It Takes a Village: Holt Sponsors Change Lives in Ethiopia

Shinshicho — a district capital in southern Ethiopia.

Ten years ago, Holt sponsors began supporting children and families in the impoverished community of Shinshicho — a district capital in southern Ethiopia where goats and cattle still roam the unpaved roads that lead through town, few homes or businesses have electricity or running water, and donkeys are the primary mode of transportation.

Here, as throughout Ethiopia, years of civil war and drought have robbed many families of their livelihoods, while famine and illness have robbed many children of their parents. Most families in rural Ethiopia subsist on what they can grow on small plots of land, which is often just barely enough to feed their families. But in 2008, when Holt began working alongside local leaders and community elders, life began to change for many children and families in Shinshicho. Continue reading “It Takes a Village: Holt Sponsors Change Lives in Ethiopia”

Given in Faith

When sponsor Jenna Curtis got an unexpected check in the mail, she prayerfully considered how to use it. Deciding to give it to her sponsored child in Haiti, she then watched in astonishment as its impact rippled far beyond what she could have imagined. 

Jenna during one of her trips to Haiti.
Jenna travels to Haiti regularly, so she knew she wanted to sponsor a child from this country that, she says, had already stolen her heart.

Halfway through the concert, the music stopped and someone took to the stage. There with a group of high school students from her church, Jenna Curtis — a college student in her last semester — knew what was coming. She had heard this before, and already knew what she had to do.

Continue reading “Given in Faith”

On Her Darkest Day

The day Erika left her two sons at an orphanage felt like the end of her world. But when generous donors gave her a way to pick up the pieces of her life, she started a path forward that led her back to the light — and back to her kids.

 Last year Erika was accepted to a vocational training program that is helping her earn enough income to give her kids a stable home.
Erika, 23, blow-dries a client’s hair. Thanks to sponsors and donors, last year Erika was accepted to a vocational training program that is helping her earn enough income to give her kids a stable home.

Erika’s stained clothes draped loosely off her already tiny frame. Her hair was snarled and knotted — her skin dirty.

She held one little boy in one arm and clutched another’s hand. Both boys, like their mom, were thin and messy.

They dipped through the doorway of a two-story building on a street stacked with single-room homes in southern Bogotá, not far from the hilly area where Erika grew up. Continue reading “On Her Darkest Day”

The Best Days

Three times a year — for Christmas, International Day of the Child in June and for back-to-school in August — child sponsors have the opportunity to send a personalized card or bookmark to their sponsored child. Sponsors also make special donations to buy presents, throw parties and give special meals to kids. Holt’s on-the-ground staff and kids want you to know how much joy, lightness and excitement you give them during these special celebrations. Read just a few of our favorite updates from 2018 parties!

“Kids were extremely happy to see the photos of their sponsor and excited to share their birthday cards with their classmates and teachers.” CHINA

Continue reading “The Best Days”

Because of You, Phal and Her Siblings Have a New Home

Poverty is complicated.

It’s never the same from one family or child to another.

And, while it can be defined by not having enough — material goods, resources, support, opportunities — there are no perfect, broad solutions that help every child escape.

Keeping kids in school helps. Providing advocacy helps. Giving food and medical care helps. And for some families, that support is enough.

But some children need more. They need the individual attention, love and willingness to go the extra mile that parents usually provide.

Poverty also has some ugly, horrible cousins: abuse, neglect, loss.

But every child deserves the chance to reach their full potential. Every child deserves the love of a family to help them grow and reach their dreams.

Phal when she was 10. I received this photo in a sponsorship update on Phal, and it broke my heart.

I want to tell you about Phal. We shared her story in December in an urgent plea for help. And you responded so generously. I finally have a happy update.

Phal is the saddest child I have ever met. Continue reading “Because of You, Phal and Her Siblings Have a New Home”

Watching Her Grow Up

Linda and Jim Vail have sponsored You Jun since she was 9 years old. Now 18, You Jun wants to say thank you for supporting her all these years.

When Linda and Jim Vail first “met” their sponsored child — when they received her photo in the mail and first read about her life — she was 9, and in crisis.

You Jun’s mother hadn’t been in her life for years, her father struggled with substance abuse and died the year before, and not long after, her uncle passed away too. She and her grandmother were the only ones left.

“The little girl and her granny depend on each other,” her social worker wrote in a sponsor report from 2009. “They lead a hard life.”

You Jun and her grandmother live on less than one acre of land near the Chinese border with Burma. They grow rice to feed themselves — selling any surplus to pay for necessities. But it has never been enough to afford school for You Jun. Continue reading “Watching Her Grow Up”

2 Things We Try Before International Adoption

Do you know that Holt does more than adoption? Learn more about how our child-centric model drives our work, which includes programs to strengthen families!
Holt does more than adoption?!

A misconception we often hear is that Holt International is only an adoption agency. This probably stems from our long history in international adoption, but in truth, Holt serves far more children through programs that help them stay with their families.

At Holt, we in fact consider international adoption to be the last, best option for children. Holt’s model of adoption is child-centric, meaning that we uphold the needs of the child as our number one priority. Through this model, international adoption is the final effort we make to ensure that every child has a loving and secure home.

We believe, first and foremost, that every child deserves to grow and thrive in the loving care of their family, whenever possible.

To that end, we strengthen families who are on the edge and need just a little assistance to stay together. We do this through nutritional, financial, health, education and counseling services, which provide the tools and resources families need to independently care for their children. These programs would not be possible without our generous child sponsors!

Do you know that Holt does more than adoption? Learn more about how our child-centric model drives our work, which includes programs to strengthen families!Read about how Holt’s family strengthening program helped single moms in Haiti like Julia be able to provide for her family!

Unfortunately, and far too often, children are unable to stay with their birth family for a variety of reasons. While we strive to reunite children with their families when this happens, many children remain growing up in orphanages. When that is the case, our goal is to find a family through domestic adoption — which gives a child the opportunity to grow up in the country and culture of his or her birth.

Do you know that Holt does more than adoption? Learn more about how our child-centric model drives our work, which includes programs to strengthen families!

Finally, if the child is still waiting, then we begin to look at international adoption as a way to find a permanent and loving family. We understand the challenges that come with a child being adopted into a new country and culture, and so when international adoption becomes our only choice, we work very hard to make sure that the parents are as prepared as possible to care for the child. We have systems in place to prepare and support both the family and the adoptee — from the moment they apply to the moment they come home, and again when they need support, at any time throughout their lives.

Do you know that Holt does more than adoption? Learn more about how our child-centric model drives our work, which includes programs to strengthen families!Read about how international adoption gave Rini a chance at life.

Each child’s journey to a loving and secure home is different. But when you are matched, rest assured that every option was explored, and that international adoption was the best option for your child.

 

Learn more about what we do!

 

Never Their Fault

When a team of Holt donors travels to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia to build homes for four of the most vulnerable families in the poorest district of the city, something so unexpected happens — so stunning and so moving — they decide on the spot to build one more.

Amin-Erdene kneels down to zip up her little cousin’s vest — a shiny, hot pink, sleeveless thing that looks far too flimsy for the weather, which has dropped 40 degrees since yesterday. It’s early spring in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, a high desert region where the temperature can swing dramatically from both season to season and day to day. Yesterday, it reached the high 70s. Today, it’s in the low 30s, but feels even colder — a face-numbing, paralyzing cold that makes you want to curl into yourself like a potato bug.

Amin-Erdene zips up her cousin's vest on a 30-degree day in Ulaanbaatar.
Amin-Erdene zips up her cousin’s vest on a 30-degree day in Ulaanbaatar. They live next door to each other in the ger district of Mongolia.

But 7-year-old Amin-Erdene and her cousins seem unfazed.

In a country where in the depths of winter the temperature can drop 40 degrees below zero, this is nothing. Amin-Erdene blankets a heavy coat over her little cousin, who sits in an old car seat outside the crowded ger where they’ve been living. Her feet poke out of the coat, in socks and white-heeled dress shoes that make me think of something our local partner said — how parents will often keep their kids home from school in winter because they’re worried about frostbite, and they can’t afford warm shoes. Amin-Erdene’s older brother picks up another little cousin and snuggles her close to him, kissing her on the cheek. Continue reading “Never Their Fault”

Blow out the candles and make a wish.

Kids and birthdays go together. Need proof? Just watch the video above, where we ask kids why birthdays are the best day of the year.

Birthdays are a great day to remind children how special they are, how much we love them and that they are making the world a better place, simply by being themselves.

Send you sponsored child a special birthday card!

But children living in an impoverished place or facing a difficult hardship, like the child you sponsor, may rarely have a chance to hear that they are valuable, precious and worthy of celebration.

That’s why International Day of the Child is so fun! On June 1, because of you and your generosity, your sponsored child just gets to act like a kid.

They eat special treats, play fun games, spend time with their families and friends and open a present just for them.

But, it’s only because of kind and compassionate sponsors that this special day is possible. Continue reading “Blow out the candles and make a wish.”