The Story Behind the Photo: 86 and Counting


At the beginning of November, to kick off National Adoption Month, we shared a collage of all the children on our waiting child photolisting — just a small glimpse of the hundreds of children who we are seeking families for at any given time. We hoped it would kindle a passion in our supporters to help advocate for children who need loving families of their own. And it did!

You shared our waiting child stories. You reposted our advocacy blogs. You helped us tell the story behind each and every photo that we featured on social media during National Adoption Month.

The photo above represents the number of children from our photolisting that we have — thanks in part to your advocacy — matched with families so far in 2016. The black and white blocks represent the children who now are, or soon will be, part of a loving and secure family. The ones in color represent the children who we still need your help advocating for.

In total this year, Holt has matched 86 children from the photolisting — and another 200+ directly with a family! This is something to celebrate!

But we seek a world where every child has a loving and secure home. And until that day comes, we intend to keep working hard to advocate for the children left behind — and we ask you to join us.

One of the best ways that you can support our advocacy efforts is through sharing the stories we post about waiting children. That can be anything from pressing “like” or “share” on Facebook to leading an informational meeting in your community. Creativity is encouraged and we look forward to hearing what you come up with!

Thank you again for your heart and compassion for children who need families. Allied with you, we can achieve anything!
learn help advocate

Rowan Needs a Family!

Rowan Needs a Family
Rowan is resilient!

A $7,000 Special Blessings grant is available to help the right family bring Rowan home!

Eleven-year-old Rowan has had to overcome many challenges, but he is perseverant and quick to recover from and adapt to the changes in his life.

He came into Holt’s care when he was 3 months old, and was severely malnourished. He has several special needs, including congenital heart disease and abnormal curvature of the spine. In 2010, after doctors preformed surgery on his heart, they predicted he would only live 5 years. He didn’t let that discourage him, though, and now — 7 years later — he is thriving and beating all the odds!

Rowan has also had spinal surgery, but to fully repair the curvature in his spine, he will need additional medical care that’s not currently available in Vietnam. He doesn’t let that slow him down, though, and he is able to do any physical activities that the other kids can do! (Watch him dance in the video!)

Through all of the hardships that he has had to endure, Rowan adapts and goes on with his life. He does well in school, is eager to learn and his caregivers say he has a particularly good memory. His favorite things to do are playing soccer and badminton with his friends, and he appreciates praise for his accomplishments. He is an easygoing kid who also enjoys reading and trying new foods. Someday, when he grows up, Rowan wants to be a police officer.

Rowan understands adoption and would love a family of his own, especially one with a brother or sister. He needs a family that can provide for his medical needs and help him overcome the challenges that he faces.

Could you or someone you know be Rowan’s permanent family? To learn more about Rowan, please visit his photolisting profile and contact Holt’s adoption advisor, Caitlin Howe.

DOB: 6/15/06 | SE Asia




Running From The Heart: A Chicago Marathon Team Advocates for Holt

Adoption advocate Suzi Gurry shares about the training, dedication and heart behind Holt’s runners in the 2015 Chicago Marathon.


You could say I am somewhat of an inspiration junkie. As an artist, I’m forced to pay closer attention than most to the highs and lows of life to continue a reason to put the paintbrush into the paint and onto the canvas. Like most people, success stories inspire me. I am on a constant search to uncover where inspiration lies and often find myself at the tail end of a success story. With age, I find that I am drawn more and more to the part of a story that comes before the trophy is engraved and before the medal is handed over. For me, the most memorable part of a success story is the beginning and the middle. The influence lies in the struggle and the training, the part where we sweat and cry and push through pain with grit and raw determination. I am highly motivated by the stick-to-it-iveness of ordinary folks reaching for something extraordinary for a profoundly personal reason. Success itself is not an inherently beautiful thing, but the reasons we reach for it and go for it can prove to be utterly captivating. Continue reading “Running From The Heart: A Chicago Marathon Team Advocates for Holt”

The Heart Warriors

As Holt’s China team works to find families for a growing number of children with complex heart disease, a partnership develops with Little Hearts Medical — a groundbreaking, U.S.-based organization of cardiac surgeons, cardiologists and adoptive families who are working to ensure children receive the medical interventions they need early on, and while still in China.

Max Preston came home to his family in June 2015 and is now receiving the cardiac care he needs to thrive!

In June 2014, when hopeful adoptive parents Heather and Vince Preston received a referral from Holt’s China program, they were prepared for a child with a heart condition. They had expressed their openness to this special need when applying, and they knew the need was great.

But neither of them were medical doctors. And they knew that “heart condition” could mean a broad spectrum of things — from a minor hole that would close on its own to a chronic, life-threatening disease that would require round-the-clock care. Before accepting the referral, they needed more information. And they needed advice from someone experienced — someone who knew what she was talking about. Someone like Andrea.

But as Heather soon discovered, there’s no one quite “like” Andrea.

“At the time, I was excited to speak with her,” Heather says of Andrea, who often mentors Holt families who are considering an adoption of a child with complex heart disease (CHD). “But I did not realize how valuable this conversation would be.”

A mother of six with five children adopted through Holt — four of whom have CHD — Andrea also serves as executive director of Little Hearts Medical, an organization that brings life-saving cardiac care to orphaned children and children from poor families in China. Needless to say, she’s a busy woman. But not too busy to take Heather’s call.

Heather and Vince Preston with their two boys, both adopted from China.

While the Prestons barreled down the highway en route to a family camping trip, Andrea sat on the phone with Heather for two straight hours — answering their questions, from a parent’s perspective, about the referral they received from Holt. Although the child’s medical file had already been assessed by a pediatric cardiologist, the information contained a lot of medical jargon and confusing information. “Throughout the two-hour drive, Andrea talked with us about [our soon-to-be son] Max’s particular flavor of CHD based upon the file review,” Heather says. Continue reading “The Heart Warriors”

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”

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”

SNAF Stories: It’s A Wonderful Life

Feeling grateful and inspired after adopting their daughter, Zoe, from Korea in 2010, Maryann and Cap Post decided to have a celebration — inviting 150 friends and family members. Instead of gifts, they asked for donations to Holt’s Special Needs Adoption Fund.  What happened next, quite simply, blew them away.

by Robin Munro, Senior Writer

When Maryann and Charles “Cap” Post came home from Korea in October of 2010 – their newly adopted daughter Zoe in their arms – they didn’t expect fanfare. But as they pulled into the driveway of their New Jersey home around 10 p.m. that night, flashbulbs greeted their arrival.

Zoe and Maryann at Zoe’s baptism party!

“My friends were in our driveway with cameras flashing,” says Maryann. “People were so happy for us that we adopted a little girl.”

Over the previous 2-and-a-half years, these same friends had stood by their side as they navigated the demanding and – at times – trying adoption process. “They knew the whole story of what it took, a lot of paperwork,” Maryann explains. So naturally, when Miss Zoe Ann Post finally came home, they couldn’t wait to meet her.

But after the excitement of their first night home, Maryann and Cap decided not to subject Zoe to any more excitement or over-stimulation – not for a while anyway.

After nearly a year had passed – and Zoe had settled into her new life – the Posts decided it was finally time to have a celebration. “It was time to plan her baptism, so I thought, well why don’t we make this a really big party – the party that we held off on having?” says Maryann.

By now, Zoe had become something of a local celebrity. Continue reading “SNAF Stories: It’s A Wonderful Life”

Join the Team — Run, Ride or Swim to Help Waiting Kids Find Families!

Do you like to run? Have you ever thought about doing your first 5K? Are you a triathlete, or know someone who is? If so, consider joining Team Orphans! Choose a race, find friends to sponsor you, and race while raising money for Brittany’s Hope Foundation.

Pia came home with help from a Brittany’s Hope grant raised by Team Orphans.
Brittany’s Hope provides grants to help families adopt specific waiting children, all of whom have medical needs, are older, or are part of a sibling group. By partnering with Holt and other adoption agencies, this wonderful grant-making foundation helps ensure that waiting children are united with the loving families they deserve.

In their efforts to raise money for these special needs adoptions, Brittany’s Hope has launched a nationwide campaign called “Team Orphans.” Participants choose a race, set a fundraising goal and then find friends and supporters to sponsor them. After the race, they donate the money they raised to Brittany’s Hope Foundation, which in turn puts the funds toward special needs adoption grants.

The idea for Team Orphans started with Rebecca Cruttenden of Michigan, a dedicated mom of three adopted children and a 2003 Brittany’s Hope grant recipient. An active swimmer, cyclist and runner, Rebecca decided to participate in her first half Ironman triathlon in 2010. At the same time, she decided to put her energy toward a good cause – raising money for Brittany’s Hope as a way to “pay back” the grant she received in 2003. She raised $10,000, paying the grant back in full. In total, she has raised over $28,000 for Brittany’s Hope in the last 3 years through her Ironman events. Her next race is Ironman Arizona, Nov. 17, 2013.

After founding Team Orphans in February 2012, more than 50 other athletes from 9 states joined Rebecca’s cause — raising over $33,000 to help children from Ethiopia, Colombia, China, Bulgaria, and South Korea join forever families. For 2013, Team Orphans is seeking more partners to help more children experience the miracle of adoption. 

Clara also came home with help from funds raised by Team Orphans.

Athlete or Not, Team Orphans Offers Many Ways to Get Involved:

  1. Sign up for a race or triathlon, set your fundraising goal, and sign up at  Remember, you don’t need to be fast; just finish!
  2. Share this article with someone you know who likes to run, bike or swim, and offer to be their first sponsor.
  3. Volunteer to put the Team Orphans flyer in the registration packets of a race in your city. Contact or more information.
  4. Sponsor a Team Orphans athlete with a tax-deductible donation at
Thanks to Team Orphans, Joel is now home as well!

Children Who Give: After Thailand Floods, A Holt Adoptee Helps His Former Foster Family

Last November, as the worst monsoon flooding in over 50 years submerged Thailand’s homes, businesses and farms, Zach and Henry Zimmerman came up with a great idea to help with the recovery effort! In particular, Zach — a Holt adoptee from Thailand — wanted to help his former foster mom rebuild her house. So Zach, 5, and Henry, 9,  put together a poster about the Thailand floods to bring to their school’s International Night — an annual event to celebrate diversity. Together, they raised $83.50 for Holt’s Thailand Rehabilitation Fund, which will help us repair and rebuild homes for the many Holt foster families displaced by the floods. Thank you Zach and Henry for your extraordinary efforts!

A Q&A with Mariia Zimmerman, mom of Zach and Henry

Henry (left) and Zach (right) with the poster they made to help raise funds for Thailand flood relief.

How old are your boys and what grade are they in?
Zachary is 5 and started Kindergarten this fall. Henry is 9 and in the 4th grade.

How long did Zach live with his foster mother in Thailand?
Zachary lived with his foster mom for 16 months. We adopted him when he was 18 months old.

What does he remember about his foster mom (and foster family)?
Zachary doesn’t remember very much, but we talk about his culture and history with him. He’s very curious to know about it all and asks lots of questions. We have pictures of Zachary with his foster mom that Holt sent to us while we were waiting the nine long months between referral and being able to go over to Thailand and bring him home. These are part of Zach’s adoption book, which he likes to read and discuss all the photos.

One of the stories we like to tell is that his foster mother lived very close to a Buddhist temple, which had an area for children to play soccer in the courtyard. Zachary spent a lot of time there when he was a baby, watching the children. His foster mom told us he always had a laugh when they played soccer and he learned to kick a ball shortly after he could walk. When we met Zachary, he already had really good soccer skills and to this day he loves to play. It was one of the things that we did a lot of when he first joined our family, since his older brother also enjoyed playing and it didn’t require either knowing how to speak the other’s language.

Continue reading “Children Who Give: After Thailand Floods, A Holt Adoptee Helps His Former Foster Family”

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?”