Amazing Firsts

Adopting an older child from Ethiopia

by Susan Johnson

We are the lucky parents of eight children. Our first adoption journey began in 2006 when we brought home our infant son, Matthew. It is hard to describe my feelings when I traveled that first time to Ethiopia. The parents in my travel group who had adopted toddlers and preschoolers were very inspiring to me. The children were amazing and beautiful.

We were so in love with Matthew that we began the adoption process very soon after he came home. This time we knew that we wanted to adopt an older child. Our agency, however, wouldn’t allow us to adopt a child that didn’t follow the birth order of our family. Lucky for us, we brought home our little 18-month-old son, Samuel! Samuel definitely made us work a little harder for his love, but watching him process everything that had changed in his life was amazing.

Our desire to adopt an older child always remained in our hearts. After some discussion with our children, we started researching older child adoption and contacted Holt International. We definitely wanted to adopt from Ethiopia again and there was one little girl that we were particularly drawn to. She was a little older than we were originally planning on, but after some discussion, prayer, and a little bit of faith, we knew she would be our daughter! We began the process with Holt to bring her home!

Our daughter, Asmerach, is nine years old and has been home with us for almost three months. Continue reading “Amazing Firsts”

Update: Holt Responds to Cholera Outbreak in Haiti

As of October 27th, the Ministry of Health in Haiti reports at least 303 people dead and more than 4,700 sickened by a cholera epidemic that’s swept through Haiti’s northern regions in the past week.

“There have been no cases to date that have been reported that have affected any Holt children or families,” says Sarah Halfman, Holt’s director of programs in Latin America, Haiti and Romania. “As for preparing a coordinated response to the outbreak at this time for the families in the family preservation program, ongoing preventative education on cholera and hygiene seems to be the best course of action.”

Continue reading “Update: Holt Responds to Cholera Outbreak in Haiti”

How Will You Celebrate National Adoption Month?

Join the Holt Ambassadors Network

National Adoption Awareness Month – a wonderful time to spread the word about children throughout the world who need loving families – is coming up in November.

Many Holt adoptive families have found a great way to raise awareness about adoption and help more children find families through the Holt Ambassadors Network.

Composed of people who share the Holt story and raise awareness in their communities about the urgent needs of homeless children around the world, Holt Ambassadors get involved by: organizing fundraisers, speaking at churches, schools or civic groups; or volunteering at Holt events…..Join the Holt Ambassadors Network today!

Post Holt’s banners on your facebook page or blog during National Adoption Month

Holt Ambassador stories and updates:

The Wolterstorffs:

“Once our eyes are opened, we can’t pretend we don’t know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act.”(Proverbs 24:12)

Speaking out for the orphans of this world is one of my passions. We need to be the voices for these vulnerable children; if we aren’t, then who will be? I try to find ways to help, speak out and gather donations for children whenever I have the opportunity. Being a member of the Holt Ambassadors Network helps me do this.

Most recently, I collected 200 dresses for an orphanage in Ethiopia and was recently given some photos of the children wearing the dresses. To see what the children had worn before and then to see them with those sweet dresses on and those big smiles, it made me want to do so much more.

Even the small things, like gathering dresses, makes a huge difference in the life of a child…and there is still so much more to be done.

With November being adoption awareness month, I encourage you all to find a way to spread the word. Continue reading “How Will You Celebrate National Adoption Month?”

Wishing for the Best

Ranjan has a family!

by Robin Munro, senior writer

“Good Morning! All the best!” *Ranjan says in one breath, with a thumbs-up to greet the child care staff at Vathsalya Charitable Trust (VCT) – a child care center in Bangalore, India.

Today, Ranjan is hopeful and optimistic, wishing for the best – an extraordinary attitude for a boy who, in 5 years of life, has experienced child abandonment, severe health problems, developmental delays and hearing impairment.

Born premature with multiple medical conditions, Ranjan was abandoned at a large government hospital at just a few weeks of age. He came into VCT’s care at 2 months old, weighing a mere 1.5 kg. Shortly thereafter, Ranjan joined a foster family provided by VCT. This blessing has proven instrumental to Ranjan’s growth and development.

Ranjan’s foster mother, a crèche nurse trained in child care, tackled Ranjan’s speech, motor and mental delays as challenges to overcome – relishing small victories as Ranjan worked toward major milestones. “Ranjan smiled today,” she’d enthusiastically report during early visits with VCT child care staff. She noticed, with delight, the first time Ranjan moved his toes. And after two years of occupational therapy and encouragement from his foster family, Ranjan finally learned to walk. Continue reading “Wishing for the Best”

URGENT: William Needs a Family

DOB: 2/9/97

From East Asia

In February, when *William turns 14 years old, he will no longer be eligible for intercountry adoption. We can’t let this happen….William needs a family before it’s too late.

This brave young man enjoys drawing, reading and playing ping-pong. In care since February 2002, he currently lives in an institution and attends school. Described as an honest and well-behaved child who knows right from wrong, William likes his caregivers, teachers and friends and is said to be respectful and caring to people around him.

William needs a family experienced in parenting past his age and who can provide him with any medical care he may need. Because of the short timeframe we have to find William a family, families interested in adopting him must have a dossier in country.

Would you join us in praying for William and asking God for a family for this young man?

For more information about William, contact Holt International.

*Name changed

*To adopt William, applicants must also be 30-54 years old and meet an income requirement of $30,000 plus $10,000 per additional family member, with $80,000 net worth. More than 4 children in the home may be accepted.

Learn more about the Waiting Child program

Say Yes to Making a Difference in the Life of a Child!

You Are Invited to Holt’s Annual Gala and Dinner Auction in Portland, Oregon

Holt’s dinner and auction event in Portland, Oregon is coming up on October 16th.  The event will benefit homeless and at-risk children in Vietnam and will be held at Montgomery Park at 5:30 p.m.

There are more than a thousand children and families in Holt’s Vietnam program.  Our services in Vietnam help keep birth families together, reunite children with their birth families, and support children in foster care.  Our work in Vietnam also provides services to single mothers, nutrition programs, medical services and adoption.

Click the image to RSVP today!

“The word “yes” is a powerful word. My husband Jay and I said “yes” when we were asked to volunteer in 1996 for the Holt Portland auction,” says Char Woodworth, event chair for this year’s auction. “Working on the auction, working closely with wonderful, dedicated friends and Holt staff, and then seeing the event come together as a wonderful party to help children, what a gift! Working for Holt gives our lives purpose, meaning and fulfillment. You will have a wonderful time at the Portland event – remember to say “yes’ to making a difference in the life of a child!”

Come, join the fun at this year’s dinner and auction in Portland….and help children in Holt’s care in Vietnam.  Click here for more information and to RSVP to the event.

To volunteer on a committee, donate auction items, host a table, or be a Gala sponsor, please contact events@holtinternational.org

Can’t attend the event?…..make a difference by sponsoring a child in Vietnam.

Maggi Needs Your Help

Holt is now providing sponsorship for children in Guatemala

Just five days shy of *Maggi’s 4th birthday, any plans being made to celebrate her special day came to an abrupt halt. Instead, Maggi and her family fled their home in a panic, as tropical storm Agatha swept across Guatemala – taking the family’s already rundown home with her. Leaving over 150 people dead, several missing, and thousands homeless, Agatha was the second of back-to-back natural disasters to strike Guatemala last May.

On June 3rd, Maggi – extremely malnourished and anemic – spent her birthday in an encampment for families who had lost their homes in the storm. Sadly, this wasn’t the first time helpless and innocent Maggi had experienced such devastation. The tropical storm was the last of many distressing events to befall Maggi’s family, who had already been suffering from extreme poverty and malnourishment.

In response to this crisis, and the needs of children like Maggi, Holt International immediately began identifying and helping families who had lost their homes. Working in Guatemala since 1986, Holt currently provides family preservation services for desperate children and families in this area.  Many of the children affected by the natural disasters, including Maggi, are now in Holt’s child sponsorship program and need continuing support. Continue reading “Maggi Needs Your Help”

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 teams@holtinternational.org.

Helping the Children who Wait

University of Oregon graduate Ally Tritten is currently in Thailand working with Holt Sahathai Foundation (HSF) as an intern with IE3 Global Internships. Ally, a family and human services major, will work for HSF for six months, helping to find homes for 200 children with special needs. The children are currently in government-run child institutions in Thailand; some of them will eventually be placed into Holt’s Waiting Child program.

“I am really excited for this trip,” says Ally. “I look forward to learning more about Holt International, their work in Thailand, and to be able to provide services to children.”

Holt established a partnership with HSF in 1975. HSF serves a large number of vulnerable children through a variety of programs including adoption, pregnancy counseling, foster care, educational sponsorships and outreach services for children in hospitals and orphanages. Many of these programs help birth families stay together through counseling and assistance.

The following is an update from Ally about her first week in Thailand:

September 15th, 2010.

Bangkok, Thailand – Well, it’s been just over a week since I arrived here in Bangkok, and I already love every minute of it. I’ve been quite busy these last 10 days, meeting the staff at HSF and orienting to the diverse range of services HSF, as a highly recognized child welfare agency, offers. I have had the amazing opportunity to observe meetings with adoptive families and participate in a home visit, where I helped assess the potential of a family to bring their child back into their home. I also visited Pakkret’s Babies Home – one of the orphanages in Bangkok – where I, along with Pi Malee and Pi Tuk, two HSF social workers, helped identify the children in HSF’s special needs project.

We then went on a trip to explore an agricultural, self-sufficient center. This center is used as a model for maintaining a steady income through ones own resources and property. The goal of this project is to keep rural communities intact and prevent overpopulation in the big cities throughout Thailand, as well as maintaining close relationships with friends, family and community members. It was a fascinating experience in every aspect.

On that same day, Pi Malee, Pi Tuk and I visited the neighboring village occupied by HSF foster families, and we enjoyed observing the love and energy that surrounded each child being cared for. Continue reading “Helping the Children who Wait”