Why One Adoptee Became a Sponsor

Vietnamese adoptee Clare Larson reflects on her life, her family and her hopes and dreams for the child she sponsors in Vietnam. A longer version of this story originally appeared in Holt’s fall 2017 sponsorship magazine. 

Adoptee and Holt child sponsor Clare Larson with her mom and dad at her college graduation in 2009.
Clare with her mom and dad at her college graduation in 2009.

In January 2017, Holt’s sponsorship team received an unusual email from a woman named Clare Larson.

“In 1993,” it read, “I was fortunate enough to be adopted from Vietnam at 9 years old and went through the Holt adoption agency. At 33 years old with a career in management consulting and a student at Cornell’s Johnson MBA program, I am finally able to give back. I would like to sponsor a child from Vietnam.”

Continue reading “Why One Adoptee Became a Sponsor”

COVID-19 in Vietnam: How the Pandemic is Affecting Sponsored Kids

An interview with Hang Dam, country director for Holt Vietnam, about how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting children and families in Vietnam — and how sponsors and donors are meeting their most urgent needs. 

Thanks to Holt sponsors and donors, this family received emergency food and support during the COVID-19 pandemic in Vietnam.
Thanks to Holt sponsors and donors, this family received emergency food and support  after they lost their source of income during the pandemic.

How is the COVID-19 pandemic affecting children and families in Holt’s Vietnam programs?

We in Vietnam feel so blessed to be safe up to this point in time. All of our children are safe. None of them are diagnosed with the illness. But the pandemic has caused so many difficulties for the parents because so many have lost jobs. Even with the social distancing period over in Vietnam, many families still face difficulties finding a job due to the number of companies that had to close down or ran out of business. Families have fallen into financial crisis and are struggling with daily living and needing basic necessities for their children. Continue reading “COVID-19 in Vietnam: How the Pandemic is Affecting Sponsored Kids”

A New Hope, A New Cow

After Dat’s father caught malaria and died three years ago, his mom was forced to sell their only cow to pay off their debts. In this story, the family’s local caseworker in Vietnam shares what happened when a generous donor replaced the family’s cow — and the family’s hope. 

Dat builds a sand bridge with bricks and sand in front of his home in southern Vietnam.
Dat builds a sand bridge with bricks and sand in front of his home in southern Vietnam.

“What are you building?” I ask Dat, the little boy playing on a small sand dune by the entrance to the house. He answers me as he continues to collect sand and pile it onto broken bricks.

“I’m building a sand bridge,” Dat answers in a soft voice without looking at me — his family’s caseworker.

“Is your mom home?” I ask.

Dat continues working on his sand bridge. ‘She’s in the field now,’ he says. Continue reading “A New Hope, A New Cow”

The Gift of Hope

When Tieu endures a horrific accident at work and loses her source of income, she fears her daughters will be forced to drop out of school because she can’t afford their fees. But when she receives an unexpected gift, in an unusual size and shape, she begins to feel hopeful again.

Tieu lightly rests her left hand on her right arm. Her skin is painful to look at. Marbled and pocked, shiny and red and raised about an inch above her healthy skin, a severe burn runs the length of her arm, serving as a daily reminder of the gasoline fire that nearly took her life. Tieu is 40 but looks much younger, with shiny black hair parted down the side. She has five daughters — the youngest of which sits beside her now, giggling and bouncing with excitement to have visitors in her home. Another of Tieu’s daughters sits on the other side of her giggly sister, watching her mom with worry as she talks about her burn.

“This daughter,” Tieu says, looking solemnly at her older daughter, “wants to become a doctor so she can treat my hand.” Continue reading “The Gift of Hope”