Continuing Molly Holt’s Legacy

Holt families and donors share about the impact that Molly Holt had on them and their children — and how her legacy continues on in their service to children with special needs. 

The daughter of Holt’s founders, Harry and Bertha Holt, Molly Holt dedicated her life to children.

Molly spent most of her adult life at the Ilsan Center in Korea, a nurturing, long-term care home that her parents built in the early 1960s for children and adults with special medical, developmental and physical needs. As a nurse and foster mother to the residents of Ilsan, Molly worked to ensure they received the specialized care they needed to reach their potential and live as independently as possible.

Through her tireless advocacy, Molly also made it possible for many children in care at Ilsan to join loving, permanent families through adoption. Today, hundreds of families adopt children with special needs every year from countries around the world. But long before it was common, Molly actively sought families for the children whom others considered “unadoptable.” Like her parents before her, Molly helped change the culture of adoption by showing that every child is equally worthy of love and acceptance, and that every child deserves to be part of a family.

Though she passed away in May 2019, Molly Holt’s legacy and life still have an incredible and continuing impact on children and families all around the world.

Here are just some of the ways Molly’s life touched children and families, and how she continues to inspire people to care for children with special needs:

“I was a member of the Holt Motherland tour in 1988. It was a privilege to meet Molly and see her almost daily while we stayed at Ilsan. Her devotion and commitment to the residents and their well-being was uncompromised, in a way that was inspiring as well as aspirational.” — Jewel K. (Park Bo Hae), Holt adoptee

“I remember it was a rare treat if Molly made it to the annual picnic, first at the family home and later at parks. Usually her first desire was to be at Ilsan. Oh what a heart for the children she had!” — Mark and Julianne U., Holt adoptive parents

“When I went to visit Korea seven years ago, I had the opportunity to meet her. I shared my adoption story and birth papers and enjoyed a light snack with her and Dr. Cho, who was my doctor in Korea. She was the loveliest woman and I’ll be forever grateful to her and her family for creating Holt.” — Brielle C., Holt adoptee

“I met Molly 21 years ago when I volunteered at Ilsan. She was such an advocate … We used to talk about the books we were currently reading and I borrowed many from her during the two months I volunteered. What a special person and I feel so fortunate to have met her.” — Dianna M., Holt volunteer and adoptee (1976)

“Molly has a special place in our hearts because she escorted our son home to us almost 13 years ago! She was so gracious and knew exactly what to do to make us comfortable. He was our first child and we were so nervous. She was simply amazing.” — Amanda T., Holt adoptive parent

Part of Molly Holt's legacy was her commitment to adoptees and families. Here, she greets a first-time adoptive parent
Molly, arriving at the airport with Amanda T.’s son.

The Molly Holt Fund

It’s because of Molly’s amazing life and legacy that we have the Molly Holt Fund. Each year, Holt donors and families generously give to care for children with special needs in Molly’s honor. The Molly Holt Fund is a continuation of Molly’s life and work — providing heart surgeries, cleft lip and palate operations, physical therapy, lifesaving medications and more to children in orphanages who desperate need it.

Child with cleft lip sitting with a caregiver

Give to the Molly Holt Fund!

Provide urgently needed medical care to a child in an orphanage with special needs.

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