As part of our Adoptee Profiles series, we introduce you to Holt board member Cheryl Myers, a first-wave Holt adoptee born in Korea. She currently lives in Portland, Oregon, where she is the Oregon Deputy Secretary of State. Cheryl was elected to the Board of Directors five years ago and began her term four years ago.
Cheryl is grateful for the ways in which adoption has touched her life, both through her own experiences and extended family. As a Holt board member, she is honored to contribute to the legacy started by Harry and Bertha Holt.
When asked which adoption-related topics are most important for the public to know about, she says, “How the nature of international adoption has evolved over the years and the intentional shift from international adoption-only to a more nuanced, child-centered prioritization.” At Holt, this child-centered approach to our services means that we always strive to help children reunite with their birth families before pursuing adoption. And before we pursue international adoption for a child, we try to unite them with a domestic adoptive family so they may grow up in the country and culture of their birth.
As Cheryl explains, the scope of Holt’s work includes “strengthening families, caring for orphans/vulnerable children, in-country adoption and, lastly, U.S. adoption.”
Throughout her career, Cheryl has been a public service contributor, including a wide range of roles within “policy, organizational and economic development, education/youth advocacy and a history of assisting organizations to construct equitable cultures and embed collaborative practices.” These roles include eight years as an elected school board member for a large Oregon school district and serving on numerous local and national nonprofit boards. She has also served as the operations and engagement director for the Educator Advancement Council, chief of staff for the Higher Education Coordinating Commission, and director of economic and business equity on the Oregon governor’s cabinet. She also has a significant entrepreneurial, private-sector business background.
Cheryl says she was motivated to serve on the Board of Directors because “it’s an honor to serve the organization which literally saved my life and facilitated my forever loving family.” Through adoption, she says she also had “opportunities to make a positive contribution at a level significantly beyond what I might have only dreamed of in my birth country.”
Looking ahead, Cheryl is interested in increased engagement with the Holt adult adoptee community, as well as supporting culturally appropriate training for adoptive families.
While she recognizes each adoptee has a unique and highly personal adoption experience, for her, she is “a grateful recipient of Holt’s vision of ‘building a world where every child has a loving and secure home’” and counts herself among the fortunate adoptees for whom this vision became a reality. Thank you for your service to Holt, Cheryl!
Learn more about Holt’s work and history!
At Holt International, we help children thrive in the love and stability of a family. But our services extend far beyond the adoption work we are known for.