Every year, we receive the most powerful, inspiring stories from adoptees, sponsored children and families, sponsors, donors, adoptive families and birth parents to share on our blog. 2018 was no different. The stories — and the people behind the stories — show a tremendous sense of strength, love, hope, generosity and family. During 2018, adoptees reunited with family members, reflected on their stories and wrote letters to their ten-year-old selves. Adoptees and adoptive families reflected on the challenges, the joys and the special moments they shared with one another. Sponsored children and families expressed their gratitude to the sponsors and donors who support them, and opened the door to share their stories of perseverance and success.
Each story from 2018 is full of empowerment, inspiration and hope. Here are some of your most viewed, most shared and most favorite adoptee, adoption, family strengthening and orphan care stories of 2018!
In the most impoverished communities of Manila, Philippines, Holt’s on-the-ground partner is working with at-risk families to build and strengthen small businesses. Because when parents can independently provide for their children, we know that families succeed and children thrive.
Teacher Chris raises his hand to quiet his classroom of 15 children.
The 4 and 5-year-olds turn to look at him, each in their matching school uniforms — brightly colored T-shirts with Bertha Holt’s iconic “every child is beautiful” quote screen printed on the back. They break into song, cheerfully chanting, “Thank you, Lord, for giving us food. Hallelujah, praise the Lord,” in unison.
In Cambodia, poverty often forces parents to migrate for work — sometimes hundreds of miles away — which puts children at greater risk of malnutrition, trafficking and exploitation. But, by supporting microloans and women’s self-help groups, Holt sponsors and donors are helping families learn sustainable agriculture skills so they can independently provide for their children, without having to travel.
At 4:30 p.m., the garment factories in southwest Cambodia are letting out for the day. Beyond the fences and gates that surround each giant, metal warehouse, a row of industrial flat-bed trucks wait, some already filling with women in bright pants and T-shirts. The two-lane road leading from the nation’s capital city, Phnom Penh, to the small fishing town of Kampot is stacked with these trucks — some with 20 or 30 passengers who sit in the back, shoulder to shoulder, their legs stretched straight. Some have more than 100 passengers, mostly women, who are packed so tightly they must stand with their stomach and back pressed into the women around them. The air is dusty as they drive, and many cover their faces with medical masks or scarves.
“When a truck wrecks, many women die,” Kosal Cheam, Holt’s director of programs in Cambodia, says grimly, shaking her head.
In Cambodia, poverty is so widespread that thousands of families are forced to migrate from rural areas to large cities like Phnom Penh or even bordering countries like Thailand to find work — often low-paying jobs in crowded garment factories. Agriculture, mainly rice production, is the dominant economic driver in the region and many families survive on what they grow. But drought is a common occurrence. And when nothing grows, many families are out of work. Continue reading “Preventing Family Migration and Child Trafficking in Cambodia”
On Holt’s first vision trip to China, participants visit two rural communities where Holt helps struggling families to care for their children. In one community heavily affected by HIV/AIDS, educational sponsorship has helped many children to graduate high school and go on to college and careers.
by Robin Munro, Managing Editor
At the civil affairs office in Yuncheng, a city in China’s central Shanxi province, a formal meeting between local officials, a group of visiting Americans, and families in Holt’s family strengthening program is underway. The room falls quiet as a young girl stands to speak. She wears her glossy black hair up in a ponytail, revealing the little silver hoops in her ears and the hot pink temples of her glasses.
“Aunties and Uncles, I am 19 years old,” she says. “My parents divorced when I was young. Unfortunately, in 2009, my father died. He was the only person I could count on. At the time, I had no money to go to school. Holt gave support so I could go to school again.”