Blow out the candles and make a wish.

Kids and birthdays go together. Need proof? Just watch the video above, where we ask kids why birthdays are the best day of the year.

Birthdays are a great day to remind children how special they are, how much we love them and that they are making the world a better place, simply by being themselves.

Send you sponsored child a special birthday card!

But children living in an impoverished place or facing a difficult hardship, like the child you sponsor, may rarely have a chance to hear that they are valuable, precious and worthy of celebration.

That’s why International Day of the Child is so fun! On June 1, because of you and your generosity, your sponsored child just gets to act like a kid.

They eat special treats, play fun games, spend time with their families and friends and open a present just for them.

But, it’s only because of kind and compassionate sponsors that this special day is possible. Continue reading “Blow out the candles and make a wish.”

Your Support Matters

As a sponsor, you have the unique opportunity to love and support a child living in a tough situation.

Maybe your sponsored child is waiting in a care facility for a permanent, loving family. Maybe your sponsored child is in school and working to end the cycle of poverty for his or her family. Or maybe your sponsored child has special needs that require specialized resources and therapies — needs like cerebral palsy, developmental delays, cleft lip and palate… or HIV.

Among the most vulnerable groups of children Holt sponsors support are in fact children in China who have HIV.

Continue reading “Your Support Matters”

Sponsorship = Healthy Children, Stable Families, Strong Communities.

If we ever wish to see a world where every child has a permanent, loving family, then keeping families on the verge of separation together is critical.

In Cambodia, this concept is absolutely central to Holt’s programs.

With the generosity and commitment of sponsors like you, Holt’s on-the-ground partners are empowering women to combat some of the biggest threats to family stability — migration, trafficking, poverty, poor job opportunities and food shortages.

By training moms in diversified sustainable agriculture (a fancy way of saying farming and ranching), they are able to generate enough income to provide for their families without migrating for work. This helps to keep children safe. By creating women’s self-help groups and community loan programs, women are learning to save money and also have access to low-interest loans. This helps ensure children’s basic needs are met. And, by providing children with school supplies, teachers, advocates and education-based leadership opportunities, children are staying in school longer and staying safe from exploitation, abuse and trafficking. And, children share what they’ve learned with their parents, too.

All together, these efforts mean healthier, happier children, stable families and stronger communities.

And it’s all because of you, because you provide the support to ensure these programs are possible. By sponsoring a child, you are giving a voice to the voiceless and preventing child abandonment, and not just in Cambodia but everywhere Holt has programs.

In early February, Holt staff had the opportunity to visit children and families in Cambodia, and we hope you will take a minute to see how sponsorship is transforming the lives of children and families in two of the poorest districts, Prey Veng and Kampot.

You can read more about Holt’s programs in Cambodia here.

How Holt Keeps Children in School

Back-to-school season is upon us! As the leaves begin to turn and children get ready to start a new year, we would like to take a moment to thank our sponsors and supporters for helping us ensure that every child we serve has access to an education.  Through education, we firmly believe that every child everywhere can escape a life of poverty and hardship.

In the regions where we work, many families struggle to meet their basic needs — including the rising costs of school fees, supplies and transportation. As a result, families are often faced with the choice of keeping their children in school or food on the table — which is really no choice at all. Even if education came free, many children would still end up working to support their families — leaving no time for school.

Watch the video below to learn more about how Holt and Holt supporters are helping children stay in school around the world…

 

A Selfless Act of Pure Love

A mom learns of the extraordinary kindness and generosity of Holt sponsors.

by Amy Lafler 

My husband Barry and I started the adoption process for our first son, Evan, in July of 2007. We were matched with him in August of 2008 and brought him home in December of that year. Best Christmas present ever! Evan is a smart, handsome and thoughtful little boy who loves to build. We are positive that he will be building or designing something when he grows up. He started kindergarten this year, and is doing very well academically.

Shortly after we came home with Evan, we knew we wanted him to have a brother or sister and almost immediately began the adoption process again. We were matched with our twin daughters in March 2012 and traveled to Korea to bring them home that November. Kassandra and Addison complement each other very well, but are still developing their own interests. Kassi is very interested in anything her big brother is doing, and Addie loves to sing and dance. They have only been home for a year, so we are still seeing their personalities emerge.

During the wait for our girls, the rules changed in Korea. This gave adoptive parents a chance to connect to each other and support one another during the wait. Several Facebook groups were set up to encourage one another when the waiting days seemed endless. Additionally, it gave waiting families the opportunity to cheer for each other when one of us was finally united with our child. Today, we are all learning from each other, helping to raise our kiddos together and supporting each other through the journey of parenthood. We have such an amazing connection in our group. We just “get each other.”

It was in this group that I learned of Holt child sponsorship, and its connection to our family.

Continue reading “A Selfless Act of Pure Love”

Look What You Helped Accomplish For Children in 2013

It’s hard to believe another year is almost in the history books. Thanks to your support, 2013 was a time of great accomplishments, many of which will continue to positively impact children’s lives far beyond the new year.

  • This year, we found families for 339 children, and of those children, 299 have already arrived home to their permanent, loving parents in the U.S.
  • We raised and awarded approximately $80,000 in grants to families adopting children with special needs this year.
  • Thousands of children received lifesaving food, clothing, medical care, education and more, thanks to the generosity of Holt child sponsors.
  • Holt’s services reunited or strengthened nearly 21,000 vulnerable children and families in Cambodia, China, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Korea, Mongolia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Uganda.

Continue reading “Look What You Helped Accomplish For Children in 2013”

Decades of Dedication

Holt is blessed to have thousands of devoted child sponsors, including more than 1,300 families who have consistently sponsored children for more than 20 years. What inspires their commitment to caring for children they’ve never met, even through times of hardship?

by Billie Loewen, Staff Writer

A recent photo of Linda and Chris Bell with their daughters at Christmas time.

Nearly 30 years ago, Linda and Chris Bell were planning to add one child to their family. They never would have guessed that adding one would inspire them to add 15 more.

After Linda and Chris adopted their daughter Stacy in 1984, they learned that an American family had sponsored Stacy through Holt International while she was in care in Korea.

“We were so thankful for the care that Stacy had received, we wanted to join the sponsorship program,” Linda says. Linda took her children to Holt’s main office, where they looked at the pictures of children in sponsorship, and read each child’s story.

They chose to sponsor a boy from Thailand — the first of nearly 15 children they’ve sponsored over the past 20 years.

Continue reading “Decades of Dedication”

Claire’s China Blog: A Visit To My Orphanage

Holt adoptee Claire Kendig blogs about her travels — and thoughts — on the Holt heritage tour of China.

This morning was the sweetest thing ever.

We visited our orphanage — I was only there for a few short days — played with some of the babies there, and had a delicious lunch with the orphanage director and staff. One of the first things we did when we arrived at the orphanage was make an imprint of our hands on a slab of cement. Then, we wrote our names beneath our handprints. Our handprints will eventually be accompanied by a picture of us and our family. I feel like I’ve finally come full circle on this trip.

Playing with the babies was extremely touching though. There were about eight or nine women in the room, and each was playing with three to four children. It was hot and everyone was sweating, but the focus was entirely on the children.  I tried to tell one of the caretakers that the child she was playing with was beautiful, but she knew so little English I couldn’t manage to get what I wanted to say across. However, we both had a mutual understanding of why we were in that room. Both of us cared about the happiness and well being of these children. Seeing them smile could make our entire day. We felt blessed to be a part of these small, fragile lives, and that is what transcended our language barrier.  But really, these were the cutest little kids I’ve ever seen. All of them stared up with these cute little eyes, drooling and waving their arms around. I actually got to hold one of the babies, and he started pulling on my hair! I couldn’t help but laugh and smile, though — it’s so difficult to get mad at something so innocent. I let him tug on my hair and paw at my bracelet, all while I played with his toes and cooed baby noises at him. It was a magical moment I will never forget.

I fell in love with each and every child in that room.

When I am older, adopting is a strong possibility. But I have to see where my future takes me first. I’ve never felt like this before, so it feels strange. Not bad, but strange. Many of these children are given up because of small defects like a cleft lip, or mental disabilities. I can’t imagine that — giving up a perfectly sweet and innocent child because of physical appearance. That is something I question about adoption. I help people sponsor children at Holt, and it’s interesting how they pick children. A majority of the time, they’re looking for the cutest children. Not the ones with the most need or the less fortunate. The ones that are beautiful seem to be blessed with people showering them with gifts. It’s unfortunate, and many people don’t realize what they’re doing. Bertha Holt once said that all children are beautiful when they are loved. Love can transform even the worst deformities, if your heart is big enough.

To read Claire’s earlier blog posts, click here and here.

For more information about Holt’s annual heritage tour of China, click here.

Holt’s Online Sponsorship Service Center is Now Live!

To Our Wonderful Holt Sponsors:

Your sponsorship is changing a child’s life…forever. And we at Holt cannot thank you enough.

But we can strive to make your sponsorship experience as fulfilling as possible. That’s why we’re excited to announce MyHolt Sponsorship — Holt’s new online service center for sponsors! You can view your giving history, update your account, and get the latest report on your sponsored child – all at the click of a button! Best of all, the service center helps you stay better connected with your sponsored child.

Just click here to enter your user ID and password in the fields shown below. If you don’t remember your information, simply select “forgot username and password,” and we will promptly send you an email at the address we have on file for you. If you need to update your email address, please call us at 1.800.451.0732.

Like you, Kelsey is a child sponsor. After testing the service center, she wrote, “I really like this format much better than the previous format; it is much more user-friendly and I can view all of the information online rather than maintaining a paper trail. I also like the options of printing pictures and reports. Great upgrade!”

Continue reading “Holt’s Online Sponsorship Service Center is Now Live!”

Help Celebrate the Birthdays of Children in Holt’s Care!

 

A child in care at the Holt Fontana Village in Haiti during last year’s International Day of the Child celebration.

Birthdays. We all have one. Most often, they are celebrated with family and friends, good food and gifts for the guest of honor — a joyful time of celebration for another hopefully happy and fulfilling year of life.

But for homeless and vulnerable children around the world, birthdays might look a little different. Many children don’t have much reason to celebrate.

Many don’t even know what a “birthday” is.

Sponsorship donations help provide children with their most basic necessities — gifts that these children are forever grateful for. But sometimes, along with the provision of their basic needs, children just need to have a little fun!

In an effort to make every child feel special and loved, Holt will throw exciting birthday celebrations on June 1st for children in Holt’s care around the world—from China to Ethiopia and many countries in between! This special day also fittingly coincides with the International Day of the Child.

The parties will include a special meal, decorations, treats and games. Every child will receive a pair of shoes, clothing, or other much-needed personal items. We’re planning to serve approximately 10,000 children!

Recently, child sponsors had the opportunity to participate in the celebrations by sending a special greeting and goodie bag to their sponsored child. Some sponsors also gave an additional donation above and beyond their normal monthly sponsorship to help with the parties. Continue reading “Help Celebrate the Birthdays of Children in Holt’s Care!”