How The Pieces Fall Into Place

The story of a boy named Spencer and all the people who came together to help him become the active, independent, outgoing kid he always had the potential to be.

Spencer fishing

I met Spencer Morrow seven years ago at an orphanage in northeastern China. It was my first trip for Holt as the senior writer for the organization, and I had never traveled to China before.

I had never seen the inside of an orphanage.

And I had never met children growing up in institutional care, without the love and security of a family.

For many reasons, this experience is as vivid in my mind as many of the experiences I’ve had traveling for Holt in the years since. Continue reading “How The Pieces Fall Into Place”

The Story Behind The Photo: Celebrating Progress

At first glance, there may seem to be nothing out of the ordinary in this photo of babies resting in their cribs in an orphanage in China. But if you could step inside this room, inside this moment 20 years ago, you would notice something not quite right. You would not hear a single sound. It would be as silent as the photo you see now on your screen. 

On her first visit to China in 1997, Holt’s senior director of adoption services, Susie Doig, holds a child awaiting adoption in orphanage care.

In December 1995, I began my career in adoption working in Holt’s newly formed China program, helping families adopt baby girls living halfway around the world. In the early 1990s, Holt and many other U.S. agencies became aware of the urgent need to find families for children in China, and quickly put the staff and infrastructure in place to start meeting this need. Orphanages in China were overflowing with infant girls — girls unable to remain in their birth families because of China’s one-child policy and the society’s longstanding need for a male child to ensure a family’s long-term wellbeing.

While I understood on an intellectual level that a great need existed, it wasn’t until 1997, when I took my first trip to China, that I came face-to-face with that need. During my stay in a rural province in China, I was able to visit some of the children waiting to be adopted. It was truly a trip of a lifetime, but one moment in particular stands out from all the others. Continue reading “The Story Behind The Photo: Celebrating Progress”