Cambodian girl with hands held palm to palm to say thank you

See the Difference You Made in 2021

This past year, you helped meet an incredible milestone — over one million people reached through Holt’s vital services around the world. From helping children thrive in their families to caring for children in orphanages, helping children join adoptive families to providing post-adoption support to adoptees and their families, see the powerful difference you made in 2021.

In 2021, you helped reach an incredible milestone – over one million children, family members and other individuals reached through Holt programs and services in the U.S. and around the world. Through your generous and heartfelt giving, you provided direct services to thousands of orphaned and vulnerable children — including everything from school scholarships to warm clothing to gifts of livestock that help families nourish their children and grow their income.

But often, when you give a gift to one child, the impact of your gift extends well beyond the life of that one child. When you give a goat as a Gift of Hope, that goat will produce milk that nourishes a whole family. Or when you give a small business microgrant to empower a single mom, you help her earn an income that provides for all of her children — and often other family members in her home. One gift can be so powerful — effecting change in not just one child’s life, but in the lives of their family and community as well!

Even as the pandemic raged on this past year, you never wavered in your compassion for children and families in greatest need. In 2021, you provided direct care and services to 322,373 children living with their families or in Holt-supported foster families, group homes or care centers. You provided the books, supplies, masks and sanitizers that made it possible for children to safely return to school or study from home. You provided emergency food for families who lost jobs and income due to COVID-19. You helped parents start new businesses they could sustain during the pandemic. You helped provide nurturing foster families for children waiting to join their adoptive families. And you stepped up even more when crisis struck in countries where Holt works — helping children and families survive a deadly second wave of COVID in India, and meeting urgent needs of vulnerable families in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake last August in Haiti. 

In many ways, 2021 seemed like a continuation of 2020 for children and families waiting to unite through adoption — slowing adoption processes and creating frustrating challenges for our teams around the world. Some families, especially those in the China process, are still waiting to unite with their child, and our hearts ache for these children and families. Thankfully, despite the challenges and restrictions caused by COVID, our dedicated teams around the world were able to continue working and advocating for children and families in the adoption process. And in many countries, adoptions did move forward and travel did resume— making it possible for 143 children to join loving families through international adoption. This was in no small thanks to child sponsors and donors, who not only support children while they wait to join their families, but also support the advocacy work required to complete the adoption process for every child. Through your generous giving in 2021, you also helped 21 children join adoptive families domestically in the U.S. and 110 children join adoptive families in their birth countries around the world.

For every child and family joined through adoption, Holt offers lifelong post adoption services. By supporting Holt, donors help to ensure that adult adoptees can access copies of their adoption file, receive help and support with a birth family search, have important citizenship questions answered or receive counseling to cope with adoption-related issues that come up throughout their lives. When parenting issues arise that may or may not be adoption-related, adoptive parents can also receive help and support through our Post Adoption Coaching & Education program. Birth parents can reach out to Holt’s post adoption team for support and counseling.  And every summer, youth adoptees have the opportunity to attend Holt Adoptee Camp — a weeklong overnight camp where they can connect with other adoptees and discuss issues surrounding adoption. In 2021, Holt camp was held virtually but is planned to resume in person in summer 2022!

Around the world over the past two years, thousands of families fell into extreme poverty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As businesses and factories closed and quarantine measures were imposed, families lost jobs and income. In 2021, food also became unaffordable due to inflation in many countries. As a result, many families found themselves unable to feed their children — a crisis that led to more and more children coming into orphanage care. But for over 30,480 children last year, you provided the critical support their families needed to stay together.

Your generous giving made it possible to provide emergency food, medicines, and cash transfers so parents could pay rent and avoid eviction. You also provided microgrants and job skills training so out-of-work parents could start their own businesses and continue earning an income to support their children. You provided livestock and seedlings so families could produce their own food and nourish their children. And you helped Holt’s on-the-ground social workers provide counseling for families in crisis, empowered single moms to parent their children, and so much more.

When you provide the supplies, uniforms, books and scholarships kids need to attend school, you empower them to one day escape poverty. You help protect them from child labor, child marriage, child trafficking and child abuse. And you give them the tools to not only lift themselves out of poverty, but to lift their families and communities up and out as well. In 2021, your generous giving made it possible for children to safely return to the classroom or continue their studies from home. You provided everything from crayons and coloring books for preschoolers to laptops for students attending university on scholarship.

In many impoverished communities, the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic have also increased the risk of children dropping out of school — especially girls. And in many places, girls are also at much higher risk of being forced into early marriage — a practice that eases the immediate financial burden on a struggling family, but has lifelong consequences for the girl. Through your generous support, you made it possible for many girls in Holt programs to stay in school and avoid early marriage this past year. You not only provided the tangible supplies they need, but also dedicated social workers who advocate for children to stay in school in communities where Holt works around the world.

Around the world this past year, the COVID-19 pandemic continued to affect families’ ability to feed their children. While on lockdown, families have been unable to work to purchase or grow food. When schools closed, children at Holt-supported schools also lost their free school lunch — often their best, or only, meal of the day. So many families were already struggling to eat, but the pandemic abruptly halted their incomes and their ability to access food altogether.

On average, children have missed 40% of their in-school meals since COVID-19 has closed schools. The lack of food is crippling to the children and families who relied on this steady source of essential daily nutrients, and has put an entire generation of children at risk. But thanks to your support in 2021, Holt was able to adapt our school meal programs in many countries to provide food assistance directly to families. Our teams on the ground delivered school meals to be eaten at home and provided direct cash transfers to help families buy groceries. They ramped up nutrition screenings, micronutrient distributions, parasite treatments and prenatal vitamin campaigns. Your generous gifts also made it possible to provide more iron supplements, and distribute seedlings to help families grow food at home. In total, you helped provide nutritional support to over 48,500 children around the world in 2021.

People often assume that kids living in orphanages have their basic needs met. Even parents struggling with poverty assume their kids will be better off in orphanage care. But so many orphanages around the world are overcrowded and underfunded, leaving thousands of children underfed, poorly clothed and neglected. In 2021, this reality became even starker for children in even the most well-funded orphanages. With travel delayed or suspended, children waiting to unite with their adoptive families remained in orphanages and foster homes months longer than expected. At the same time, as families around the world lost jobs and income due to the pandemic, more and more began placing their children in temporary care. Tragically, some children even lost their parents to COVID-19.

But because of your kind giving this past year, over 3,520 children living in orphanages, group homes or foster families received food, clothing, medical care, safe places to live and nurturing care from devoted caregivers. You helped keep care facilities clean and safe, preventing the spread of COVID-19, and provided masks and sanitizers so children and caregivers could safely venture out to attend medical check-ups or therapy appointments. Your gifts also supported advocacy efforts to help children reunite with their families or join families through adoption.

Whether you provided routine vaccines to prevent measles and other childhood diseases, delivered medicines for families in quarantine and medical supplies to protect children in orphanages, supported physical therapy for kids with special needs, bought a child a pair of eyeglasses or helped ensure a child received surgery, you completely changed the course of a child’s life in 2021 by giving the gift of medical care. You saved the lives of children, protected them from COVID, and in some cases, provided emergency medical care to their parents. You kept children healthy and strong throughout the year.

In 2021, Holt donors gave a whopping 7,363 gifts to children and families in need! For families and children in crisis due to COVID, you gave everything from emergency food, masks and sanitizers to microgrants for out-of-work families to start small businesses that would give them an income during the pandemic. You also gave life-changing gifts of livestock such as cows, goats, chickens and pigs, garden kits to help families grow food at home, warm coats for children living in cold climates, and school supplies and scholarships for kids at risk of dropping out of school. You helped build safe bathroom facilities so girls living in rural Ethiopia can continue their education. You provided nurturing care for children who lost or were separated from their families due to the pandemic. Through Holt’s Molly Holt Fund, you helped provide life-changing surgeries, therapies and medical care for children with special needs. And through Holt’s Families Not Finances campaign, you helped fund adoption grants so waiting children could join loving adoptive families. You made a powerful difference in the lives of so many children around the world, and we’re so grateful for you.

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