When the Poliakoff family travels on Holt’s heritage tour to Vietnam, they meet a family whose quiet heroism in the face of poverty inspires them to help build a safe new home for the family and their children.
The second morning of our Holt Vietnam heritage tour, we set out at 9 a.m. from downtown Hanoi in our tour buses to visit families receiving services through Holt’s family strengthening program. I’m not sure that any of us knew what to expect. What we encountered that steamy July morning changed my understanding of Holt’s role, of families living in poverty, and of ways that our American families could make a real and sustaining difference. Continue reading “The Least We Could Do”
In this episode we talk to Caley, a Vietnamese Adoptee and college student at the University of Oregon. Caley shares with us about being a transracial Adoptee growing up in Oregon, existing in the “grey” space, and attitudes towards racial stereotypes through an Adoptee lens. We are so excited to be able to share more from Caley through this video.
We know there have been a lot of changes in adoption recently. Country programs are changing their eligibility requirements, the profile of children coming home is changing and it is easy to feel overwhelmed and give up.
One thing that isn’t changing, though, is the need. There are still so many kids who have been deprived of the love and protection that only a permanent family can provide. Each child is waiting for a family, and our mission is to find loving parents for those children.
Could you be the family that a child is waiting for?
If you are just in the beginning stages of adoption and aren’t sure what to do next — or if you are ready to move forward — email our adoption team at firstname.lastname@example.org! They can give you free information with no strings attached — helping you learn more about adoption or guiding you through the first steps of the process.
When he was about a month old, Bennett was left at the front steps of his care center. He has lived here his whole life, and is now 7 years old.
Bennett is a shy kid at first, but quickly warms up to people! Humor is one of his favorite ways to make friends, and he can often be seen laughing and joking with others. He likes living with a bunch of other kids, but it is hard for him to see other kids leave to join adoptive families while he still waits.
He is learning all kinds of new things in second grade including reading, writing and multiplication. He does well in school and someday, he says, he wants to be a doctor and help people! He knows he will need to learn as much as he can if he hopes to achieve his dream of becoming a doctor, and that’s why he works so hard.
What Bennett most wants and needs, though, is to be a part of a family — a family that will give him all the love and support he needs to achieve whatever he wants in life.
Dustin is a friendly and energetic boy who has been in care since he was 3 weeks old. He is currently in the 1st grade and is reportedly learning well. He can write letters and numbers and enjoys counting. He is said to have mild cognitive delays and a lisp, but is otherwise healthy! Continue reading “Dustin Needs a Family!”
Sometimes when a country hasn’t seen any movement on a waiting child’s file, they remove Holt’s referral for the child. Effectively that means that Holt can no longer seek families for these children.
Vincent is one of three boys who Holt will soon no longer be able to home-find for. If we can find the right family for Vincent, a $5000 Brittany’s Hope grant is available to help cover his adoption costs!
He has decided that five best friends is not enough, and is open to having more. It is rare to see him alone and he is most upset when he can’t hang out with others. He isn’t just popular with his peers, though, he is also close with his caregivers!
Vincent is also a very active boy, which can get him into trouble when he is supposed to be sitting still. He can ride a bike, play soccer, and likes to play pretend with the other kids in his care center.
He is very observant and a quick learner. One of his caregivers told the story of when a carpenter came to repair a door. Vincent was very curious about all of the tools that the carpenter brought and was very interested in the work that he was doing. He sat and watched as the man worked and in a very short time, he knew what each tool was called and how it was used. By the end, Vincent was helping the carpenter by handing him the right tools at the right time.
Vincent also has a very caring and thoughtful spirit. He can often be found helping the younger children in his care center and he likes playing with others and doesn’t mind sharing his toys because it brings them joy. One day, he hopes to be a priest because they help people.
Vincent is said to be in good physical health and to have mild cognitive delays. An adoptive family for this older boy should be knowledgeable about older child adoption issues, such as how grief may affect adjustment and attachment. His family should also have access to a good educational system to help him reach his full potential.
At the beginning of November, to kick off National Adoption Month, we shared a collage of all the children on our waiting child photolisting — just a small glimpse of the hundreds of children who we are seeking families for at any given time. We hoped it would kindle a passion in our supporters to help advocate for children who need loving families of their own. And it did!
You shared our waiting child stories. You reposted our advocacy blogs. You helped us tell the story behind each and every photo that we featured on social media during National Adoption Month.
The photo above represents the number of children from our photolisting that we have — thanks in part to your advocacy — matched with families so far in 2016. The black and white blocks represent the children who now are, or soon will be, part of a loving and secure family. The ones in color represent the children who we still need your help advocating for.
In total this year, Holt has matched 86 children from the photolisting — and another 200+ directly with a family! This is something to celebrate!
But we seek a world where every child has a loving and secure home. And until that day comes, we intend to keep working hard to advocate for the children left behind — and we ask you to join us.
One of the best ways that you can support our advocacy efforts is through sharing the stories we post about waiting children. That can be anything from pressing “like” or “share” on Facebook to leading an informational meeting in your community. Creativity is encouraged and we look forward to hearing what you come up with!
Thank you again for your heart and compassion for children who need families. Allied with you, we can achieve anything!
Eight-year-old Danh has cerebral palsy and lives in a care center in Vietnam. He spent most days lying in his crib and would remain laying down even when he ate — a position that, unbeknownst to his caregivers, caused him to choke on his food. But now, Danh sits up in his wheelchair to eat and loves engaging with the other children.
Danh* was born in June 2007 and was abandoned when he was an infant. He is now enrolled in care in the House of Love in Cam Ranh, Khanh Hoa. He has cerebral palsy and was diagnosed with hydrocephalus, for which he received surgery to drain the excess accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from his brain. However, his brain was affected by the hydrocephalus and resulted in stiffness and some brain damage. Despite the fact that Danh received good care and attention from the nuns at his care center, some of his specialized needs were not met due to his caregivers’ lack of knowledge and skills in caring for children with cerebral palsy. While in care, the nuns focused mostly on providing him with proper diet, medical care when he gets sick, and good hygiene. As he got older, Danh spent most of his time lying in his crib and being in a room by himself. Danh could not move, sit up or walk by himself. He ate in a laying position and depended mostly on his caretakers to meet his daily needs. The caretakers mostly showed up and interacted with him shortly during feeding or bathing time or to change his diaper. The only means of entertainment for him was watching TV. He cried when the TV was turned off and felt happy when it was on.
Danh’s life changed remarkably in November 2015 when his caregivers received the ONP training to teach healthy, safe feeding for children without families organized by Holt International and the SPOON Foundation. Right after the training completed, the nuns ordered a wheelchair for Danh and some supplies needed to provide him with simple massage and physical exercise. Twice a day, Danh is given about one hour of massage and exercise using the big yoga ball. He is now fed while sitting up in his wheelchair. His caretakers share that Danh responded well and enjoyed the massage and exercise he received. He also got used to his new wheelchair after the first week. Now he can’t wait for his caretaker to come to his room every morning. He smiles happily when seeing the caretaker showing up in his room with his wheelchair because he knows that it is time to be brought outdoors with the other kids. While outdoors, he is around many other kids who stand around him, talking to him and making him laugh. Danh has been so happy and excited with these changes in his life. This is a simple change, but has made the Danh’s life significantly meaningful and full of excitement.
At 8 years old, Binh* weighed only 22 pounds. Her jaw was so tight from her cerebral palsy that she struggled to eat — causing her to become malnourished. When Holt’s nutrition program staff visited her care center, they recommended a high-protein milk formula and special exercises to relax her muscles. Just three months later, she has shown great improvement!
Binh lives in the Child Protection Center in the Ben Tre Province of Vietnam and is 8 years old. She was found abandoned as a baby and was born premature with a very low birth weight of just 3.7 pounds. She also has cerebral palsy and was severely malnourished when she first came to the center. When a professional nutritionist from Holt’s nutrition program visited Ben Tre Orphanage in October 2015, they recommended that Binh be sent to the hospital for special nutrition care and tube feeding. At the time, she was about 8 years old, weighed about 22 pounds and was 92 centimeters in height. She had a lot of difficulty eating due to CP and her jaw stiffness. She could only drink formula milk and could not eat any solid food.
In Vietnam, the hospital is limited in providing rehabilitation services for its patients. So it was not realistic for Binh to be able to receive specialized nutrition care in the hospital. For this reason, a special diet plan was recommended for her. Binh was prescribed a special milk formula that is high in protein to help her gain weight.
In the last three months, since she has received this recommended formula, Binh has shown great progress! Binh has gained more than two pounds and has grown one inch taller. Binh also now receives massage and exercise therapy every day before she is fed and is she is practicing sitting up in a wheelchair. It is reported by the medical staff in the care center that she gets sick less often and has significantly fewer respiratory issues. We all feel so glad for Binh!
As a final note, we — the care center staff in Vietnam — all feel so blessed by this training. We are now equipped with the invaluable knowledge to better care for the children with the support from nutritional specialists and Holt International. This is a big need in care centers across Vietnam, so Holt Vietnam plans to expand our knowledge and skills to serve even more children. We aim to continue to improve the quality of care for children in other orphanages and childcare centers in our country. Our strategy will include Holt’s nutrition program as a new long-term service component in Vietnam. We are glad to continue to work to make this enthusiastic plan happen.