A Serendipitous Reunion

Through social media and the movie “Lion,” Holt adoptee Phillip Sais reunites with the woman who escorted him from India to his family in the U.S. when he was just 19 months old. 

Phillip and Char during a visit to the Holt headquarters office in Eugene, Oregon, July 2017.

It was the day after New Years when a mysterious Facebook message appeared on Phillip Sais’ phone.

“I was just sitting around doing my usual thing, thinking about classes or what do I have to do for work, and I get this message on my phone,” recalls the 20-year-old college student. “It’s like, ‘Phillip … you have grown up to be such a lovely young man, you know, since I saw you at 19 months old.’”

Immediately, Phillip sprung to action. There was only one person to call.

“Mom,” he said when she picked up, “who was the person who brought me from India?’” Continue reading “A Serendipitous Reunion”

Aubrey Needs a Family!

Aubrey Needs a family!
Aubrey is not a cartoon, obviously.

In fact, this silhouette that we use to represent her is nothing close to reality. Unlike this bland and formless photo, she is bright eyed with a grin from cheek to cheek, and if you could see her, you would be able to tell that she is so full of joy! Instead of pigtails, she wears her hair in a short pixie cut, and loves brightly colored dresses. We wish you could see Aubrey and understand what we are talking about, but the adoption authority in her country doesn’t allow us to share her photo on social media. However, if you request information, you can see the photos we have on file for Aubrey and get a glimpse of her personality! Continue reading “Aubrey Needs a Family!”

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

Checking All The Boxes


In 2013, we featured travel reflections from Beth Anne Schwamberger as she embarked on a mission to India to meet her son, Holden — a child she learned of in a waiting child story, also featured on our blog in 2012. Then, last month, Beth Anne provided a beautiful update on Holden and some great reflection and encouragement about the process to adopt a child with special needs.

Bringing Up Betty is a podcast about parenting children with special needs, and Beth Anne is featured on back-to-back episodes. In the first episode, Beth Anne discusses how she and her husband came to be Holden’s parents, how they decided which special needs they were open to when adopting a child, and how Holden is thriving today. Continue reading “Checking All The Boxes”

College professor or singer? Empower them to choose…


Facebook-ArtWhat do you want to be when you grow up?

“Maybe a professor in a college,” Parveen* says with casual confidence and a toothy grin.

Parveen is 15 and she lives at a boarding school for girls in Delhi. Both of her parents are uneducated, and they struggle to earn a living selling vegetables in this city where half a million people live on the streets — at least 300,000 of them children. Wanting their two daughters to have safe surroundings and to receive the education they never did, they enrolled Parveen and her sister at this Holt-supported boarding school in Delhi.

Here, Holt child sponsors support 80 girls, 5-17 years old, each with their own story.


Manesha* is a bit more reserved than Parveen. She would like to be a social worker, she says, speaking softly with a shy tilt of her head. When a tiger killed Manesha’s father on their farm, her mother got a job working as a maid and they moved to Delhi.


Sejal* is a tall girl in purple polka dots, also the daughter of a single mom. She wants to be a singer, and her friends convince her to show how well she can sing “Let it Go” from the Disney movie Frozen.

Sejal is exceptional.

Each and every one of these girls is exceptional.

And here, because of their sponsors — and because their families love them so much — these girls have everything they need to grow up safe and supported and to nurture their interests and passions. To have the confidence to think, ‘Oh maybe I’ll be a college professor. Or a singer.’

This year, for Giving Tuesday, we hope to raise $100,000 to support women and girls around the world — to provide educational scholarships for girls like Parveen and Sejal and Manesha, who are growing up in places where girls are often pulled out of school to work at a young age. We hope to provide more vocational training for women, to empower struggling single mothers with the resources they need to care for their children, and to fight injustice and abuse.

Because women are often the change-makers in their communities — and because every girl deserves to reach her full thriving potential — will you join us on December 1?

Thank you for your compassion and generosity. Together with you, we truly believe we can create hope and opportunity in the lives of girls and women.

* names changed

SSG Girls
Manesha, Parveen and Sejal stand with friends and housemates outside their boarding home in Delhi, India.

Holt’s India Program Needs Families!

Holt’s India program is currently at risk of having more children in need of families than families to match them with!

Because of Holt’s long history and extensive programs serving Indian children, we have a strong and long-lasting relationship with many legacy partner agencies in India. We also have worked with India’s central adoption authority since its inception, and are uniquely qualified to assist with international adoption in this country.

We are currently looking for families who are open to children 6 years of age and older, and/or children with moderate to major special needs — conditions like vision and hearing impairment, cerebral palsy and multiple developmental delays.

Holt’s India program is accepting applications from:Holden09

Families who are open to adopting an older child or child with moderate to major special needs.

Non-Resident Indians — A non-resident Indian is an individual with a current Indian passport who has not acquired foreign citizenship, but whose spouse has U.S. citizenship.

Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) — An OCI is a former non-resident Indian who holds an Indian OCI document. OCIs can accept a child up to and including 4 years old. These families may apply with the understanding that domestic and NRI applicants currently take precedence.

For more information about eligibility guidelines or if you have additional questions about adopting from India, please contact Mary Ferrell at maryf@holtinternational.org.

Featured Waiting Child

While in South Asia last month, Robin Munro, Holt’s managing editor, met Anna. We have advocated for Anna in the past, but have yet to match her with a family. Read about Anna below

We have blurred Anna’s face to comply with guidelines int he countries we partner with.  To view more photos, please contact Kristen Henry at kristenh@holtinternational.org

Anna is a bright spark of energy in a sparkly red dress. We met her last month while visiting one of our partners in South Asia. Toward the end of the day, she came bounding upstairs to the office before leaving daycare to go home to her foster family. Very at ease among the staff, she leaned confidently on a desk as she shared a vivid story about a tiger and an elephant — a story she dreamed up herself. She animated the narrative with boisterous kicks in the air, and positively beamed when her audience laughed.


Anna_1“God taught me how to tell stories,” she says, smiling, as we marvel at her precocious talent for storytelling. A confident, charming and self-possessed girl, it’s hard to believe that an adoptive family has yet to scoop up Anna.

Abandoned at birth, Anna has lived in care ever since. Today, she is 6 years old. Although we have advocated for her in the past, we have yet to find the right loving family for her.

Anna has delayed growth and was born with micrognathia, also known as Pierre Robin syndrome — a condition distinguished by a smaller-than-normal lower jaw. She has already received one surgery and will need additional surgeries. Although she has been slow to gain weight, Anna has otherwise recovered very well from her first surgery and walks and runs with ease.

As became abundantly clear during our interaction with her, Anna’s special needs are mostly physical. She is very intelligent and her speech has greatly improved with regular speech and language therapy. She speaks many words and responds beautifully well to her caregivers.

In school, Anna likes to be the leader and loves to help other children. She loves to color, draw, sing, dance and participate in activities. She also has an eye for fashion and loves to dress up in fancy clothes with matching accessories. Anna has bonded very well with her foster family, from whom she has learned how to love, and be loved, and to thrive in a family environment.

Anna needs a family who is comfortable with the unknowns regarding her special needs and has the resources to provide any medical care she will need once home.

For eligibility requirements and to learn more about Anna, please contact Kristen Henry at kristenh@holtinternational.org. While we hope you will advocate for Anna among family and friends, please do not share her story online. Thank You!

* name changed


Honoring Holt Foster Families; A Photo Essay

Christina has cared for 25 children in eight years as a BSSK foster mom in India. She is currently caring for a child with mild hearing loss in one ear, which Christina was able to identify because of her constant and attentive care. The child now uses a hearing aid.

The love a parent feels for their child is a fierce kind of love. It is selfless and unconditional. It is powerful. It is permanent. A foster parent’s love is no different. When a foster parent commits to care for a child, they also commit to love that child as their own. And inevitably, they do. The only difference is that while their love is permanent, they know their time with that child will be temporary. They let their hearts break over and over again — a sacrifice they make so that an orphaned or abandoned child will know what it feels like to be loved in that vulnerable time when they are without their family. For the children in their care, they are true guardian angels.

This month, during National Foster Care Month, we wish to honor the extraordinary foster families who love and care for the children in our programs around the world while they wait to rejoin their birth families or join an adoptive family. From China, Korea and India to the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, foster mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters provide the nurturing, attentive care that children need at every stage of their development — but especially in the critical first few years of life. In foster care, children bond naturally and deeply with their foster mother, which can be difficult to do with multiple caregivers. And because of this bond, the children more easily bond with their adoptive families. Just like any parents, foster mothers also see what others don’t. They notice potential health issues that busy orphanage caregivers may not notice right away. Foster families engage and stimulate the developing minds of children. Most of all, they love them.

Below, we share photos of foster parents and children in a few of our programs overseas. Some have cared for just a few children. Others have cared for 100 or more. But they never forget them. Not a single one.

_DSC2348 Continue reading “Honoring Holt Foster Families; A Photo Essay”

Becoming RJ

After five years in an orphanage in India, Ranjit came home to a family in the U.S. with the help of a grant from Holt’s Special Needs Adoption Fund. With the unconditional love and support of his family, “RJ”  is now becoming the boy he was always meant to be.

Some days, Angie Hamstra looks at her son and wonders what might have become of him if no one ever adopted him. Missing an eye and limited by other physical challenges, Ranjit stayed behind at the orphanage while other children attended school as his caregivers feared he would be mistreated for his differences. His caregivers did their best to teach him, but he soon fell behind. By the time he came home to the Hamstras — at 8 — he was at a preschool level. Even if Angie’s worst fears never came to pass, he would have eventually left the protection of the orphanage and had to learn to navigate the world on his own. He would have no family, no support system, limited education and visible special needs commonly shunned in his native India. Continue reading “Becoming RJ”

Special In All The Right Ways

When Sunita Schroader came home from India at 3 years old, it quickly became apparent that she was learning challenged. Through hard work and perseverance, however, Sunita successfully overcame the challenges she faced — graduating high school as a member of the Class of 2014. Last year, she was also featured on stage at a Winter Jam concert as a once-Holt sponsored child, now a thriving young woman poised for success.

Sunita as a little girl in Bombay.

She cried the first time she saw us. That day, as a 3-year-old at Bharatiya Samaj Seva Kendra (BSSK), Holt’s partner organization in Pune, India, she understood enough to know her life was about to change. It was my birthday, and my husband had told someone. So they prepared a card for her to give to me.  She was coaxed into handing it to this strange woman with blonde hair, and so began a new life for each of us. We brought her home to join our family — with two bio sons — and a life of love in a modest home in western Kentucky. Continue reading “Special In All The Right Ways”