Seven Children Arrive in Miami

A Letter from Susie Doig, MSW, Holt Director of Administration & Social Work Systems

We are so pleased to report that our last seven children from Holt Fontana Village (who were matched with families prior to the earthquake) arrived very early this morning into Miami. Holt Director of Social Services for Haiti, Mike Noah, and Africa Director of Programs, Bruce Dahl, are meeting with the children’s adoptive families at “His House”, the child residential care center processing the children and releasing them into their parent’s custody. By the end of today, these kids will be with their adoptive families.

Join us in giving thanks for the 21 children from Holt Fontana who have been united with their families!

Sincerely,

Susie Doig, MSW

See below to read more about the 14 children who were united with their parents last week

Click here to help children and families in Haiti

The Children are Home

14 children from Holt Fontana Village in Haiti travel to the United States to be united with their permanent families

Happiness and tears washed over the faces of the caretakers and staff at Holt Fontana Village in Haiti on Tuesday, February 2nd, as they all gathered around to say goodbye to 14 children departing to Miami to unite with their permanent families.

“There were lots of tears,” said Holt Vice President of Adoption Services, Lisa Vertulfo, who accompanied the first group of children to Miami. “The caretakers sang a hymn and then the staff broke into “How Great Thou Art” in Creole.”

The children, already matched with adoptive families prior to the devastating earthquake in January, had their adoptions expedited. Seven more children from the Village will hopefully arrive sometime next week.

Three members of Holt staff have been in Haiti for a week assisting the caretakers at the Village and helping to get the children home to their families in the United States. Lisa Vertulfo and Director of Social Services for Haiti, Mike Noah, accompanied the children traveling to the United States.

Holt Director of Services for Haiti, Bruce Dahl, will be staying at Holt Fontana Village to assist Holt Haiti Director, Mansour Masse, with future plans to help more children and families in need.

“I always miss the children when they leave, said Mansour. “But I always look forward to the day when the kids finally go home to be with their families.”

Holt will keep you updated as the rest of the children are united with their families, and how we are continually working to help the children and families of Haiti.

Read a news article about the Polzin family waiting to be united with their daughter.

Read a news article about Alicia Swaringen’s emotional reunion with her son.

Help the children and families in Haiti.

Prayers for Haiti

A Holt adoptive mom shares her thoughts on the Haiti earthquake and the children affected by the devastating tragedy

A blog entry from Bethany Hutchison

I haven’t posted anything on my blog yet regarding the earthquake in Haiti, because honestly the tragedy has almost felt too overwhelming for me to put into words. Where do you even start? Well, definitely with prayer. Continued prayer for Haiti will be especially important as the media coverage begins to dwindle, and we are no longer confronted with horrifying images on our televisions every day.

My heart is burdened in particular for children who were orphaned prior to the earthquake, and children now who have not yet been able to find their family members. Will you join me in continuing to lift up these children, and all of the Haitian people, in prayer throughout the coming days, weeks, months, and year?

Holt International, our adoption agency, has received an enormous amount of phone calls since the earthquake, from people who are interested in adopting orphans from Haiti. I think it’s often a misunderstanding how complex international adoption truly is. On one hand, it is WONDERFUL that people are opening their hearts to the idea of adoption. On another hand, I think that tragedy sometimes spurs very emotional responses in people… and that is definitely not a reason to rush into anything.  After all, international adoption is not an act of charity…it is an act of lifelong parenting.  Quite a difference.

There are many children, as you know, who were already in the process of being adopted prior to the earthquake, and it’s wonderful that many of those have been granted expedited entry into the U.S. to unite with their adoptive families. I know of some families who are still waiting or trying to find their adoptive children in Haiti, and we continue to pray for those families.

For the children who “appear” to be orphaned since the earthquake, it is of utmost importance that due diligence is done to ensure that every effort is made first and foremost to unite those children with living family members. This crisis has the potential to create a highway for child trafficking… and agencies must be vigilant in the actions they take to work on behalf of children during this unstable time.

Holt International is one of many agencies who work on behalf of children and families in Haiti, and they issued the following statement on their website after the large influx of calls they have received about adopting from Haiti: Continue reading “Prayers for Haiti”

Update on Haiti

Holt Director of Social Services for Haiti, Mike Noah, Vice President of Adoption Services, Lisa Vertulfo and Director of Programs for Africa, Bruce Dahl, arrive in Haiti

Members of Holt staff arrived in Port-au-Prince Wednesday morning (January 27th), and traveled directly to Holt Fontana Village to provide assistance and support to Holt’s dedicated and caring Haiti staff.

“Over the next few weeks, Bruce Dahl (Africa Program Director) and Holt Haiti Director, Mansour Masse, will be assessing and determining what role and task Holt will have next in helping the children and families in Haiti,” said Holt Senior Vice President, Phil Littleton.

Holt is currently waiting for the Haiti Prime Minister to sign off on the visa paperwork that will allow the majority of children at the Village, matched with families prior to the earthquake, to travel to the United States and be united with their adoptive families.  From there, Holt hopes to be able to provide care to more children who lost their families in the earthquake.

Click here for more updates on Haiti

Click here to read a story from the Journal Sentinel about a Holt adoptive family who hopes to have their daughter home with them soon.

Winter Jam Off to a Great Start

Winter Jam 2010, a concert tour featuring Christian artists like: Newsboys, Third Day, and hosted by Newsong, continues to be a major force in raising awareness and support for orphaned, abandoned and vulnerable children overseas.

The tour, so far, has seen many generous and caring people make the decision to help a child through Holt International’s sponsorship program, and the tour still has 2 full months of touring dates left.   Speaker, Tony Nolan, has offered hope and helped pave the way for orphaned and abandoned children to be given the assistance they desperately need.

A recent newsstory from Urban Christian News reports on Winter Jam 2010’s record-breaking start.   Also, see locations and venues for  remaining concerts and sign up to volunteer to help concert-goers as they select children to sponsor.

Urban Christian News:

Following the first six dates, Christian music’s largest annual tour, the Winter Jam 2010 Tour Spectacular, has kicked-off with the highest average attendance in its 15-year history. Launching January 8 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Winter Jam has seen nearly 63,000 attendees to date, an average spike of more than 9% from last year, making history for the Tour franchise. Concerts at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida, each drew crowds in excess of 13,000. In addition, Winter Jam has facilitated 1,401 sponsorship commitments to adoption and child welfare organization Holt International, to help meet the needs of orphaned children around the world. Continue reading “Winter Jam Off to a Great Start”

Help For the People of Haiti

Holt is assisting Children and Families affected by the devastating Earthquake

The 7.0 magnitude earthquake that hit Haiti on Tuesday saw children and families, already starving and impoverished, left with nothing. Holt is now in Haiti helping to assist the children and families who are struggling to survive in this broken country.

Although communication with our staff in Haiti continues to be difficult and there are still many unknowns, we have learned from Holt-Haiti Director, Mansour Masse that the 30 children being cared for at Holt Fontana Village are “OK.”  Holt has been in Haiti since 2004 and the Village, located about 40 miles North of Port-au-Prince, is home to children waiting to go home to their permanent families in the United States.

“We are profoundly grateful the children and staff in our center are safe,” said Holt President and CEO, Kim Brown. “We still do not have an assessment of the 120 families in our Family Preservation program, and we are doing all we can to determine their safety.”

Christian music group and Holt advocate, Julian Drive, was in Haiti on a humanitarian trip when the earthquake hit. The group has now safely made it home to the United States.

“As we flew away and looked over the devastated city,” said Shane Bowers. “I could not help but have a huge burden in my heart for those left behind that are now forced to try and reassemble a life that was already so broken to start with. God help the people of Haiti.”

Before departing Haiti, the group did whatever they could to help in this dire situation and be an encouragement to the frightened children at Holt Fontana Village. They put on a concert for the children in the Village and the surrounding community and brought a little brightness into the lives of the families who have lost so much. Continue reading “Help For the People of Haiti”

Holt’s Longchuan Project

Children in Holt’s Longchuan project in China were able to stay in school and many of them were able to remain with their families thanks to help from Holt Sponsors and generous donors.

The children, many of whom have lost one or both their parents to AIDS, received school uniforms, shoes, school bags, supplies and nutritious school meals. In some areas the children were also provided with health insurance and mosquito netting to prevent malaria.

Initiated in March 2007 as a way to expand services to children and families at risk due to poverty or impacted by HIV/AIDS, the Longchuan project works in partnership with local schools and teachers. The goal is to provide children with the opportunity to remain with their families and continue their education. Because of generous Sponsors, Holt has helped 325 children in the Longchuan project.

Sponsor a Child Today!

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”

Julian Drive Makes it Home

Holt is happy to report that Shane Bowers, and other members of the Christian music group, Julian Drive,  have made it safely back to the United States.

The group, along with Holt Director of Donor engagement, Kris Thompson, was in Haiti on a humanitarian trip when the 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit.  In the days that followed, they did whatever they could to reach out to the Haitian children and families in the local community who were devastated by this terrible tragedy.  This included spending some time at the Holt Fontana Village, where they were able to play with and comfort the children in care there.

The group also put on a concert for the children in the village and the surrounding community, bringing a little brightness into the lives of the families who have lost so much.

The team made it to the airport on Friday and witnessed many pallets of relief products being unloaded from planes.

“As we flew away and looked over the devastated city,” said Shane Bowers.  “I could not help but have a huge burden in my heart for those left behind that are now forced to try and reassemble a life that was already so broken to start with. God help the people of Haiti.”

Click here to read another blog entry from Shane Bowers

Heartbreaking times in Haiti

Kris Thompson, Holt’s Director of Donor Engagement, was in Haiti along with Christian music group, Julian Drive, when the 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Tuesday afternoon. The following is Kris’ account of that day.

By Kris Thompson, Director of Donor Engagement

Monstrouis, Haiti—We are 40 miles from Port-au-Prince so we really felt the quake, and the aftershocks have been very intense. There is major panic amongst The Haitians, as they have never experienced anything like this before. Our group had just gotten out of our vehicle at the hotel when it hit. The car was shaking in all different directions, and I am amazed that the wall we were next to didn’t come down. As we looked up at the mountains, we witnessed major rockslides in the area we were supposed to travel to that day.

We could tell it was a major earthquake, and Eric and I both said we thought it was a 7 or 8 magnitude. We told everyone to try their cell phones and go online to get word to the families that we were OK. As soon as the send button was pushed we lost all access.

Most of the people in our hotel slept outside last night, and we all stayed in our rooms with evacuation plans. The last major tremor I felt was at 12:15 a.m. actually strong enough to get me out of bed. The hotel and Holt Fontana Village survives on generators so our access to TV, computers etc. are limited, and the phones were not working.

The Holt Fontana Village in Montrouis didn’t have any damage, and Holt-Haiti Director, Mansour Masse, reported that the beautiful children are all OK and took it in stride. The caregivers stay at Holt Fontana Village during the week to care for the children and then go home to Port-au-Prince. Please pray for these ladies, as they are so worried and have not heard from their families.

Mansour Masse’s life changed yesterday as so many children became orphans last night.  Mansour will be their Hope through Holt. Well…as I am typing this we hear loud cries…one of the care providers just found out two of her family members died last night…it just breaks my heart.

We had great prayer time with the Holt Field Director, and we have already had many prayers answered. Mansour is doing an incredible job taking care of everyone.