No Fairytale Ending

Courtney Young, an adoptee and member of Holt’s marketing and development team, met her birth mother during her first trip to Korea with Holt. Here, she discusses family, culture and the complexities of adoption.

Courtney Young (center) with her biological aunt (far left), grandfather, mother and another aunt.

My niece’s recent obsession is playing princess. She’s 4, inspired by a recent trip to Disney World and the movie “Frozen,” and she reenacts the climatic fairytale over and over again. We all indulge her and it’s probably the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen.

When I was 4, I would pretend to live in fairytales too. It was more along the lines of “Anastasia” — a little girl relinquished by her birth parents who later discovers that she belonged to a royal family. One day, if I ever reunited with my birth parents, I thought they too would be some kind of royalty or something. Of course, in my head I knew that wasn’t true, but the imagination has to start somewhere, and I had a pretty solid base for my fantasy.

Continue reading “No Fairytale Ending”

Seeing My Daughter Again for the First Time

When Greg Rausch attended a Winter Jam 2014 concert in Cincinnati, he was surprised to see photos of his daughter with members of the Christian band NewSong on wall-length banners plastered around the arena. The photos were taken when NewSong visited his daughter’s care center in India, before she came home to the Rausch family. Below, Greg shares what it was like to see photos of his daughter from before they were a family.

Greg stands in front of the Holt banner with his son at a Winter Jam concert in Ohio. Greg’s daughter, a Holt adoptee from India, is featured on the banner with NewSong band member Matt Butler, which came as a surprise to Greg.


“That kind of looks like your daughter, Mr. Rausch.”

“What?” I asked, perplexed by this random and seemingly nonsensical statement from Daniel, a boy in our youth group. “Where?”

“Up there,” Daniel said while pointing back over my shoulder at something up in the air. Continue reading “Seeing My Daughter Again for the First Time”

Beyond Blessed

Adoptive parents Chad and Becky Hinze share their experience adopting 12-year-old Paolo Miguel just days after Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philipinnes, and bringing him home to join their family. Paulo joined his family through the Philippines Ambassador Program.

How many people can say that flying into the Philippines just five hours before the most horrific storm in history hit — and living in an orphanage for the five days after — was the absolute best experience of their lives?

We can!

Continue reading “Beyond Blessed”

A Year of Changes and Milestones

For the first 6 months of her life, Holt adoptee Molly Bicksler lived with a foster family in China. After reaching an important milestone — high school graduation — Molly felt inspired to write a letter to her former foster parents, sharing her exciting news.

I was adopted in 1995 from Nanning, China. Before my parents picked me up, I was in a loving foster home. From the pictures I’ve seen, it looks like my foster mom loved and cared for me a lot. Every Christmas, my family has sent her a card with a picture and an update on how I am doing. This year, I thought I would write a more personal letter because it has been a year of changes and milestones.

Dear Qin Xiu Zhen and Huang Yong Ming,

A day does not go by that I am not thankful for the love you showed me when I was a baby. I have a wall in my room with items from China, which constantly reminds me of where I come from. Living in America will never change my roots, and I will always keep a part of my heritage alive.

I hope one day that I can return to China and thank you. I think about all the other children in orphanages who don’t get the chance to have that one-on-one care. I am very grateful for having the privilege to have been cared for in a foster home before being adopted into a family.

Molly as a baby with her foster family in China.

I live with my mom and dad, along with two cats. I am actively involved with our church and its youth group. I enjoy reading and learning more about the world around us. I am like any other teenager, addicted to technology and all that it has to offer.

I have graduated high school and now am in college. I am pursuing a degree in nursing. In high school I was a well-rounded student who I hope you would be proud of. I sang in the chorus, participated in orchestra and chamber orchestra (I played the violin), and helped the community through Key Club. I got inducted into the National Honor Society my junior year. I even had the privilege to be an officer of several activities. I also received many acknowledgments and awards.

College is a very different experience that I am enjoying. I attend a smaller college; I don’t really care for the larger campuses. I still live at home but I do have a place to stay that is nearer to the college. Next semester I will start clinical. I can’t wait to meet the patients.

Have a Happy Holiday and Happy New Year! It’s the year of the horse!

Wǒ ài nǐ,

Yuan Bao Xi


Honoring Children and Families Who Give

Three stories of families who worked together with their children to raise funds for vulnerable children and families in Holt’s programs overseas.

From a Little Idea…

by Abby Gouldsbarry, Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania

A.K.Dive has grown to be something I never expected it to be back in 2007, when I first came up with the idea.  The whole game plan wasn’t the same back then, though.  It was something totally different.

But before I tell you how it came to be, first I need to tell you what it is. A.K.Dive is a fundraising event with food, face painting, games, music and fellowship, and all the proceeds go towards adoptions or adoption organizations.  It’s a really fun evening, and every year, friends, family and church members ask about it and look forward to it.

I was 7 when I thought of A.K.Dive — and at that age, when I had an idea, I took it to the top.  So when I saw the idea to open up a lemonade stand, it eventually turned into opening a restaurant…in our home.  Remember, I was 7 at the time. 🙂

The Gouldsbarry family.

My mom and dad thought we were playing, but we weren’t.  My little kid brain was fixed on selling breakfast, lunch and dinner at a little diner that we (my friends and I, along with my lil’ sis) had named “A.K.Dive.”  A for my name, Abby, K for my good friend’s name, Katie, and the capital D in Dive for my lil’ sis, Danelle.  My dad came up with the whole Dive thing.

Anyway, one day my mom understood that we actually weren’t playing, and explained that we could not open a real restaurant in our house.  My friends, sister and I were heartbroken, but then my mom had an ingenious idea.  Instead of opening a restaurant, we would have a little diner at our house (more of a picnic), with friends and family, and us kids would head up the whole thing (with a lot of help, believe me!).  It was a dream come true for us, and the night was a blast!  We decided to raise money for an organization that helps to fund adoptions and orphans. People would come for food and fellowship and donate whatever they wanted.

Because of A.K.Dive, my family was turned toward the realization of the plight of orphans.  Our hearts stirred and our eyes were opened as the Lord called us to adopt a child.  We decided to go through this process with Holt, and it was an amazing journey.  Mom and Dad traveled to China to bring home our new brother in January of 2011.  When A.K.Dive came around that summer, it was without question that we wanted to raise money for Holt, and we chose the special needs fund, since my brother Hudson most likely was supported through that fund.   We had a wonderful time that night, and raised over $3,500!  Faces were painted, and many laughs were heard.  Nothing beats a good night with lots of fellowship!

Over the course of the past six years, we have raised around $10,000 for adoption-related organizations/families (including Holt families).  A.K.Dive has blessed my life in many ways.  Besides giving me the brother I had for years been praying for, it has given me a love for orphans, a love for helping others in need, and has shown me what a little idea can turn into.


Abby (age 13)

Continue reading “Honoring Children and Families Who Give”

Scott Needs A Family!

Curious and kind, Scott needs a family that will help his inner-artist bloom.

DOB: 8.5.2000, SE Asia

In nearly every picture of Scott, he has a pencil or a marker in his hand and sprawled out in front of him are sheets of white paper filled with his signature comic book-style figures. Scott is an artist, inspired by the simple things you might expect a 13-year-old boy to find intriguing. He draws muscled anime protagonists and four-armed, laser-beam shooting villains. He draws space ships with robotic arms, helicopters with whirling searchlights, and occasionally, his favorite childhood cartoon, Winnie the Pooh. Scott’s art appears in photos of him so often, it’s almost easy to overlook Scott, whose dark brown eyes soften with his dimpled, toothy smile. Continue reading “Scott Needs A Family!”

Some New Ways to Help Children in Holt’s Care

Host a gala in your area or join us on eBay! 

Holt International hosts annual gala dinner auctions in New Jersey, Nebraska and Oregon but would like to expand these events to other parts of the country.  To do this, we need your help!

If you are interested in learning more about hosting a gala in your area, please contact Shonna Wells at: or: 541-687-2202, ext. 153.

So that you can play an important role in Holt’s gala auctions wherever you live, Holt has established an eBay store. You and your friends and family can donate and/or purchase items from our exclusive store. Proceeds from eBay sales will support children and families in Holt’s overseas programs.

eBay store:

We are currently accepting donations!

Suggested items for Holt’s eBay store include:

• Collectibles

• Sports memorabilia

• Special events tickets (sports games, concerts, etc.)

• Antiques

• Original art

• Designer clothes and accessories

• Unique ethnic items

• Jewelry

• Use of your vacation homes/timeshares

• Frequent flyer miles

If you have items you would like to consider donating, please contact:

Shonna Wells at: 541-687-2202 or:

*Holt retains the right to decline donated items if they are not appropriate for the Ebay store.

How to donate:

Unless special arrangements are made, all items will be sent to:

Holt International

1195 City View

Eugene, OR 97402

Attn: eBay Store – Shonna Wells


Grace’s China Blog

Holt adoptee Grace Fogland blogs about her experiences on Holt’s heritage tour of China.

Grace Fogland and her family with the directors and caretakers of the childcare center in China where Grace’s sister, Lili, lived before being adopted.

On Tuesday, July 9, my family and I drove to the Guizhou Provincial Civil Affairs Office in downtown Guiyang to sign some paperwork that would allow us to visit Lili’s former orphanage (I was the only one who didn’t have to sign my name and stamp my fingerprint). After we finished, we packed into the van, and took a very scary, 5-hour, bumpy, mountainous drive from Guiyang to Zhenjuan. It was scary because the road was curvy and became narrow the further we got up into the mountains. Plus, the driver was going pretty fast around the corners and sometimes drifted into oncoming traffic. But, he was a champ and got us to the hotel in one piece. I don’t know the English name of the hotel we stayed in, but it was really neat because we were in the middle of the town, surrounded by various shops. After Michael helped checked us in, we had a little bit of rest time (that we used to unwind from the car ride) before heading back out to visit Lili.

The road was incredibly bumpy and gradually became very primitive as we got closer to our destination. Once we arrived at Zhenyuan, we met the director and much of the staff. It was really special because the two women who accompanied Lili to Guiyang at the time of her adoption were there, and they remembered her. They were both surprised at how tall Lili was, and kept looking at her with huge smiles on their faces. A third woman came — “Mama,” and we learned that she had been the primary caretaker for Lili. She started to cry when she saw Lili, and it was clear that Lili was very loved during her time in the orphanage. We gave her hugs and took lots of photos with the director and the caretakers. Once we were done, my family and I piled into the van, while the two other ladies and the director and assistant climbed into their own car. Somehow in the process, “Mama” disappeared. It was probably very hard for her to see Lili, so it might have been easier for her to leave. Continue reading “Grace’s China Blog”