10 Ways Holt Donors Changed Kids’ Lives in 2019

You did some truly amazing things in the lives of children and families this past year.

As Holt sponsors, donors, volunteers and advocates, you gave your time, money and energy to make sure as many children as possible could grow up with the love, stability and opportunity they deserve. And because of you — because of your kindness and generosity — 283,212 children and families in 14 countries around the world received the life-changing care and services they needed in 2019!

Seriously, you’re amazing. And we’re so incredibly thankful for you.

Just to give you a glimpse, here are 10 specific ways that your heartfelt giving changed the lives of children and families in Holt programs last year:

You helped kids. LOTs of kids!

Continue reading “10 Ways Holt Donors Changed Kids’ Lives in 2019”

Special Needs Adoption Fund: Bringing Home Shelby

Every day 2-year-old Shelby Jane spent in an orphanage in China, she grew weaker. She needed to come home to her adoptive family — and fast — but finances stood in the way. That’s when a Holt donor stepped in to help.

Two-year-old Shelby Jane had a hole in her tiny heart, a blood condition called thalassemia and chronic cases of pneumonia and bronchitis that caused her to be hospitalized just about every month of her 24-month life. She could not speak, could not crawl and could not chew food. Every day she spent in an orphanage in China, she grew weaker.

Her adoptive parents, Michelle and Adam Campbell, needed to bring her home — and fast.

“We knew we needed to go get her because she wasn’t getting the care she needed. Waiting,” Michelle says, “wasn’t an option.”

Shelby at her orphanage in China before coming home to her family.
Shelby at her orphanage in China before coming home to her family. While living in the orphanage, Shelby spent part of every month in the hospital due to pneumonia or bronchitis.

Continue reading “Special Needs Adoption Fund: Bringing Home Shelby”

The Least We Can Do — Adoption Fundraising

Jing with her family. She appears center, in her dad’s arms

When Koni and Ken Maat decide to adopt a 3-year-old girl from China with significant medical needs, they begin adoption fundraising — and are moved by the generosity of others who help them bring her home.

Everything in life was great! Our four biological children were all healthy, successful adults and the youngest was halfway through college. We could go where we wanted, when we wanted, without a thought to childcare or bedtimes. And I was finally able to have a dedicated guest room that I had always wanted in our modest home.

I was excited as I planned, painted and decorated the guest room, imagining the family and out-of-town friends who would stay there. When it was completed, I would periodically open the door and look in. It was the one room in the house that was always perfect and glancing in gave me a sense of peace. The satisfaction was short-lived. It seemed so pointless to have this empty room when there were children without a home. I began to research foster care, domestic adoption and international adoption. I would read waiting children’s bios knowing I could help them. I began frequently mentioning my desire and my findings to my husband, Ken, but was met with silence. On the occasion he did respond, he made it clear that he thought I was crazy for wanting to mess up our clearly perfect lifestyle. Continue reading “The Least We Can Do — Adoption Fundraising”

Adoption Grants Helped These Four Children Join Loving Families

In 2015 alone, 55 children joined loving families through adoption with the help of a grant from Holt’s Special Needs Adoption Fund. As cost is one of the biggest barriers for families wishing to adopt, this fund is so critical for children with special needs who are waiting to feel the nurturing love and stability of a family. Today, we want to tell you about four beautiful children … all of whom found a second chance at love and family because of the generosity of strangers.



Lucy was just days old when she was found abandoned in China. Born with albinism, Lucy has very little pigment in her skin and may one day need surgery for low vision. For seven years, Lucy waited for a family. Then, finally, the right family came along. Read more here. Continue reading “Adoption Grants Helped These Four Children Join Loving Families”

Get Ready for a Month of Myth-Busting!


Fact or Fiction: All adopted children are orphans.

Fact or Fiction: Only girls need families.

Fact or Fiction: Everything you read online is true.

The myths surrounding adoption — particularly international adoption — abound. They lurk in forums and blogs, on Facebook and Wikipedia. They show up in movies, which though fictional, have tremendous power to misinform. They sometimes even pop up in traditional media — sharing information that was likely at one time, but is no longer, true.

With so many unchecked facts spread across so many different mediums, it’s difficult to tell the truth from the fiction. And perhaps the greatest threat of an adoption myth is its potential to deter a family from adopting — because they think they don’t earn enough, that it will take too long, that singles can’t adopt, even that the need for families to adopt internationally no longer exists!

In short, adoption myths can mean the difference of a permanent, loving family for a child who truly needs one. That’s why, this National Adoption Month, we are launching a campaign to dispel the most pervasive adoption myths. Continue reading “Get Ready for a Month of Myth-Busting!”

Growing Family, Growing Faith — Fundraising for Adoption

When the three families featured in this story felt called to adopt, they feared that the expense of adoption would be a major obstacle. Rather than focusing on their bank accounts, the families turned toward God and fundraising to bring their child home.

Laura Sykora with her husband and 4-year-old son. Laura and her husband adopted their son from Ethiopia at 10 months old in 2010. Laura and her husband are ready to travel to Ethiopia to bring their second adopted child, a 5-year-old girl, home.


When families interested in adopting a child express their financial concerns to Laura Sykora, she nods her head with genuine understanding. As the Branch Assistant for Holt’s Midwest branch, Laura knows — really knows — how scary it can be to adopt without upfront financial backing. But then, she looks at the picture of her son on her desk, a beautiful 4-year-old she and her husband brought home from Ethiopia at 10 months old in 2010. She thinks about Maci her 5-year-old daughter, who is still in care in Ethiopia while the Sykoras wait for their second adoption to finalize. They are just a few weeks away from boarding a plane to pick her up, and take her home to join their permanent, loving family.

At the same time that Laura helps other couples through the process of adoption through Holt, she fund raises to pay for two of her own, back-to-back.

“Most people don’t have an extra $25 or $30,000 lying around,” Laura says. “Families come in and one thing they want to discuss are the costs. They are fearful because they may have already tried other expensive options, like fertility treatments.”

Continue reading “Growing Family, Growing Faith — Fundraising for Adoption”