Top 10 Myths About Adopting From China

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*UPDATED April 2019 to reflect recent changes in China adoption. 

“Only girls from China need families.” 

“What?! No, only boys need families.”

“No, no, China doesn’t need any families to adopt anymore!”

“Well, it doesn’t matter anyway, because who wants to wait seven years to adopt a child?!”

As a family considering international adoption from China, have you ever found yourself in a conversation like this? At Holt, we hear these misconceptions so often that we thought it time to offer some clarity in the form of a “Top Ten Myths” list about adopting from China.

Please share this list widely to help dispel these common myths and raise awareness about the need for families to adopt from China. Also share with families who may have been deterred from considering China because of misinformation! Despite the #1 myth listed below, so many children in China are waiting for loving adoptive families… Armed with the facts, you can help be their voice and their advocate!

Top 10 myths about adopting from China

Myth #1: China doesn’t need families to adopt anymore.

Fact: To the contrary, we need families for boys and girls with special needs — all age ranges and all levels of need. When you apply to the China program, you will not be “competing” with other families for a small number of children. We have strong partnerships with child caring institutions in China and are receiving new children to find families for every week! You will be offering a loving family to a child who needs one and meeting a strong and urgent need.

Myth #2: Only girls from China need families.

Fact: Twenty years ago, the children coming home from China looked very different from those coming home today. They were almost all healthy infant girls! Most children now living within China’s social welfare system have some degree of medical or developmental condition. They are between the ages of 2-13, and to many families’ surprise, they are about 50 percent girls and 50 percent boys. Most children are under age 5 at the time of placement.

Continue reading “Top 10 Myths About Adopting From China”

Waiting For Someone to Find Him

UPDATE: As of October 2012, Donald has a family. Congratulations Donald!


It’s October 22, 2007 — Donald is left in a pediatric unit at a hospital in China. He is 2 months old. He waits for someone to hear his cries, waits for someone to notice him. He waits for someone to find him and care for him.

 Someone does find him.

A hospital employee hears Donald’s cries, scoops him up in her arms and brings him to safety.

From the hospital, police take little Donald to the social welfare institute and then to a local care center.  Tests confirm that Donald has a form of spina bifida.  He also has club feet.

Four years later, Donald remains at the care center.  His caregivers describe him as cheerful boy with a ready smile.   He loves his friends and will often share his snacks and toys with them.  Donald follows directions well and helps his caregivers clean up after play time.  Donald loves jigsaw puzzles and building blocks.  Described as outgoing, Donald is not afraid of strangers or new environments.


In 2009, Donald underwent surgery to correct a meningocele in the lumbroscral area of his spine.  He also had surgery to correct his club feet. Physical therapy twice a week helps Donald with his mobility. He can now walk and eat on his own, and change his clothes without help.

Every so often, Donald’s caregiver asks him if he would like a family in America, to which he always responds, “Yes, I would like a mom and a dad.”

Donald likes helping his friends

Today, Donald waits at his care center. He waits on a photolisting. His photo and video wait to be seen on the blog.

Donald waits for someone to find him. He waits for someone to scoop him up in their arms, hug him and love him……forever.


Holt has faith that someone will find Donald.

We hope you will join us in praying for Donald as he waits for a family to find him…….

*Name has been changed


Contact Erin Mower at for more information



Join the Team — Run, Ride or Swim to Help Waiting Kids Find Families!

Do you like to run? Have you ever thought about doing your first 5K? Are you a triathlete, or know someone who is? If so, consider joining Team Orphans! Choose a race, find friends to sponsor you, and race while raising money for Brittany’s Hope Foundation.

Pia came home with help from a Brittany’s Hope grant raised by Team Orphans.
Brittany’s Hope provides grants to help families adopt specific waiting children, all of whom have medical needs, are older, or are part of a sibling group. By partnering with Holt and other adoption agencies, this wonderful grant-making foundation helps ensure that waiting children are united with the loving families they deserve.

In their efforts to raise money for these special needs adoptions, Brittany’s Hope has launched a nationwide campaign called “Team Orphans.” Participants choose a race, set a fundraising goal and then find friends and supporters to sponsor them. After the race, they donate the money they raised to Brittany’s Hope Foundation, which in turn puts the funds toward special needs adoption grants.

The idea for Team Orphans started with Rebecca Cruttenden of Michigan, a dedicated mom of three adopted children and a 2003 Brittany’s Hope grant recipient. An active swimmer, cyclist and runner, Rebecca decided to participate in her first half Ironman triathlon in 2010. At the same time, she decided to put her energy toward a good cause – raising money for Brittany’s Hope as a way to “pay back” the grant she received in 2003. She raised $10,000, paying the grant back in full. In total, she has raised over $28,000 for Brittany’s Hope in the last 3 years through her Ironman events. Her next race is Ironman Arizona, Nov. 17, 2013.

After founding Team Orphans in February 2012, more than 50 other athletes from 9 states joined Rebecca’s cause — raising over $33,000 to help children from Ethiopia, Colombia, China, Bulgaria, and South Korea join forever families. For 2013, Team Orphans is seeking more partners to help more children experience the miracle of adoption. 

Clara also came home with help from funds raised by Team Orphans.

Athlete or Not, Team Orphans Offers Many Ways to Get Involved:

  1. Sign up for a race or triathlon, set your fundraising goal, and sign up at  Remember, you don’t need to be fast; just finish!
  2. Share this article with someone you know who likes to run, bike or swim, and offer to be their first sponsor.
  3. Volunteer to put the Team Orphans flyer in the registration packets of a race in your city. Contact or more information.
  4. Sponsor a Team Orphans athlete with a tax-deductible donation at
Thanks to Team Orphans, Joel is now home as well!

Meet Jack — He’s a Delight, and This Week’s Waiting Child

by Robin Munro, Senior Writer

From China. Date of Birth: June 1, 2003

Jack* is a child with a gentle soul.  As his teachers say, he is “a delight.”

I met Jack last summer in a northern province of China, where he was abandoned at birth eight years ago.  A sweet boy with a warm and open smile, he enjoyed playing with the other children we came to visit — two other high-energy boys, and a beautiful little girl with CP.  An easygoing kid, Jack amicably horsed around with the boys, all rolling around in giant tubes.  When one of the other boys knocked over Jack’s toy with a giant bear, he took it in stride – smiling and engaging the boy in more playful roughhousing.

When the little girl with CP began to practice walking as part of her physical therapy, Jack decided to help.  He guided her along the bars, and comforted her when she fell and began to cry.

Jack has poor hearing and unclear speech, the results of an ear deformity.  Despite these limitations, he has learned to communicate well with others, always answering his teachers’ questions in class.  But he has also learned to communicate in perhaps more important ways – in kindness and thoughtful gestures, in comforting and helping younger children, and in the subtle social cues of playing with other boys his age.

Jack will turn 8 in June.  He has spent a year on Holt’s waiting child photolisting, and still, he continues to wait for a loving family.  Jack has grown and developed well in the care of his foster parents, but what he needs now is a permanent family – a family to love and appreciate what a delightful boy he is, and support him throughout his life.

Interested families should be able to provide any medical care or therapies Jack will need, and have experience parenting past his age.

To learn more about Jack, contact Erin Mower at

* name changed


I’ve Just Seen A Face — Danielle, This Week’s Waiting Child

by Robin Munro, Senior Writer

Born in Africa, DOB: January 15, 2003

I saw her face, and I just knew.  That’s my child.

This is a story told time and again by adoptive families.  They see a face, just a face, and they know.  This is a special child.  This is my child.

In an article for Holt’s winter 2011 magazine, adoptive father Sean Yarger explains how he and his wife knew that the girl then identified as G09-211, now Gemma, was their daughter. “(My wife) had found a face – just a face on the photolisting that she knew she’d be united with at some point in the future,” writes Yarger.  “That’s how strong and immediate the connection can be.”

Recently, while browsing through the photos of children still waiting for families, I too came upon a face – just a face, radiant and joyful – and I knew, this is one special girl.

Eight-year-old Danielle’s child reports read like those of a girl with a different background – a girl treasured by a loving family, showered with affection, supported in all her endeavors.  She is “outgoing and loves people,” shows affection with ease, and is considered “a very social, friendly and receptive child.” She attends the top class at her care center, communicates well in both English and Lungara – her native language – and is always available to help other children with their homework.  She “writes really well at school and her teachers are proud of her.”  Every report is glowing.  Every one reinforcing the last.

But Danielle has no champion at home.  No father to beam with pride when she succeeds.  No mother to comfort her when she fails.   No family to guide her way.

Danielle is her own hero.

And “home” to Danielle is an orphanage – the only home she’s known from the time a probation officer brought her in at 3-months-old, dressed in rags, found abandoned at a local bar.  When she arrived, she had skin rashes all over her body and cried from the pain of scratching them. With treatment, she recovered well.  Five months later, she was admitted to the hospital with severe malaria.

Given time to heal, and nurturing care from attentive caregivers, Danielle began to blossom.  Her report at 14 months states that  “she looks well and is growing steadily.”  Years pass without incident, with steady growth.  Her asthma occasionally acts up.  But mostly, she’s focused on the business of growing  — “growing strong and beautiful,” as her report describes Danielle at age 7.

Danielle, now 8, is already strong and beautiful.  You can see it in her captivating brown eyes and big, confident smile.  This is the face of a girl who loves, and knows she deserves to be loved.  A girl whose favorite activity is skipping.  Who likes to read books, tell stories and sing.  Who loves to draw, color and paint.  A girl who is “always seeking how to get involved and seeks responsibility.”  A hard-working girl, helpful and neat, whose “bed is the most organized at the center.”

A girl with a face – just a face on the photolisting, waiting for a family.

Help Danielle, the Waiting Child of the Week, go viral! Forward this to friends and family. Share every week at church or a community group. And repost to your own blog, Facebook page and company site. With the simple press of a button, you can change Danielle’s life forever!

Contact Holt’s Waiting Child program for more information about Danielle.

Don’t Let the Day Go By

Please Help find Grace a Family

By Ashli Keyser, managing editor

I remember, 2 years ago, a group of six Holt employees sitting around a table when the name “Journey of Hope” entered the conversation. As we discussed this new and promising program — made up of older, mostly healthy children from a southern province in China — twenty-five individual child folders, packed with photos, medical history and biographies were passed around the table.

When a folder made its way around to John Aeby, Holt’s late director of communications, he set it on the table and opened it slowly. Staring back at him, with a shy, unsure smile, was 7-year-old Grace. What a beautiful child,” John said softly. “What a joy it will be to help find her a family,” he continued, with a quiet sigh that seemed to express a sense of responsibility for Grace, and for all the Journey of Hope children.

Months before John’s sudden and unexpected passing in September of 2009, he would spend hours preparing for the launch of the Journey of Hope program, pouring his heart into every word he wrote, and every video he edited. As he worked diligently for all the Journey of Hope children, he would continue to keep a special place in his heart for Grace. “I wish we could find her a family,” he would often tell me.

From the moment he stepped into the office every day, John’s purpose was clear: Help find families for children, and pray for them continually.

“Oh, how he loved the children,” his wife Clarice told me recently. “He seemed somehow to feel God’s pain at their loss and felt privileged to have a small part in helping to relieve it.” John would often tape children’s photos above his computer, “to remember why I am here,” he would say. He even handed out photos of children in care to Holt staff. “Make it your responsibility to pray for this child today,” John would tell them. “Don’t let the day go by without praying for this child.”

Two weeks ago, I clicked on Holt’s Journey of Hope photolisting and slowly scanned through the page. Amazed and grateful to see how many Journey of Hope children had been blessed with families since 2009, I also felt sadness to see Grace still on the photolisting, two years later. I quickly remembered John’s words, his wish for this little girl to have a family. I wondered why no one had brought this beautiful child into their home.

Reading Grace’s description, it’s hard to fathom.

Grace’s foster family describes her as clever, shy and kind – the girl with the loving heart, who walks around her foster home singing. Grace’s favorite activities include helping out with the younger children, sliding at the park and playing with dolls. She regularly attends school, although is said to be somewhat delayed in fine motor skills.

Loved by the adults in her life, Grace often shies away from strangers and needs a family able to help her through grief and loss. With a few small neoplasms on her ear, Grace also needs a family who can provide her with the medical care she may need.

I would love to find Grace a family for John. But more importantly, I want Grace to know the love of a permanent family. For her to walk around singing in a home of her own — singing to a family of her own.

“Don’t let the day go by,” John would say. I encourage you to remember John’s words, and remember Grace throughout the day. Don’t let the day go by without praying for her. Don’t let the day go by without reposting her story to your Facebook page, blogs and other social networking sites.

Together, we can find Grace a family, and make her one less child on that Journey of Hope photolisting. John spent so much time helping children find families, the least I can do — the least we can do — right now, is help this one child find a family of her own. For John….but most importantly, for Grace.

For more information about Grace, contact Erin Mower at

Waiting Child of the Week: Julie

Julie, a child in China’s Journey of Hope program, needs a family of her own

Date of Birth: 11/15/98

by Robin Munro, Senior Writer

This summer, several of us at Holt traveled to China to meet children in the Journey of Hope – a program to propel adoption of older children, or children with special needs in southern China. Upon arrival, I joined Holt China staff and local caregivers for a traditional dinner in the province of Jiangsu. Across the table from us sat three children who, along with their caregivers, had journeyed a considerable distance to meet us. Two little boys in matching red shirts sat side by side, charming the visitors.

And then there was *Julie.

Though shyly looking away, her eyes held a glow as bright and genuine as her smile. She giggled and chatted with her favorite caregiver – a young woman who also taught in the orphanage school. Clearly very attached to her caregiver, she also recognized Sue Liu, the sweet-faced manager of the Holt office in Beijing. Once more at ease in the company of strangers, Julie got up from the table to give Sue a big hug, and squeeze into her chair – this tall, slender, 11-year-old girl with a Mickey Mouse button on her yellow Crocs shoes. Awkwardly smooshed together, they sat like sisters – playful and laughing.

Julie’s assessment states that she often shows great kindness and easily builds attachments. That night in Jiangsu, Julie brought that description to vibrant, glowing life. She bounded down the hallways to greet orphanage directors and Holt staff, her long skinny legs sticking out of shorts – an outfit in which she seemed more comfortable than the frilly frock she wore for the official Journey of Hope camp the following day. And her hugs – warm and engrossing – landed spontaneous and often on their recipients.

Julie entered care as an infant and has lived in the orphanage ever since. Because of a medical condition that made it difficult to control her bodily functions, she entered school later than other children. But after receiving a surgery in 2005 that corrected her condition, Julie became more confident and outgoing in school. When we met her this summer, she was in the third grade. In November, she turned 12. Continue reading “Waiting Child of the Week: Julie”

Waiting Child of the Week: Let’s Find Min-kee a Family this Thanksgiving

Since Holt’s beginning, 55 years ago, many children with special needs at the Ilsan Center in Korea have gone home to wonderful permanent families.  Today, we ask for your help on behalf of one resident, Min-kee,  a spirited and sweet 6-year-old waiting for a family of his own.

Min-kee came into the care of Ilsan at 16 months of age.  Upon arrival, he had a large ASD of the heart, but has since had this surgically closed.  His current, suspected diagnosis is Noonan syndrome.  Min-kee can feed and dress himself, uses the bathroom with little help and receives speech, art and music therapy.  “Min-kee is so charming and has come so far,” says Molly Holt, Holt Korea director. “The housemothers and the residents here just love him.”

Access to medical treatment and the loving encouragement of a permanent family will make a huge difference in Min-kee’s life.  This Thanksgiving,  post his story on your Facebook, blog and other social networking sites.  Min-kee needs a special family.  He has waited for six years and we know there is one out there, waiting just for him.  Help us bring them together!


The Following is a letter from Melinda Dionne.  Melinda volunteered at Ilsan for 4 months alongside Molly Holt.  She describes Min-kee as “the cutest little guy ever!”….

by Melinda Dionne

During my time at Ilsan Town, I had the privilege of living among the residents for four months. And one of those residents was 6-year-old Min-Kee.

Min-Kee is a bright little boy that is both charming and independent. There are several little boys around the age of six who live at Ilsan, and they all play and live together. Min-Kee is a very social little boy, and often will take the lead among his peers.

Min-Kee can be shy at first with adults, but once he opens up to you he is engaging. He didn’t care that I didn’t speak Korean, regardless he would ask me questions; and I would do my best to answer them. He’s an inquisitive and spirited little boy. Continue reading “Waiting Child of the Week: Let’s Find Min-kee a Family this Thanksgiving”

Who do you see?

Holt Senior Writer Robin Munro is traveling with Waiting Child Manager Jessica Palmer to learn more about a new group of children in Holt’s Journey of Hope program.

Robin Munro, Senior Writer—Today, we visited a beautiful orphanage in Northern China – a place full of color and life.  Each room opened onto another group of faces – curious, apprehensive, wide-eyed faces.  Most of these children have special needs, conditions beyond which most birth families have the capacity to provide medical care – conditions like cleft lip and palate, CP, Down’s Syndrome, Spina bifida, feet and hand deformities, as well as a few cases of pneumonia.

In the first room we enter, metal barred cribs line the wall.  In each, a child sits or lays, staring at the ceiling, the wall, or nothing in particular – into middle space.   These children have some of the most severe conditions.  Most don’t seem to notice our presence in the room – don’t jump up, or cry, or reach out to us.  I walk over to one boy, who lifts his head when I touch his back.  His head is swollen from Hydrocephalus, a condition in which water gets onto the brain.  In some cases, this condition is minor and won’t interfere with the child’s life.  But this boy’s condition is serious, says Sue Liu, the Beijing office manager.  As I rub his back, he begins to smile.  When I stop, he stares at me blankly.  I gently touch him again, and his smile returns.   Continue reading “Who do you see?”