Paige Needs a Family!

Read and share Paige’s* story to help find the family she needs and deserves. Could you be the right family for Paige? A $3,000 Special Blessings grant is available to help the right family bring this bright and joyful girl home. 

DOB: July 7, 2007, China

Paige came into care two months before her 6th birthday. She’s 10 now, and just the happiest, most sparkly-eyed girl you would ever meet.

You would never guess that a year before she came into care, both her mom and her dad died of HIV — within two days of each other. Unable to provide for her, Paige’s grandparents took her to live at a group home for children living with HIV in 2013. Continue reading “Paige Needs a Family!”

The Secret of Their Lives

A little girl at the HIV group home looks out the front door to a sunny courtyard.

Most of the children here don’t know they are HIV+. It’s too risky.

Their teachers don’t know. Their neighbors definitely don’t know because if they did, they would have to move again. They’ve moved eight times in ten years, all 28 children. If their teachers knew, they would be isolated and discriminated against or even kicked out of their pricey private school — a school they attend because they don’t have to inform the principal of their disease.

Most of these children don’t even know about the disease in their blood, the disease that killed many of their parents, robbed them of their life in their villages and that was likely passed to them at birth.

They just know that they have strict rules to follow.

Absolutely no fighting. No rough housing. If they get a cut or a scratch, they have their own first aid kit. And they have Mr. Huang.

“The kids are happy now,” Mr. Huang says, his face worn and tired, his spiky, graying hair hinting at his age.

When children pass through the living room of the apartment, they stop to grab his hands or talk to him and his eyes soften as he greets them lovingly.

“They are too young,” Mr. Huang says. “They don’t understand their fate. But as they get older, they will learn. The discrimination will start. They will always have to keep their secret.”

Continue reading “The Secret of Their Lives”

Top 16 Blogs of 2016

This past year, our organization celebrated 60 years of serving orphaned and vulnerable children and families in countries across the globe. Over these six decades, our work has touched the lives of thousands of people — people whose lives collectively tell the story of who we are as an organization. Their stories are the story of Holt International. And in 2016, many of these people once again graciously shared their life experiences with our readers.

For the first time, we held an adoptee essay contest, asking adoptees to share how adoption shapes or has shaped their identity. We received a number of thoughtful submissions, and featured the winning essay by Noel Hincha in our annual adoption magazine. I am happy to share that the essay penned by one of our runner-ups in the contest is among this year’s top most-viewed blogs of 2016!

Following last year’s trend, stories written by and about adoptees once again topped the list — receiving thousands of views on Facebook and the Holt blog. Among them is a letter one adoptee wrote to her late birth mother, grieving the fact that it was too late for them to meet; a story about a first-generation adoptee reuniting with the man who cared for him in Korea; and a piece by an adoptee from China who describes what the adoption experience was like for her.

Among our Top 16 Blogs of 2016, we also included five stories about our overseas programs — from a story written by a trailblazing woman in our unwed mothers program in Korea to a story about a boy who learned how to express himself for the first time at the Yesus Mena Deaf School that we support in Ethiopia.

And of course, stories by and about adoptive families are always popular among our readers — particularly among families new to the process who appreciate the insight and wisdom that veteran families have to offer. This year, six adoption stories had the most impact on our readers, including, at the top of the list, a heartfelt piece written under a pseudonym by an adoptive mom who wanted to share the truth about raising children with HIV. As more and more families adopt children with more involved and complex special needs, the experiences of these families become increasingly influential — inspiring other families to adopt children with HIV, congenital heart disease or, as one of our top stories explores in detail, Thalassemia.

As we reflect on the year 2016, and on the last 60 years, we thank the many, many adoptees, families, sponsors, donors, staff members, partners and children and families in our programs for your willingness to share what can be very personal and sometimes heart-wrenching experiences. You moved us. You inspired us. And perhaps most importantly, you instructed us. Every year, we continue to learn and grow from what you share with Holt staff and supporters. And we are so, so grateful for your being a part of our story, the Holt story. — Robin Munro, Managing Editor

Top Five Adoptee Stories

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Krista in Korea: A Letter to My Birth Mother

Over the summer, Holt adoptee Krista Gause traveled on the Holt Heritage Tour to Korea. Before her departure, she wrote an honest and heartfelt letter to her birth mother, sharing about her life and grieving the fact that it was too late for them to meet.  Continue reading “Top 16 Blogs of 2016”

Happy Birthday, Sasha!

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UPDATE: As of 3/16, Sasha has a family! 

Jennifer is a Holt ambassador and adoptive mom to children who have HIV. Here, she advocates for Sasha, a newly turned 11-year-old in China who is waiting for her permanent, loving family.

Several years ago we adopted a child with HIV from China. As my heart has fallen in love with our daughter and I have been educated about HIV, I have developed a deep desire to help more children living with this very manageable condition in China. A few months ago, a dream came true as I got the privilege of traveling to China as a Holt ambassador and got to meet a beautiful, talented and healthy group of children with HIV who are ready to be adopted!

Continue reading “Happy Birthday, Sasha!”

Brady’s Rough Start and Hopeful Future

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Brady is well known throughout China after he was featured in a news story that spread throughout the country. His story was shocking and heartbreaking as it told his plight as an orphaned boy with HIV, forced to fend for himself. Now he is cared for in a Holt-sponsored group home for children with HIV where he is waiting to be matched with an adoptive family. Amanda Bray lives in China and got to meet Brady when she joined a group of Holt Ambassadors who were visiting the care home. Help her advocate for him to find a family that is deserving of such a caring and talented young man. 

Update: There is now a $1,000 Special Blessings Grant toward Brady’s adoption!

Life for children with HIV in China is hard. Through no fault of their own, they have to live with a stigmatizing disease that shows no outward signs but results in a broken childhood and a bleak future. As an expat living in China, the stories from the HIV+ community broke my heart. The more I learned about these people, the more I wanted to help however I could.

Continue reading “Brady’s Rough Start and Hopeful Future”