Raised in a Colombian orphanage: Waiting for adoption, this teen shares her story

Having spent her whole life in a Colombian orphanage and foster homes, 15-year-old Vanessa now wants a family more than anything. She and her 12-year-old sister, Bianca, have limited time left to be adopted.

Adopt older child Colombia
Vanessa, far left, and her sister Bianca, next to her, stand with other kids in Medellin waiting for adoptive families. Vanessa grew up in a Colombian orphanage and foster families, and now she’s hoping for a family will adopt her and her sister.

Vanessa doesn’t remember being taken from her mom. She was 17 months old and too little to develop memories. She’s not even sure why child protective services took her, exactly. No one has ever told her, and her mom has only tried to contact her once — late last year, just a bit before her 15th birthday. Vanessa didn’t end up seeing her.

Vanessa keeps tugging at the hem of her T-shirt, pulling the embroidered, floral fabric layers down flat. She tinkers with the ring on her right middle finger, spinning it around nervously. She smooths her black skinny jeans that tuck into a pair of shiny, black lace-up boots. She pulls her long, brown hair behind her shoulders.

She’s nervous.

She’s never really talked about what it means to grow up in Colombia’s child welfare system — what it means to have bounced from Colombian orphanage to foster home to group home — and to watch her five siblings do the same for their entire lives. No one has ever really asked. Continue reading “Raised in a Colombian orphanage: Waiting for adoption, this teen shares her story”

These Brothers Need a Family

In May 2015, four Holt ambassadors traveled to the Philippines to get to know a special group of children — all of them older, many of them in sibling groups. Five years ago, Holt began participating in this special adoption program as a way to increase home-finding efforts for older children and sibling groups in the Philippines. The ambassadors spend a week bonding with the children then return to the U.S. to help the children find loving families. Below, Holt adoptive parent Larry Vollmer shares about a sibling group of two boys he met while serving as an ambassador on last year’s trip — boys for whom we are still seeking a family!!

Have you ever been totally surprised by an event or circumstance so much that you can’t stop thinking about it? I have lost count of how many times I think back about my recent trip to the Philippines as a member of the Holt ambassador team. Truly, a life-changing experience for me. Hopefully, it will also be a life-changing event for these wonderful children.

Andy and Mike sit beside other children on this year’s ambassador trip.

Continue reading “These Brothers Need a Family”

A Sweet, Inseparable Pair

UPDATE: Great news! As of January 2013, Jared and Gabby have a family!!

Siblings Jared and Gabby are this week’s featured waiting children. Help them find a loving family!

Jared, 5/25/96 and Gabby, 5/25/05, East Africa

This sweet pair of siblings lost their mother in 2005, when Gabby was just 4 months old and Jared was 9. After their mother died, they stayed in the care of their maternal uncle. However, with unstable income and two children of his own to care for, their uncle struggled to support his niece and nephew. In 2007, he relinquished them to a care center, where they still live today.

In the years since, Gabby has grown into a healthy, happy and playful girl who loves to draw and sing. Now 7 years old, Gabby is in the 2nd grade at school, where her favorite subject is general science. She hopes one day to become a doctor!

Gabby never knew her mother, but she has always had her older brother and looks to him for guidance. Her brother is now 16 years old and is very nurturing and protective of his younger sister, as well as the other children in the care center. Jared is in the 9th grade and enjoys his English and biology classes most. He is described as respectful and cooperative, with a talent for drawing and sculpture.

Both Gabby and Jared are active and sociable, and get along very well with their caregivers and peers. Although neither have any friends who have joined adoptive families, they are described as having a positive attitude toward adoption.

These siblings will do best in a family that understands the impact of being adopted internationally as an older child, as well as the impact of grief and loss on child development. The ideal family will have access to cultural role models, as well as previous older child adoption experience.

Although they do not have the means to care for them themselves, their aunt and uncle hope for Gabby and Jared to find a loving, stable, permanent family – especially since they have already experienced the trauma of losing their birth parents. We wish that for them too.

For more information about Jared and Gabby, contact Erin Anderson at erina@holtinternational.org.