Video Updates on India’s COVID Crisis for Children & Families

India COVID crisis banner

India is battling its second wave of COVID-19, and children and families there are in crisis.

Children are shut in their homes on lockdown and unable to get enough food. Families can’t work and have run out of money. Our partners are not safe as they go out in the community — risking their lives to help in whatever way they can. Some of the children and families we serve are even getting sick…

The directors of each of our three partner organizations in India filmed updates to share with Holt donors. Watch their videos below to hear updates directly from the field amidst this India COVID crisis in their country. Continue reading “Video Updates on India’s COVID Crisis for Children & Families”

Indian Adoptees Reunited After 30 Years

Thrity-one years ago today, Christina, Rekha and Deborah, along with two other Indian Adoptees, arrived in the United States.  They were escorted from India by the Poindexter family who took on an adventure of a lifetime. Since that day in December 1988, 30 years ago would go by before the women would be able to reunite in person with each other and then with the family that forever changed their lives. As we sat down with these young women we learned so much about their resiliency, heart and determination to find pieces of their past in each other. They were together from the beginning and the connections that formed as babies in India has blossomed into a friendship that is remarkable and deep.

Happy Adoption Day Christina, Rekha and Deborah! Your story is so important and we are proud to be able to share it with the world.

Uniting Families and Building Opportunity in India’s Slums

Through family reunification and sponsorship, children living in orphanages or in the slums of New Delhi receive the love, support and resources they need to thrive.


Paavai’s parents died when she was 2 years old, and for the past 10 years she and her two brothers have lived with their elderly grandmother. Her grandmother has a tea stall, which is their only source of income, and she worries what will happen to her grandchildren when she passes away someday.

Eleven-year-old Vaishali lives in an orphanage. Her mother passed away and her father is incarcerated. Vaishali would live with her grandparents, but between her grandfather’s leg injury that left him unable to work and her grandmother’s meager salary, they don’t make enough to support her.

Ever since Aadita’s father passed away from tuberculosis, her mother has had to work two jobs — one at her tea stall and the other as a door-to-door housemaid — in order to support Aadita and her four other children. Aadita’s mother cares deeply for her daughter and hopes she will not have to be a housemaid someday, too.

These three girls all live in New Delhi. And for one reason or another, they are vulnerable — vulnerable to growing up without a stable family, vulnerable to dropping out of school and vulnerable to extended poverty.

Continue reading “Uniting Families and Building Opportunity in India’s Slums”

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!
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Growth and Transformation

The children of migrant families are some of the most vulnerable in India, and they are often excluded from schools and at risk of exploitation, trafficking and abuse. Recognizing the needs of this growing population, Holt’s partner in the region completely refocuses their efforts, using education as a transformative tool.

26-year-old mother of three, Avni stands outside her temporary home in Bangalore, India. Six years ago, Avni and her husband migrated 350 miles from their rural village to this major metropolis of more than 8 million people in search of work.They were hired to build a six story apartment building, and while they build, they also live on their job site with their two sons.

Avni pulls her husband and son’s stiff, sun-dried pants and shirts off the frame of wooden scaffolding built outside her home. She climbs the seven unfinished concrete stairs, and drifts through the wide, cement hole where a double door and massive picture windows will someday lead into the lobby of a six-story apartment building. But, at that point, her family won’t live here anymore. It will be time for them to move on in search of another job, and another home.

Avni is 26 years old, and the mother of three children — an 11-year-old daughter and two sons, Basha, 9, and Mapasha, 6. She is strikingly beautiful, and has a kind, shy smile that peeks through the whole time she speaks, the little ring in her nose glistening. Her feet are bare under her purple sari, except for a thin, gold toe ring, which married women commonly wear in India as a token of luck in marriage.

Avni and her family migrated from their rural village to Bangalore, India six years ago for work, hopeful that they could find better jobs and make a better life for themselves and their children.

They weren’t the only ones. Continue reading “Growth and Transformation”

A Festival of Colors and Love

While visiting a Holt-supported day care program in Bangalore, India, Holt staff member Aloura DiGiallonardo celebrates the Indian holiday Holi with the children in care.

Aloura captured a selfie with a child in VCT’s day care program as they celebrated the Indian holiday Holi.

Holi is known as the festival of colors, or the festival of love. I certainly felt the love and saw the color during my Holi experience at Vasthayla Charitable Trust (VCT) in Bangalore, India last week. Continue reading “A Festival of Colors and Love”

It’s National Adoption Month! Let’s Celebrate!

 Welcome to the first week of National Adoption Month! — Celebrating Adoption!



In case you missed it, here is a reminder of this month’s National Adoption Month plans:

Week 1: Celebrating Adoption!

 Week 2: Affording Your Adoption – gain helpful tips and resources

 Week 3: Post-Adoption Services – explore Holt’s expanding range of services

 Week 4: Re-cap and Reflection

Your participation is essential to the success of this campaign. We share the information. You help take our message viral!

In honor of our first week, we bring to you a special adoption video.

Beth Anne and Chris Schwamberger brought their son, Holden, home from India last year.  They knew adopting a boy with lower limb paralysis would be challenging, but their love, and Holden’s perseverance and heart, made them a strong family of three!

This Video is a must see!

Happy 3rd Birthday, Holden! from Beth Schwamberger on Vimeo.

The Schwamberger family’s story gives us reason to CELEBRATE!

An excerpt from Beth Anne Schwamberger’s blog:

Holden is smart. Guys, he is seriously so smart. He has an adorable sense of humor, and he will talk your ear off once he gets to know you. He is creative — always coming up with a new way to play a game, or a new way to get himself around in this world. He is joyful. I have seen so many things roll off of this child’s shoulders without him even giving it a thought. (Yes, we’re still working on joyful sharing, but this is kind of the first time he’s ever had anything to share…) He is kind and compassionate. When he sees someone cry, whether in real life or a TV cartoon, he makes a sad face and says, “it’s ok.” He loves to give messy yogurt-face kisses and belt out, “You are so beautiful……to meeeeeeeeeee!” He is determined. When he falls off his scooter or hurts himself playing, he is right back up 90% of the time, saying “try again” through tears.

Honestly, I could go on and on.

 The message here is: I know parents who would give anything for a child who could talk to them.

I know parents who would give anything for a child who could live.

We are blessed, and Holden is blessed.

11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;

the Lord bestows favor and honor;

no good thing does he withhold

from those whose walk is blameless.

12 Lord Almighty,

blessed is the one who trusts in you.

~ Psalm 84

We are far from having a blameless walk, yet still, we are blessed.

Let me make one thing clear, in talking about Holden’s disability: the sorrow I feel is not for me.

I don’t feel sadness in Chris and I not having a “typical child”. We chose Holden. Out of all the children in the world, we wanted him. We wanted him more than we wanted a biological child, and we still do. He was our first choice. Period. We think he is exquisite and perfect.


Did you know that many boys with varying degrees of special needs are waiting for families right now!  They all deserve a closer look.  Visit our waiting child photolisting today!   Or join one of our webinars.  On November 25th, Holt’s China team will conduct a webinar featuring 50 children, mostly boys, who are waiting for families.  Join the webinar and meet them!

A Journey Worth Taking

Thirteen years after they adopted their daughter Amanda from India, the Roullier family travel back to her birth country.

by Penny and Bill Roullier

Our international adoption journey started 15 years ago when we learned about a tragedy in an orphanage in the Philippines. Several children had died in a devastating fire.  Our hearts were stirred, and we decided to look into adoption.  Holt International, at the time, was the only agency providing international adoption services in our state.  We filled out the preliminary paperwork, and Holt recommended we adopt a girl from India. We had two biological sons, Zachary, 4, and Quincy, 2.

After another round of paperwork and a home study, we waited to hear from Holt with a referral for a little girl.  Shortly thereafter, the Holt magazine arrived.  We eagerly flipped to the section featuring children waiting for families.  Our eyes stopped on a beautiful little girl in India named Mukta who was a year old.  Immediately, we called Holt.  And we qualified for her!  In addition to her medical and developmental records, Holt sent us pictures of the beautiful little girl who would become our daughter.  

After reviewing the records with our social worker, she recommended we proceed with the adoption.  She was impressed with the detailed evaluations and reports kept by Mukta’s caregivers and felt they had provided us with more information about Mukta than most families adopting in the USA have about prospective children.

The Roullier family on their recent trip to India.

Continue reading “A Journey Worth Taking”

A Beautiful Home for Children

One of Holt’s legacy partners in India inaugurates a new childcare facility in Aurangabad.

For over 30 years, Holt has partnered with local leaders and childcare specialists to help care for orphaned, abandoned and vulnerable children in India. When Holt staff arrived in India in 1979, one of their first efforts was to help establish a residential childcare facility in Pune, Maharashtra, a state in West India. Here, our new partner agency – Bharatiya Samaj Seva Kendra (BSSK) – began providing care for homeless children. Through the years, Holt has found loving families for many children once in care at BSSK, while the staff at BSSK has continued to grow and diversify their services for children and families in need.

Today, BSSK remains a significant part of our history and legacy, and we are so proud of their accomplishments in caring for homeless children.

Children in care at BSSK perform a dance during the inauguration ceremony.

Earlier this month, BSSK celebrated one of their most recent accomplishments – building a new facility for homeless children in Aurangabad, a city near BSSK’s headquarters in Pune. For several years, BSSK has supported a branch in Aurangabad, but over time conditions of the care facility began to deteriorate. It was also too small for the 25-35 children who typically reside there.

“At BSSK, we believe that the children who come into our care should have a spacious, well-ventilated and comfortable home,” says Roxana Kalyanvala, executive director of BSSK. Thus, she says, they built a new home.

In 2006, Roxana and her staff began looking for a piece of land in Aurangabad for the new childcare facility. They approached the local government to help keep the land purchase at a reasonable cost, and raised funds for any remaining expenses. Finally, they secured a low-cost piece of land through a local industrial development corporation.

Continue reading “A Beautiful Home for Children”