Q&A with Adult Adoptee Kim Lee On New Director of Adult Adoptee Community Outreach Role

At Holt International, we continue to learn from the diverse experiences and perspectives of adoptees of all ages. Recently, we began a nationwide search for Holt’s first director of adult adoptee community outreach. The new director’s role will be to inform how Holt can best support, magnify and celebrate a healthy and diverse adult adoptee community. Holt board member and Holt adoptee, Kim Lee, offers her perspective on why bringing aboard a new director of adoptee community outreach is important to her, and for the broader adult adoptee community.

Kim plays with a baby in one of Holt's programs in Beijing.
Kim plays with a baby in one of Holt’s programs.

Tell us about yourself!

I am a Korean adoptee. In 1955, after the Korean War, Harry Holt traveled to Seoul to adopt eight mixed-race babies as he knew they would be shunned by Korea’s society and soon thereafter began to unite orphaned children with families in the United States, which pioneered international adoption and the founding of the Holt adoption agency. Mr. Holt, as I knew him, escorted me to the United States as part of the first wave of international adoptions from Korea in 1956. My parents had very full hearts – they adopted five children from Korea and while none of us are biologically related, we are siblings in every sense of the word and lived in Columbus, Ohio. When my youngest sister was adopted in 1959, I traveled with my mother from Columbus, Ohio to Portland, Oregon to welcome her and Mr. Holt, who escorted her from Korea. That was a memorable experience for me. Continue reading “Q&A with Adult Adoptee Kim Lee On New Director of Adult Adoptee Community Outreach Role”

Favorite Five Adoptee Stories

At Holt, we continue to learn from the diverse experiences and perspectives of adoptees, and adoptee stories continue to be some of the most popular content on our blog! Of all time, these are the five most popular adoptee stories ever to appear on the Holt blog. 

Courtney Young with her family.

No Fairytale Ending
Courtney Young, an adoptee and member of Holt’s marketing and development team, met her birth mother during her first trip to Korea with Holt. Here, she discusses family, culture and the complexities of adoption. Continue reading “Favorite Five Adoptee Stories”

Accepting Submissions for Holt’s 2019 Adoptee Scholarship Contest!

Holt is now accepting submissions for our 2019 Adoptee Scholarship contest!

Last year, we asked adoptees to submit a creative entry responding to the prompt, “To My 10-Year-Old Self Re: Adoption…” This year, adoptees are asked to create responses around the prompt, “If you were to register for an “Adoptee 101″ class next fall, what would it teach you? Who would teach it? Why?”

Check out last year’s winning entries below! Suzy Allen, Sarah Carlson and Jill Cuzzolino each won a $500 scholarship to put toward college expenses.

If you’re an adoptee currently pursuing or planning to pursue higher education, make sure to submit your entry by July 1! We’re excited to see your creative, insightful responses. If you have any questions about the submission medium, eligibility or disbursement of funds, please contact Steve Kalb at stevek@holtinternational.org.

Continue reading “Accepting Submissions for Holt’s 2019 Adoptee Scholarship Contest!”

The Story Behind The Photo: Adoptees Grow Up Too

When most people think of adoption, they picture children. But adoption is a lifelong experience. And just like everybody else, adoptees grow up too.

sindee34years

In our focus to serve children and families, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that being adopted doesn’t stop at age 18. Adoptees grow up. They become husbands and wives, doctors, teachers, businessmen and women, parents and grandparents. They work, travel and play. And, sometimes, they have questions they can’t answer without assistance.

Part of my job at Holt is to help adult adoptees discover their background. I speak with and email hundreds and hundreds of adoptees from many different countries now living in the U.S. I provide them with file copies, citizenship assistance, historical and cultural information, and for some, I help determine if a birth search is possible. It’s a part of my job that I enjoy tremendously. Continue reading “The Story Behind The Photo: Adoptees Grow Up Too”

Someone To Look Up To

Holt adoptee Duncan Atwood reflects on what this photo from the annual Holt Family Campout in Oregon means to him, and why he feels a responsibility to the next generation of adoptees.

duncan-and-kids

Whenever I look at this picture, or any picture from Holt Family Campout, I see lots of things. I see happiness. I see smiles. I see laughter. I see family. And I see a lot of reasons why I like to try to attend Campout every year. Continue reading “Someone To Look Up To”

Top 15 Stories of 2015

The year 2015 was an excellent year in stories on the Holt blog — so much so that we expanded our Top 10 list to a Top 15 of the year!

In 2015, Holt’s creative lead, Billie Loewen, and I traveled to India, where we witnessed the incredible impact of Holt’s child nutrition program, gained new understanding on how Holt’s local partners are helping some of their country’s most vulnerable children and families, and met profoundly inspiring young women who refuse to accept the gender inequities that are far too common in their native India. In 2015, China announced major changes to their one-child policy — inspiring an essay by Chinese adoptee Lillian Schmaltz — and significantly expanded options for single applicants such as Vicky Baker, whose story of opening her heart and home to a son was among the most viewed of the year. Perhaps what’s most exciting this year is that a number of submissions from adoptees topped the list. In fact, the top four most viewed blog posts of 2015 came from Holt adoptees! 

Without further ado, we are so excited to share Holt’s Top 15 Most Viewed Blogs of 2015, including five adoptee stories, five adoptive family stories and five stories about efforts to strengthen families and uplift orphaned and vulnerable children in our programs around the world. — Robin Munro, Managing Editor Continue reading “Top 15 Stories of 2015”

Adoptee to Adoptee

 As Holt reflects on 40 years since the Vietnam Babylift, Steve Kalb, Holt’s director of adoptee services, interviews Holt adoptee and board member Tara Linh Leaman about her recent travels to Vietnam, the beginnings of a search for her birth family, and her part in Holt’s continuing growth as an organization. Tara is the co-founder of AmerAsians Building Bridges, Inc. (AABB), and currently serves as the program director of Westchester Building Futures, a federally funded initiative that aims to better serve young people aging out of foster care in Westchester County, NY. She is a graduate of Cornell University and Georgetown University Law Center, and lives in the “People’s Republic of Brooklyn.”

TaraSK: Share a little bit about your work with AmerAsians Building Bridges (AABB)? What inspired you to found this organization, and how does it help meet the needs of Vietnamese adoptees?

TL: My comrade, Nguyet Lam, and I co-founded the organization in 2005. Nguyet, like me, is Vietnamese and African American (aka Black Amerasian); but unlike me, grew up in Vietnam with her birth family. We created AABB because we recognized the discrimination Amerasians still face in Vietnam. In an effort to address that reality, AABB provides small educational and business loans to Amerasians in Vietnam, as well as family strengthening and pathways to citizenship classes for Amerasians in the Washington, DC region. In 2010, AABB expanded its mission to include resources for members of the adoption and foster care constellations, specifically in the area of nurturing healthy forms of identity(ies) within transethnic/transracial adoptees, our families and the communities in which we live. Continue reading “Adoptee to Adoptee”