homemade gifts, as well as songs and skits performed by the children. You’ll experience the culture, taste the cuisine, and marvel at the extraordinary beauty of Korea. But most of all, you’ll help create a magical, joyous Christmas for a special group of children!

“People tried to get my attention, to smile at me, hug me, sometimes even to kiss me on the cheek,” wrote Debbie Dunham, a 2008 team member and Holt adoptive mom, for the Winter 2009 Holt International magazine. “I, who had helped supply the simple gifts distributed earlier, had just received the greatest gift – the gift of pure Christmas joy.”

Share in the joy and spirit of Christmas! Also, explore Holt’s history and see Holt’s vision in action – through parties at Ilsan and the Jeonju Baby Home, as well as a visit to the Holt Suwon Gounddeul unwed mothers’ shelter, and a lunch to honor foster mothers.

Gift Team Details

* Travel dates: November 30th – December 6th

* Estimated cost: Approximately $2,800 to $3,300 per person. Includes airfare, hotel, ground transportation in Korea, most meals and the project fee. The range in total cost represents varying cost of air travel, depending on departure city, and the type of hotel accommodation chosen by each team member.

* Gifts: Staff in Korea will purchase gifts for the parties before the team arrives; we will deliver and present the gifts.

For more information contact

Families say faith motivates them to adopt –

Over 50 years ago, in the aftermath of the Korean war, faith and compassion motivated Harry and Bertha Holt to adopt eight Korean children.  Today, their legacy lives on in the stories of others whose Christian values also moved them to build families through international adoption. Stories like that of the Kirkham family, mentioned in the following news article.  Inspired by scripture, the Kirkhams decided to adopt two Ethiopian boys from Holt’s Waiting Child program.

“We felt we had the opportunity as a family to help children who could not help themselves and do what the Bible says, to care for orphans and widows,” Justin Kirkham told a reporter for the Decatur Daily, an Alabama newspaper.  To read the full article, click the following link:

Families say faith motivates them to adopt –

Holt International Presents the NY2LA Dream Center Tour!

Matthew Barnett, legendary pastor of The Los Angeles Dream Center – one of the fastest growing churches in America – and Holt International present the NY2LA Dream Center Tour—reaching out to communities with an inspirational message of hope and the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of orphaned, abandoned and vulnerable children.  The tour, featuring recording artists Press Play and Coffey Anderson, and with inspirational words by Pastor Barnett, will play in markets as diverse as Louisville, Tulsa, San Antonio, Orlando and, of course, New York and L.A.

Click here for more information and to find a concert near you.  Concerts are free!  No Tickets required.

Celebrate your Mother and Give a Gift of Hope Today…

Mother’s Day is only a few days away!

When you give a Gift of Hope to a child in need, you will not only be recognizing the sacrifice and devotion of your loving mother, but you will also help precious children receive the nutritional food, clothing, educational material and medical care they desperately need.  Give a gift to a child in need, and Holt will send a personalized card or e-card honoring your mother or loved one this Mother’s Day.

Mother’s Day is only a few days away!…Give a Gift of Hope Today!

Holt’s India program

A message from Jennifer Goette, Holt’s Director of Programs for South and Southeast Asia

Holt International has touched the lives of thousands of children and families in India since 1979, providing permanency services for orphaned, abandoned and vulnerable children. In 2009 more than 3,000 children benefited from counseling, medical support, nutrition services, educational sponsorship, foster care and other services. A total of 30 children were reunited with their birth families, another 30 children were united with permanent families in the United States and approximately 160 children were placed in permanent homes in India.

Children who come into care are nurtured in child care centers, where they receive tender care by nurses, child development workers, caretakers, therapists and pediatricians, or are placed with foster families until they are adopted or reunited with their birth families. All Holt partner agencies in India have onsite neo-natal nurseries, which have specially trained staff and are equipped to stabilize the health of children who are admitted with immediate medical needs. All children receive regular well-baby checks, quarterly health checks, appropriate immunizations and lab tests including hepatitis B and HIV tests.

Many children in India need loving, nurturing families. Because of Holt’s long history and extensive programs serving children in India, we have a successful history of placing children from India with adoptive families in the United States. Holt welcomes Indo-Americans (born in India) as well as non Indian applicants to adopt from India. Adoptive families are especially needed for toddlers, preschoolers and children with medical or developmental needs.

Click here for the most current and detailed information about the needs for families for children from India

A Precious Gift from God

Adopting a Waiting Child

by Brett Foley

My wife Cheryl and I adopted our sons, Alexander and Benjamin, from South Korea, and in 2006 we decided to adopt through Holt International’s China program.

Cheryl had wanted to adopt a daughter from China since at least 2004, and she had an ally in our daughter, Leah, who had been praying for a little sister for quite some time. They finally got me on board, and we got started on the long road of adoption again. When we received and scanned over the big red book that explained Holt’s China adoption process we were a little overwhelmed. Adopting from China looked a lot more difficult than adopting from Korea.

We started in the standard China program but also decided to be in the Waiting Child program simultaneously. It proved to be a good choice. If we had only been in the standard program, we would still be waiting (possibly years) longer for just a child referral. So our road wasn’t as long as it might have been.

We traveled to China to receive Jenna in 2007 when she was 3 years old. Born with a cleft palate and large birthmark on the right side of her face and neck, Jenna had been abandoned in Shennong Park when she was 1 month old. The cleft palate had already been surgically repaired in China before we received her. Continue reading “A Precious Gift from God”