A Stork Bound for South Jersey

Twenty-two years ago, William Davis wasn’t just adopted by a family. He was adopted by a region. Now, he aims to give back to the community that gave him a love for baseball, and a place to call home. William’s essay was a finalist in Holt’s 2016 adoptee essay contest. 

White Coat
William with his parents at his medical school’s “white coat” ceremony.

I don’t remember my parents ever telling me that I was adopted. I certainly knew at an early age; I remember responding to another child’s, “Do you know that you’re adopted?” with an off-handed, “Of course,” when I was 7 or so. I wasn’t that perceptive, though, as apparently my parents had told me when I was even younger, showing me videos of me coming home from Philadelphia International Airport and pictures of my brief time in South Korea from time to time.

I think that molded how I thought of adoption. From my (very basic) understanding of cognitive development, really young children’s brains aren’t entirely convinced that something has actually happened if they don’t experience it firsthand. That meant that being adopted was just a word, something that might not even exist, especially compared to all the hugs and kisses and band-aids and bedtimes from Mom and Dad. Continue reading “A Stork Bound for South Jersey”

Where Are They Now: Seven Years After the Earthquake

Adoptee Nephtalie Moore was still in Haiti when the country’s devastating earthquake of 2010 hit. Her older sister, Martine, and soon-to-be adoptive family were in South Carolina. One year later, Martine and Nephtalie were reunited — solidifying a bond that today remains as strong as ever.

Rebecca, Nephtalie and Martine

Rebecca Moore was the first one in her family to wake to the news on January 12, 2010. A 7.0 magnitude earthquake had struck close to Haiti’s capital of Port-au-Prince. Hundreds of thousands were feared dead. Buildings were leveled and millions of families were now homeless. Haiti, already the poorest country in the western hemisphere, now faced even more devastation and uncertainty. Millions in the United States and around the world clung to their televisions and computers, awaiting updates. People sent prayers, churches and communities gathered for vigils, and local relief agencies prepared to send aid to our distressed neighbors in the south.

But for the Moore family of South Carolina, the catastrophic event hit even closer to home. In the midst of the devastation, at a Holt-supported care center near Port-au-Prince, the Moore family’s soon-to-be adopted daughter, Nephtalie, waited to come home. Her biological sister, Martine, was already home with the Moores. Continue reading “Where Are They Now: Seven Years After the Earthquake”

A Story I Won’t Stop Sharing

For most of her life, Holt adoptee Molly Martin viewed her adoption as something that just “happened.”  But after traveling to Thailand to meet her birth mom, she developed a completely different outlook — and a deeper understanding of how loved she truly is. Molly’s story was a finalist in Holt’s 2016 adoptee essay contest. 


For someone who was adopted at a young age, being adopted seems, for lack of a better word, normal. For as long as I can remember, except for a few blurry memories, being adopted is all that I have known. I don’t really remember what it was like not to be adopted, so being adopted has always seemed somewhat natural and definitely not really anything worth talking about. However, at the same time, being adopted isn’t normal. While I can’t speak for all kids that have been adopted, I think a lot of us, at some point or another, have entertained the thought that our situations aren’t normal. Surely, not looking like my family wasn’t normal and the thought that my biological family did not want me was always in the back of my mind. But those aren’t exactly things that most kids want to talk about. Continue reading “A Story I Won’t Stop Sharing”

The Story Behind The Photo: This Way to Your Birth Family


This photo shows the sign on the side of the highway listing “Campina Grande” that we — me, my mother and our three family friends — saw as we drove to meet my birth family. This was the sign that literally pointed us in the direction of our most unbelievable, loving and fulfilling adoption reunion.

I searched for my birth family for 22 years before locating them. One year after that, my mother and I, along with our family friends, embarked on the journey to come face to face with as many birth family members as possible. Continue reading “The Story Behind The Photo: This Way to Your Birth Family”

The Story Behind the Photo: Dancing On Pointe

Growing up in China, Qiulan Henderson wondered if she maybe wasn’t beautiful or smart enough to be adopted. She wondered if she would ever feel trust or love, or ever believe in herself. But when a family in Oregon saw the beautiful soul inside 10-year-old Qiulan, and welcomed her into their home, she began to learn the truth about family, about love, and about herself. Below, Quilan shares her experience of joining a family through international adoption — what she feared, what she lost, and what she became as she opened her heart to healing and love.  

yue_qiu_lan_photoWhen I look at the picture of me in China, I remember myself and I feel hopeless; I have no hope for my future. I don’t know how I will get trust and love, and ever believe in myself. That photo was a fake happy, but I did have some light to see me through.

When I look at the photo of me in America, I see how much my life has changed in a good way. Holt helped me to turn my life around to find the love and trust, and there is always healing in your heart where ever you go. Life isn’t perfect, but I feel like an inspirational girl — happy, fresh and free. Before I was like a pair of flat, old ballet shoes.  Holt turned my life around, and now I am on pointe. Continue reading “The Story Behind the Photo: Dancing On Pointe”

Someone To Look Up To

Holt adoptee Duncan Atwood reflects on what this photo from the annual Holt Family Campout in Oregon means to him, and why he feels a responsibility to the next generation of adoptees.


Whenever I look at this picture, or any picture from Holt Family Campout, I see lots of things. I see happiness. I see smiles. I see laughter. I see family. And I see a lot of reasons why I like to try to attend Campout every year. Continue reading “Someone To Look Up To”

Empowered by Adoption

At the end of the 2016 Holt Heritage Tour to Korea, adoptee Kora Hanson spoke with the tour group about her personal perspective on adoption. Here is what she said:

UnknownAfter hearing some of the adoption stories from the older adoptees, I felt compelled to share my experience with adoption, since I am one of the youngest adoptees here.

My mom is an adoptee herself; both my mom and dad are actively involved with Holt on the Board of Directors and have traveled around the world on Holt missions; I have attended Holt picnics, auctions, and Holt Korea trips since grade school; and more recently I’ve witnessed my mom’s nonprofit organization, Love Beyond the Orphanage. I have grown up with adoption being a daily topic around the house.

With that being said, I have pretty much always viewed my adoption as empowering. As a child, I always had a fun fact to share about myself during show and tell. As an athlete, I stood out not only for my talent but for my distinctive features. And now as a young adult, I feel it is empowering to experience moments like these with other adoptees and their families, watching everyone see Korea and embrace our beautiful culture.

Continue reading “Empowered by Adoption”

Krista in Korea: What’s in a Name?

Adoptee Krista Gause continues to share about her experience on the Holt Heritage Tour in Korea. In this entry, she tells about a meaningful gift she received from Holt staff in Korea. 

Today we went to Holt Children’s Services office in Seoul, and a lot happened! But for right now I’d like to share just one of the dozen experiences we went through today.

Within a small auditorium we were greeted by some of the post adoption services members. Each of them incredibly kind. We are formally greeted by Esther who I’m excited to finally meet because I’ve heard her name thrown around so many times during my search. After watching a quick video we are assigned a case worker and we divide up into groups (I’m assigned to Esther). But before that, Holt informs us that they have a gift for all the adoptees. It’s a bag with various items within it, but the most sentimental piece is a necklace with our Korean names engraved on it.

Continue reading “Krista in Korea: What’s in a Name?”

Found in Korea

Nam Holtz is a Korean adoptee who began a formalized search for her birth family and culture more than five years ago. With the help of a friend and director, Nam documented her return to Korea and today is working to produce her film, Found in Korea, based on her experience. During her 21-day visit to Korea, Nam traveled to three separate cities, retracing the steps of her infanthood, looking for foster family, birth family and other caregivers. What she found was more complicated and compelling than anything she could have initially anticipated. Nam says she hopes that Found in Korea can be a tool for adoptive families and adoptees to discuss birth family and adoption in more organic, natural ways. She also wants to expand the conversation and often limited narratives about the complexities of adoption.

We spoke with Nam on Tuesday, May 14, 2016 to ask some questions about her film, what she’s learned about adoption and the intricate web of strangers who have encouraged her to continue pursuing Found in Korea.

Holt International: You’ve been working on your film Found In Korea for more than 5 years. It’s both a film about adoption and also a very personal project, since it chronicles your search for birth family and birth culture. What has driven you to keep fighting to make this film for so long?

Nam Holtz: As I’ve been working on this film, I’ve become more involved in adoption communities and with other Korean adoptees and other adoption sources. I’m realizing there are some films out there that talk about adoption and are made to help people learn and heal, but there aren’t many.

I’ve received lots of emails and encouragement from people who have asked me to keep making this film as a resource for adoptees or adoptive families or just the greater public. I’ve also learned that just talking about adoption in an honest and open way can be difficult. Continue reading “Found in Korea”

Inspired Ideas, Generous Hearts

We’re always amazed by how truly talented and entrepreneurial so many of our supporters are in how they raise money and give to Holt. The people below are no exception. Read about what their creative and inspired ideas to provide for vulnerable children and families around the world. Thank you for your creativity, hard work and generosity!



For her senior project, Holt adoptee Paige Worthington hosted a game night and sent out letters to raise money for children who need cleft lip and palate surgeries.

Holt adoptee Paige Worthington is a rock star when it comes to making a difference for kids in China. Back in 2008, when she was a third-grader, we featured Paige’s photo on our blog because she gave a presentation to her classmates about raising money for earthquake victims in China.

Now she’s a senior in high school and still doing big things to help abandoned and vulnerable children in China!

As she began to think about her high school senior project, Paige knew she wanted to use it as a fundraiser to support children in China through Holt.

Holt and the Holt China program have a special place in Paige’s heart. Not only is she herself a Holt adoptee from China, but so is her younger sister. She also has two cousins who are Korean adoptees through Holt. Continue reading “Inspired Ideas, Generous Hearts”