In this episode we talk to Caley, a Vietnamese Adoptee and college student at the University of Oregon. Caley shares with us about being a transracial Adoptee growing up in Oregon, existing in the “grey” space, and attitudes towards racial stereotypes through an Adoptee lens. We are so excited to be able to share more from Caley through this video.
Watch our newest video in our racial identity series! As Adoptees, navigating racial identity is no walk in the park. Working to understand the challenges is all part of the process in getting a clearer and more confident picture of who we are.
We’re talking about birth search! In part 1 of our series, we break down some of the basics of birth search. We’ll cover the big things that we want Adoptees to know about this overwhelming and confusing topic.
Designed for Adoptees, by Adoptees, Holt’s Circle Back program strives to help youth Adoptees build a positive identity. Co-creator Caitlin Howe explains how.
“Hey, what are you doing right now?” I said, laughing.
“Oh, I’m just making a sandwich real quick — but don’t worry, I’m still listening!”
I watched with amusement as Aya set the phone down and went from fridge to kitchen counter gathering ingredients. My fascination grew as she threw a sandwich together in 10 seconds. We had started our video chat just as she had arrived home from school, and before I knew it, she was settling into her living room couch and eating as we talked. She shared about her current classes and also her hopes to be a camp counselor next summer. And we traded stories about being in high school and getting ready for whatever comes next. As we chatted, early evening light spilled into her apartment in Chicago as the sun broke through the clouds here in Oregon. Continue reading “Circle Back: A Program by Adoptees, for Adoptees”
When you step off the plane and go home together for the first time, your journey as an adoptive family has really just begun. You will have highs. You will have lows. But every step of the way, and no matter what life brings, Holt’s robust post-adoption team will be here to support you, your child and your entire family. Here are just 10 of the post-adoption services we offer for families and adoptees.
When most people think of adoption, they picture children. But adoption is a lifelong experience. And just like everybody else, adoptees grow up too.
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”
Holt adoptive parents Kyle Geissler and Robin Stephens bring their 5 and 6-year-olds sons on a trip to Thailand — giving them an early opportunity to explore their identity, celebrate their heritage and reconnect with the foster families who cared for them before they came home. Read and share their story in honor of National Foster Care Month!
The decision to build our family through adoption was an easy one. We wanted to be parents and biological kids weren’t possible for us.
Navigating the choices that followed was not as easy. Ultimately, we chose Holt’s Thailand program. We liked that Holt’s partner organization in Thailand, Holt Sahathai Foundation (HSF), focuses primarily on family strengthening and preservation — keeping children in their birth families whenever possible — and that the children in their program are mostly cared for by foster families. We liked that Holt’s Thailand program is small and methodical, and that adoptions from Thailand are tightly regulated by the Thai government to minimize the chance of corruption. We also had a few Thai friends and felt comfortable with the idea of bringing Thai culture into our family.
Seven years and two incredible boys later, the choices that face us make those initial decisions seem easy. In addition to the many issues that all parents face, we are also trying to help our kids feel positive about themselves as Asian Americans, born in Thailand and adopted and raised in the Midwest by white parents.
Over the last couple years, I’ve had more of a desire to learn of my early years and was especially interested after reading Dr. David Kim’s book, “Who Will Answer…” I then had the opportunity to travel to Korea with my daughter and family this past spring and decided I needed to know as much about my early years as I could find. So that was when I searched out Holt’s post adoption services.
Who did you speak with, and how did they help you?
Debby Hanson was my contact and we corresponded several times as I wanted to visit a couple of Holt’s facilities while in Korea. Debby was able to make the arrangements for me to visit Ilsan Center, where I had the wonderful opportunity to meet and hug Molly Holt.
What made your experience meaningful?
For me it is the “coming full circle” of who I am as a first generation Korean adoptee, with the opportunity of making my first return trip to my homeland and reading the autobiography of Dr. Kim, who uncovered so many of my hidden feelings by pointing out the facts of Holt’s early years.
Would you return to Holt’s post adoption services department or recommend to other adoptees for services?
Yes, if anyone isn’t sure where to begin and may have unanswered questions of their early years, or want to see what is in their adoption file, then I would encourage them to make contact with PAS either by email or telephone. They are most helpful and very compassionate to my feelings.
Holt’s post adoption team shares about what they do, and what inspires their commitment to the families and adoptees they serve.
Sunday Silver, Director of Post Adoption Services:
I have served as the director of Post Adoption Services since 2006. Over the past 7 years, I have helped create a post adoption quarterly e-newsletter, presented post adoption webinars and have networked with other agencies to find ways to collaborate in providing services to adoptees and families.
While I have been the director for seven years, I started working at Holt 21 years ago. Even though the bulk of my responsibilities are administrative, nothing has touched me more than working directly with this population of people we serve. Through the years, I have provided counseling and referrals to adoptive parents, adoptees and birth parents who need a listening ear and resources to help them navigate through the different issues adoption brings. It has been my privilege and honor to be a small, albeit temporary, part of their lives as they share their deepest thoughts and pains.
Working at Holt as long as I have, I have had the opportunity to see children I placed as a social worker grow to adulthood. One particular case comes to mind. When I first came to Holt, I coordinated Holt’s pregnancy counseling program and provided counseling to women experiencing unplanned pregnancies. One particular birth mother I worked with early in my career was about 16 years old when I first met her. Her parents were extremely angry when they found out she was pregnant. They brought her to Holt for help. I met with her throughout her pregnancy, helping her decide whether to parent or make an adoption plan. After several sessions with her — and hearing from her parents that they would not help her raise her child — she came to the difficult decision to place her child for adoption. The birth father was not in the picture. She chose her child’s adoptive parents after viewing several family portfolios, and we scheduled a meeting with them. The meeting was difficult at first, but after some time, they began getting acquainted with each other. After the meeting, the birth mother stated that she felt she found the right parents for her unborn child.
After the child was born, I went to the hospital to visit with her and discuss whether she wanted to continue her plan. With tears in her eyes, she nodded her head. We went through the task of signing the paperwork. I asked her if she wanted to see the adoptive parents and she shook her head, saying it would be too hard. So she asked her parents to hand her baby girl over to the adoptive parents, which they did, not realizing how difficult it would also be for them.
The colorful autumn leaves, the scent of pumpkin pie in the air, and trick-or-treaters knocking at your door — all wonderful indications that November is just around the corner.
And while all of these sights, sounds and smells evoke wonderful feelings during this festive season, we at Holt recognize the month of November for another important reason. This month, we all rally together to celebrate adoption and renew our dedication to advocating for orphaned, abandoned and vulnerable children!
That’s right, November is National Adoption Month!
Here at Holt, raising awareness about children who need families is a year-round effort. But this month, especially, we can do more…and we hope you will join us!
Here’s the plan:
During this year’s awareness campaign, we will be sharing wonderful family and adoptee stories on the Holt blog and social media pages. We will also post stories about children waiting for families, and helpful information about everything from affording adoption to post-adoption services for families and adoptees. As an adoptive parent, you can encourage others to consider adoption by sharing your own story. Or if you’re considering adoption — what a wonderful month to begin your journey!