If Proof Were Ever Needed

The China program was meant to find us,” says Jason McBride, “and it’s one we hope finds many others.”

by Jason & Ryan McBride | Haddonfield, New Jersey

We decided on adoption in the early summer months of 2009. By late July that year, we had settled on Holt International as our agency and the special needs process as our desired route. In early August 2010, exactly one year later, we came home from China with our son, Wyeth. Going into our decision to join the China special needs process, we had all the same questions and concerns that any family would. Is this something we can handle? Can we trust our agency to give us the right information? What if it doesn’t work out? Will we later be forced into a situation out of guilt?  We chose to write this article to answer some of these common questions that many of you are asking.  Since we’ve been home with Wyeth, we’ve felt so strongly about our results and have served as a “mentor family” for others potentially interested in the program.  We love making calls to prospective parents because it gives us a chance to share our experience, and most importantly…to play our small role in helping other families find the children they were meant for. Simply put, the program changed our lives, and so we want others to share in that miracle too.

From the start, Holt International made us feel confident in the decision we made.  Their staff satisfied every question, both before and during the process, and their time estimate for completing the program was accurate.  We were never hassled about choosing particular correctable problems on the checklist, nor did our child’s referral reflect anything other than what we had asked for.  Holt completely supported our initial list and even allowed us to alter it along the way. When we received our child’s referral, concerns and additional questions we insisted on were met with a prompt and honest response.  From our experience, we would not only recommend Holt International, but would fully endorse their China program as a wonderful way for families to find the children. Having been home for eight months now, Wyeth is 2 years old, completely healthy, and exceeding averages for his age in every area of development from language to social skills. In fact, the “minor, correctable problem” he was once diagnosed with in China was cured during our very first visit to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia… by nothing more than an inexpensive over- the-counter medicine. He’s intelligent, caring, and has a bright personality that attracts smiling faces everywhere we go.

Looking back, we often ask ourselves what life would be like had we allowed our initial hesitations, though reasonable, to determine our path to adoption. What if we had held onto the notion that a healthy child was only available through the standard process? What if we hadn’t taken that leap of faith? Through those questions, we now know what the real risk always was… that we were once in a place that came so very close to us never finding our beautiful son, Wyeth. Our leap of faith was the best thing that has ever happened to us.

This program was meant to find us, and it’s one we hope finds many others. In fact, we liked it so much that we’re doing it again!  Four months after returning home with Wyeth, we applied once more to Holt’s China program, this time to adopt our daughter.

To learn more about from China, click here





Take a Look at Her Now! — From Loving Caretakers to Loving Family

How a simple idea changed the life of a child in Holt’s care

Remember this story? In the summer of 2009, Tony Nolan, special guest speaker for Winter Jam, visited Holt’s care centers in China while traveling to meet his daughter, Fei Fei. On his journey, he met another very special little girl named *Qui. Born without feet, Qui would experience great pain while walking. Observing Qui’s struggles, a caretaker took initiative and created a simple device that helped Qui walk with comfort and ease. Tony Nolan and the rest of the team were touched by the caretaker’s love and consideration for the little girl.

“I am amazed at how much passion Holt staff has for these children, and how they demonstrate that passion in little and big ways,” said Tony. “To have someone at Nanchang who would have the creativity, desire and motivation to do something above and beyond the call of duty is just awesome!” ….Read about Qui and her loving caretaker in the story, “Little Steps.”

Today, 2 years later, Qui, now Lilah, is home with her parents, Anne and Mike, and her big brother, Luke.

“Where Luke came quietly into our home,” says Anne and Mike, “Lilah came in like a hurricane! She is high energy, boisterous, and terribly funny…we’re not sure Lilah believes she has a disability. No feet. No problem.” ….read about Lilah’s journey home, click here

Tony Nolan is currently on tour with Winter Jam 2011.  Click here for a concert near you, and for ways to help!  Holt still needs volunteers to help at each concert!

Click here to learn more about Holt’s China Child of Promise option for children with manageable, treatable conditions….

*Name changed

Happy Chinese New Year! Read a story from the Rees Family who adopted from the China Child of Promise program!

Happy Lunar New Year! Today, February 3rd, China ushers in the Year of the Rabbit – a year of good fortune for those born in Rabbit years, and a very exciting year in China adoptions!

Never before have Chinese boys and girls, toddler through school-age, had so many opportunities to have loving, adoptive families – particularly older children, and children with correctable/treatable physical conditions or moderate to serious special needs.

To learn more, register for Holt’s upcoming webinar, “Adopting from China,” on the 10th or 24th.

• Learn the different China adoption “tracks,” and flexibilities in their eligibility guidelines.

Discover China’s Waiting Children – including a new category of children described by the China Center of Adoption Affairs (CCAA) as “Special Focus” children.

• Learn how Holt works closely with families to match children in the China Child of Promise option, and. . .

• Hear from a family who has completed the China Child of Promise option.

• Get info about preparation and post-placement resources for families adopting older children and children with special needs.

• Ask questions, and get started on the track that is the best fit for your family.

With more than 700 children matched through the China Child of Promise option, Holt International is leading the charge to find homes for children from China!

The following is an excerpt from the Rees family’s blog about Jazyme, their dearly loved China Child of Promise:

Rick and I spend time with Jazmyne…a lot of time! We work with her a lot, but certainly cannot take all of the credit for how smart she really is. And, of course, the twist of fate — such an ironic twist — is that she was adopted through the special needs process for simply having an extra toe on each foot! Jazmyne is a Holt International China Child of Promise who definitely made good on her “Promise!”

Because Rick and I both work in special needs education fields, we felt we had the skills to help any child, with any disability, live up to their fullest potential! Never in our wildest dreams did we even entertain any thoughts that our child would be exceptional!

Jazmyne has seven doctor’s kits and proclaims: “I’m going to be a doctor when I grow up!” While in China, she spent a lot of time with the Qian Jiang orphanage doctor, both in the doctor’s clinic and her home. The doctor even went so far as to travel with Jazmyne to meet us on Jazzy’s “Gotcha Day.” She traveled with Jazzy to make sure that we knew that, in her professional opinion, Jazmyne was not “special needs” at all, but, in fact, “gifted!”

The good doctor was absolutely correct in her opinion! I have no idea if Jazmyne will keep on the course of wanting to be a doctor, but I can tell you something for certain even now: Whatever she chooses to do in life, she will be successful!

Our Jazmyne Rose: abandoned at a bus station at 10 months old, living in an orphanage for over a year, adopted by foreigners, 3 months later having an operation to correct her feet, all while learning a new language.  Today, Jazmyne excels in preschool and is the star of her dance class, gymnastics and skiing classes.

Thank you, God, for the incredible gift of our beloved Jazzy Rose!

Click here to read the Rees family’s blog, and view an adorable dance recital video of Jazzy Rose!

Holt needs families interested in adopting children with correctable/treatable physical conditions. Click here to learn more about the China Child of Promise program, Holt’s expedited process for children with correctable/treatable physical conditions

Coming Home with Kate — Start Your China Adoption Journey Today…

Our journey began three years ago when we decided to adopt from China. We had put off having children until were were in a position to provide a good home. Lisa’s sister , who had already started her China adoption process, shared her experience with us, and we felt like this was a good way for us to begin.

After six months of beginning to assemble a dossier for China, we became discouraged by the wait times and decided that adopting a child from Mongolia may be a better option. After much time and expense, our agency sent our completed dossier to Mongolia. Many months passed without much information. Then, one night, we were told that our agency would no longer be handling adoptions in Mongolia.

It was hard to describe how we felt at the time–stunned, depressed.

Three months later we realized that we still wanted to have a little girl, and our hearts were set on a toddler. We considered domestic adoption, investigated it with our social worker and came to the realization that we could adopt an infant, but there would be many unknowns.

After considering this for a time, we decided that we wanted to adopt a young girl with minor special needs from China. We were told that the wait times for these children are much shorter. After all of this time we had come full circle! Deciding on the needs that we were willing to accept for our family was not easy. After much deliberation and investigation, we informed Holt that a child with bilateral or unilateral cleft lip and palate would be a good fit for our family.

Our referral came through in record time! When we finally arrived in China, our guide took us to the Social Welfare office to meet Kate and have the “hand off”. Of course we had seen many heart warming hand offs on the Internet, but ours was a little different. Lisa and I were all tears of joy to meet “Chun-Chun” (pronounced Chew-in-Chew-in). She, however, wanted nothing to do with us. She wailed each time someone pointed to us and said “Ba-Ba, Ma-Ma”. Finally, I took her in my lap and tried to console her. She just went limp and wailed at the ceiling.

The next two weeks really put Lisa and me to the test. There were many tears, and we felt really inadequate…but I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.

Today Kate is a vivacious little girl. She gives us hugs and kisses, whispers very important things in our ears, swims like a fish, and surprises us with entire sentences in English. She has to watch “Cinderella” every day and tells me: “No, that’s not a monkey in the mirror. That’s Kate!”

–Gary and Lisa Falkenberg

Follow Kate’s blog here….

Start your China Adoption Journey in 2011!  Click here to learn more about your options…

Interested in Adoption from another country?….click here

Holt adoptee Interviewed by New England Cable News Channel

A letter from Holt adoptive mom Nancydee MacFarland about her son, Noah:

December 14th, 2010.

Dear Holt Family,

Six years ago this weekend, Noah walked into our hotel room in China with an un-repaired cleft palate. At 7:45 this morning, The New England Cable News Channel interviewed Noah and the executive of Boy Scouting in Greater Boston about the 100th anniversary of Scouting, and the dinner to be held at the Boston Harbor hotel tonight.

This evening, Noah is looking forward to speaking to a ballroom of CEOs and the leading businessmen of Boston. Our newly elected Republican Senator Scott Brown will be honored at the banquet.

God is so good. I wish the moment could be shared with Noah’s Chinese parents, his foster parents, his surgeons and his speech therapists. Noah has an amazing confidence and ability to handle whatever life puts in front of him. Neinei, Noah’s foster mom/grandmom in the Lanzhou, Gansu foster care project, wrote in 2004: “Someday Qian Hong will be a leader.” It seemed a funny thing to say about a “failure to thrive” baby with a cleft lip/palate and gums. Perhaps there was truth in her early prediction. Blessings do have power. God certainly has plans for this young man. To God be the glory.

Click here to view Noah’s interview….

Many children with manageable, treatable medical conditions are waiting for permanent families in China right now.  Click here to Learn more about Holt’s China Child of Promise program.

Holt adoptive mom gives thanks for her daughter

On Thanksgiving day, seven years ago, Holt adoptive parents Chris Nigrin and Mark Lund met their daughter, Mia, in China.  Chris, a staff writer for the Omaha World-Herald, shares about their adoption journey, their emotional time in China and the moment she fell in love with her daughter.   Click here to read the family’s story in the Omaha World-Herald.

Interested in adopting a child from China?  Click here to learn more about Holt’s China program and the three wonderful ways to build your family.

Who do you see?

Holt Senior Writer Robin Munro is traveling with Waiting Child Manager Jessica Palmer to learn more about a new group of children in Holt’s Journey of Hope program.

Robin Munro, Senior Writer—Today, we visited a beautiful orphanage in Northern China – a place full of color and life.  Each room opened onto another group of faces – curious, apprehensive, wide-eyed faces.  Most of these children have special needs, conditions beyond which most birth families have the capacity to provide medical care – conditions like cleft lip and palate, CP, Down’s Syndrome, Spina bifida, feet and hand deformities, as well as a few cases of pneumonia.

In the first room we enter, metal barred cribs line the wall.  In each, a child sits or lays, staring at the ceiling, the wall, or nothing in particular – into middle space.   These children have some of the most severe conditions.  Most don’t seem to notice our presence in the room – don’t jump up, or cry, or reach out to us.  I walk over to one boy, who lifts his head when I touch his back.  His head is swollen from Hydrocephalus, a condition in which water gets onto the brain.  In some cases, this condition is minor and won’t interfere with the child’s life.  But this boy’s condition is serious, says Sue Liu, the Beijing office manager.  As I rub his back, he begins to smile.  When I stop, he stares at me blankly.  I gently touch him again, and his smile returns.   Continue reading “Who do you see?”

Season of Love, Gifts of Hope: The Peace House, A Place to Heal and Flourish

In July of 2010, Holt’s senior writer visited the Peace House, a haven for sick children who come from all over China to receive medical care in Beijing — many of them suffering from serious medical conditions. After leaving the hospital, the children recuperate at the Peace House. Many go on to join adoptive families. Since this article was written, Holt took over operations from Peace House founder, Teresa Huangwu. In that time, five children have received surgeries, and a sixth will soon come to stay at this nurturing and peaceful sanctuary in the heart of the city.

This holiday season, help more children in Holt’s care receive needed medical procedures. When children receive the care they need, they also have greater hope of finding an adoptive family. Click here to browse Holt’s Gifts of Hope catalog online.

Teresa raised funds for Jhi Lin's heart surgery. He is now recovering in her care at the Peace House.

Robin Munro, Senior WriterAt the Peace House in Beijing, the floor is where the action is.  A ball flies at me from one direction. From another, a baby comes crawling to investigate.  The children seem intrigued by my foreign blue eyes.  My camera.  My notebook.  My purse.  Especially my purse.

While otherwise occupied in a game of catch, I feel a sudden tug on my shoulder straps, and look down to find a sticky-fingered hand first unzipping, then probing the contents of my bag.  Here I find Jhi Lin (name has been changed), who’s discovered a little bottle of hand sanitizer. Clutching it in his hand, he makes for the bedroom and tries to shut the door.  I catch it, and follow him in.  Dismayed, he takes my hand and ushers me back out.  I follow him in.  Back out we go.  The look on his face says, “Silly lady, don’t you see – I want to be alone with this bottle of green goo, my new-found treasure!”

Finally, a caretaker comes to intervene.  Jhi Lin graciously accepts his defeat, and hands the bottle back.  “Xie Xie,” I say. Thank you.  He smiles, and moves on to explore other frontiers.

Jhi Lin will turn 3 in August.  Full of life, full of moxie, he is a dark-haired, bright-eyed mischief-maker – a typical toddler.  He came to the Peace House one year ago, where he stayed while Peace House foster mother, Teresa Huangwu, raised funds for his heart surgery.  His condition was severe – a congenital heart defect that causes what’s commonly known as “blue baby syndrome.” This surgery cost over $100,000, which healed him completely – a feat accomplished by love alone.

“Teresa finds the resources to do the surgeries,” says Jian Chen, Holt’s China program director.  “It’s not her work. It’s purely out of love.”

Teresa Huangwu started her unofficial work as a foster mother after inspiration struck, eight years ago, while working as a volunteer caretaker in an orphanage.   While washing a malnourished baby with a cleft lip, she thought how much better a child could be nourished to health in a warm, cozy home environment than in a sterile institution.  A small home, where a sick child could get constant nurture from a loving caregiver.  “I just thought, ‘If we could just take the baby home and nurse him,’” she says.  “And then bring him back.”

In August of 2003, she founded the Peace House – a haven for sick children from all over China who come to Beijing for medical care.  A clean, cozy apartment cluttered with toys, the Peace House is just that: a peaceful place of healing and nurture.  Its location in Beijing is critical – it enables the children to get the best medical care in the country.  After surgery, they stay here until their condition stabilizes – until they are ready for adoption.

Continue reading “Season of Love, Gifts of Hope: The Peace House, A Place to Heal and Flourish”