Special Needs Adoption Fund: Bringing Home Shelby

Every day 2-year-old Shelby Jane spent in an orphanage in China, she grew weaker. She needed to come home to her adoptive family — and fast — but finances stood in the way. That’s when a Holt donor stepped in to help.

Two-year-old Shelby Jane had a hole in her tiny heart, a blood condition called thalassemia and chronic cases of pneumonia and bronchitis that caused her to be hospitalized just about every month of her 24-month life. She could not speak, could not crawl and could not chew food. Every day she spent in an orphanage in China, she grew weaker.

Her adoptive parents, Michelle and Adam Campbell, needed to bring her home — and fast.

“We knew we needed to go get her because she wasn’t getting the care she needed. Waiting,” Michelle says, “wasn’t an option.”

Shelby at her orphanage in China before coming home to her family.
Shelby at her orphanage in China before coming home to her family. While living in the orphanage, Shelby spent part of every month in the hospital due to pneumonia or bronchitis.

Continue reading “Special Needs Adoption Fund: Bringing Home Shelby”

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”

Don’t Let Finances Be the Reason You Don’t Adopt

sistersbigOne of the greatest misconceptions about adoption is that everyone who adopts has thousands of dollars lying around just waiting for somewhere to spend it. Not True! In fact, most families don’t start the adoption process with the full amount they will need to bring a child home. But because of their desire to grow their family through adoption, they use the many resources out there and find creative ways to fund their adoption.

Don’t let finances be the reason you don’t adopt. Continue reading “Don’t Let Finances Be the Reason You Don’t Adopt”

Lilianna Needs a Family!


Date of Birth: 06/05/09 | China

Thanks to generous donors, Lilianna has a $3,000 Special Blessings grant!

Lilianna* came into care when she was about 3 weeks old. She is a very imaginative 7-year-old who loves listening to stories, painting and making crafts. She loves to run around the playground and is known to be quite talkative. As you can see in her pictures, she is also quite the fashionista who likes wearing pretty clothes, especially with pink polka dots.lilianna2

Despite her positive outlook on life — and strong attachment to her caregivers — Lilianna has expressed a desire for a loving family of her own. Lilianna has recovered well from surgery for congenital hydrocephalus, but she will need a family that can provide her with any continuing medical care that she needs. Her family will also need to have enough space in their house to throw the occasional fashion show.

Could you, or someone you know, be the family for Lilianna? Contact Jessica Zeeb at jessicaz@holtinternational.org for more information about Lilianna and the eligibility requirements for adopting her.

*name changed

Thank You for Supporting the Special Needs Adoption Fund!

babyIn February, we reached out to all of our friends, child sponsors, adoptive families and more to raise money for the Special Needs Adoption Fund, which provides financial aid and grants to eligible families waiting to bring their child home. Your gifts are already working miracles in the lives of children and families. Since the beginning of the year, you’ve helped more than 39 families receive SNAF grants.

For over two decades, Holt supporters like you have helped children come home through the Special Needs Adoption Fund. Since 1994, over 600 families have received SNAF grants — giving them the critical support they need to adopt a child with a special medical or developmental condition.

But every year, the need grows bigger and bigger. Most of the children Holt now places with families have some form of special need — and in 2014, over half had moderate to major needs. As many of these children will face expensive medical procedures once home, the financial burden on families is often unbearable.

Your gift to the Special Needs Adoption Fund eases that burden — making a child’s dream of a family come true.

Last year alone, Holt awarded 37 SNAF grants totaling $91,300. This year, we will need to raise the same amount to ensure we can support every family who needs help funding their adoption. But so far, our 2015 SNAF campaign has raised just $42,346 of our $100,000 goal.

Would you consider giving again?


Continue reading “Thank You for Supporting the Special Needs Adoption Fund!”

A Letter From a Thankful SNAF Family

“We’re so grateful to those who give for the significant role they’ve played in our lives and many others in making adoptions possible,” writes the Kratzer family, who brought their daughter Madelyn home from China in 2010 with help from a Special Needs Adoption Fund (SNAF) grant.

Dear SNAF donors,

We are the Kratzer family, and we were called by God to adopt our daughter, Madelyn, from China in October of 2010. Born with special needs, Madelyn was found at just two weeks old under a bridge in Xiamen. She is now 4 years old.

Our adoption journey has been one of great faith, and the sure presence of God. Adoption presents a lot of unknowns and uncertainties.  From the challenges of paying the financial costs, and the enormous amount of paperwork, to the disappointment of experiencing a lack of support from a few, to the joy of experiencing support from many we did not expect, this has been an amazing journey.

Madelyn, photographed here while still in care, found her family with the help of a Special Needs Adoption Fund grant.


Madelyn is a beautiful, smart, fearless, and loving daughter. Our transition has gone so very smooth. She has seen us as her family from the moment we met her. By God’s design, this is in fact how God had always seen it. A perfect fit. Within 5 minutes of meeting us, she was signing, “Sha Mamma, Sha Babba, Sha Buggu, Sha Jiejie,” which means, “My mother, my father, my sister, my brother.”

In fact, even the workers from the orphanage who oversaw her foster care, who have known her since a baby, were not able to coax her out of her mother’s arms just twelve hours after we met. A powerful moment for sure!

We are so grateful to the SNAF donors for the significant role they have played in our lives and many others in making our adoption possible. Madelyn sings, “Jesus loves me” in mandarin with her own lyric, “it is good to worship Jesus” mixed in. I pray you feel the joy in your heart and the significance of your generosity in the Gospel of adoption. Madelyn thanks you, we thank you, and the Kingdom of God is built from the deep commitment and generosity of faithful individuals and organizations such as yours.

May God richly bless you as you have blessed us.


The Kratzer Family

 Help families like Madelyn’s bring home the child who is waiting for them.  Provide a SNAF grant today.

Growing Family, Growing Faith — Fundraising for Adoption

When the three families featured in this story felt called to adopt, they feared that the expense of adoption would be a major obstacle. Rather than focusing on their bank accounts, the families turned toward God and fundraising to bring their child home.

Laura Sykora with her husband and 4-year-old son. Laura and her husband adopted their son from Ethiopia at 10 months old in 2010. Laura and her husband are ready to travel to Ethiopia to bring their second adopted child, a 5-year-old girl, home.


When families interested in adopting a child express their financial concerns to Laura Sykora, she nods her head with genuine understanding. As the Branch Assistant for Holt’s Midwest branch, Laura knows — really knows — how scary it can be to adopt without upfront financial backing. But then, she looks at the picture of her son on her desk, a beautiful 4-year-old she and her husband brought home from Ethiopia at 10 months old in 2010. She thinks about Maci her 5-year-old daughter, who is still in care in Ethiopia while the Sykoras wait for their second adoption to finalize. They are just a few weeks away from boarding a plane to pick her up, and take her home to join their permanent, loving family.

At the same time that Laura helps other couples through the process of adoption through Holt, she fund raises to pay for two of her own, back-to-back.

“Most people don’t have an extra $25 or $30,000 lying around,” Laura says. “Families come in and one thing they want to discuss are the costs. They are fearful because they may have already tried other expensive options, like fertility treatments.”

Continue reading “Growing Family, Growing Faith — Fundraising for Adoption”

Upcoming Holt Events

This upcoming New Jersey gala dinner and auction will take place on September 28 in Princeton. All proceeds will benefit the Special Needs Adoption Fund, which helps families overcome the financial barriers that often come with adopting a child with special needs. As a special treat, Christian music artist Karyn Williams will perform at the event! Visit karynwilliams.com/adoption/ to learn more about Karyn’s connection to adoption and to Holt.

This year’s Portland gala will take place on November 9. All proceeds from the event will benefit children in Holt’s care in Korea, in honor of Molly Holt. The event will take place at the Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront at 5:30 p.m. Continue reading “Upcoming Holt Events”