Two girls laughing with animal masks

Through personalized advocacy, Holt’s Thailand Special Needs Project helps find loving, permanent families for older children and children with medical, developmental or emotional needs.

Holt’s Thailand Special Needs Project (SNP) is one of Holt’s most innovative and personalized adoption programs. Because of our longstanding relationship with the Thai government and our partner agency in Thailand, Holt Sahathai Foundation, we have a unique opportunity to advocate for children who are older or have special needs and remain in the care of the Thai government.

Because of their additional needs, we feature these children on our Thailand waiting child photolisting.

What Makes the Thailand SNP Special

At Holt, we seek loving, permanent families for waiting children in many countries. But our Thailand special needs program is unique because it is the only program in which Holt social workers in the U.S. are able to travel to visit the children in person! By visiting these children face to face, our social workers can better advocate for them. They can learn about their personalities and interests, assess any medical, developmental, cognitive or emotional special needs they may have, and best determine the kind of family they will thrive in.

“Giving the adoptee permission to use their voice in the process of finding them a forever home helps to build — even if just a little — the child’s confidence and a sense of identity.”

Brooke Loomis, Waiting Child Coordinator

Many of the children in the program live in care centers around the country. When the special needs project team visits Thailand, they gather photos of the orphanages and homes that the children live in, and also get to speak with a variety of people who work with the children, including teachers, caregivers, nurses and social workers. With a comprehensive portrait of the child’s life, personality and environment, they are well positioned to advocate for them and represent them to prospective adoptive families.

Thailand has thorough privacy requirements for children in governmental care, but the SNP makes it fun with a huge variety of animal masks!

And when prospective families reach out to Holt, we have a wealth of information and photos to share! Often, we can even direct them to a staff member who has spent time with the child, to give their impressions and perspective on the child’s needs! In the world of international adoption, this kind of interactive approach is transformative for children and families alike.

Once a prospective family has been matched with a child in the Thailand SNP, we can also provide them with regular updates about the child gathered directly by our team in the U.S. The team aims to travel to Thailand every nine months.

Social Workers get to Connect with Children in the Thailand SNP

While the team is there, they also get to have real conversations with the children. Brooke Loomis, one of Holt’s waiting child adoption coordinators, just returned from a trip to Thailand with Celeste Snodgrass, Holt’s director of clinical services, and Holt social worker Cara Smith. During this trip, Brooke got to talk to many of the children in the program about adoption!

“One of my favorite things about Holt’s Thailand Special Needs Project is the autonomy and voice it offers the children,” Brooke shares. “International adoption is a process with so many variables and unknowns. Prospective adoptive families have very little control throughout the process and the adopted child has even less. But in the Thailand Special Needs Project, we visit the children in country and discuss adoption with them. We ask the children what they know about adoption, if they feel ready to be adopted and who they would like in an adoptive family.” 

Some children want to be adopted into a two-parent family, others want a single mom. Many children want adoptive siblings while others are looking for pets. Whatever their wish, our SNP team gets to listen and help them process what to expect.

“Giving the adoptee permission to use their voice in the process of finding them a forever home helps to build — even if just a little — the child’s confidence and a sense of identity,” Brooke continues.

Cara Smith also got to meet over 100 children in the SNP.

“Meeting and making connections with so many children — many who so desperately want and deserve a loving family — is a continuing reminder of why we at Holt do the work that we do. It will be even more rewarding to see this come full circle — to see the children we assessed get matched with their forever family and their adoptions eventually completed.”

Cara Smith, Holt Social Worker
Celeste, Cara and Brooke with the team at Holt Sahathai.

A loving family for every child! The Thailand Special Needs Project brings us closer to that dream every day.

To learn more about the children who need families through this special project, email us at [email protected] or visit the Thailand waiting child photolisting.

Sign up for an Adoption Information Meeting!

Are you considering adopting a child? Attend a free Zoom adoption information meeting to learn about country requirements, parent eligibility, the profile of children waiting for families — and ask any other questions you have about international adoption!

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