Philippines Ambassador Update

 In October, seven Americans traveled to the Philippines for a week with Holt’s third annual Philippines Ambassador trip. Holt started this pilot adoption program in 2011 as a way to increase home-finding efforts for 13 older children and sibling groups living in Holt’s care. The ambassadors, chosen by Holt, spent a week bonding with the children, then returned to the U.S. to help the children find their forever families. Holt’s Jessica Palmer, Director of SE Asia Adoption Services, led the trip and reflects on the group’s experience here.

A group photo of the U.S. ambassadors with the 13 children in the 2014 program.

I was the first of the group to arrive in the Philippines. I waited up as long as I could for the rest of the ambassadors to arrive late at night, and when I didn’t think I could stay up any longer, there they were, arriving safely from New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Our first day was supposed to be a fairly easy one — to catch up on rest and jetlag since we wouldn’t meet the children in the ambassador program until the following day. I should have known that making stops at two of Holt’s partner, Kaisahang Buhay Foundation’s, most powerful programs might not make for an easy day though!

The first stop was KBF’s Nazareth Home, a house where single, expectant mothers live with other women in similar situations, receive the prenatal care they need, and grapple with the decision of what to do with their unborn child. One of the girls, who seemed to be a sort of informal spokeswoman for the group, shared her story with us, unable to fight back tears. She explained how she had been going to college until she became pregnant and didn’t know what to do. She found KBF’s single mothers’ program. She has regained hope, happiness, her spirituality, and is planning to move in with her parents and her newborn child.

The ambassadors meet with scholars in the ILEA program.

Our second stop was the Independent Living and Educational Assistance program (ILEA), where a group of scholars receive assistance from KBF to help them finish high school and go on to college while they live independently. Continue reading “Philippines Ambassador Update”