Philippines assessment visit Feb 2023

Holt’s Unique Adoption Program in the Philippines Is Growing

Holt’s most innovative and personalized adoption program is growing this February, and you can be a part of it. A team of social workers and Holt staff are visiting the Philippines in February 2024 to conduct their second assessment visit as part of Holt’s Special Needs Project (SNP).

Philippines Assessment visit Feb 2023
Two children play with toys during an assessment visit to the Philippines.

Holt’s Special Needs Projects (SNP’s) are the only ones of their kind in the U.S., setting them apart from other programs. Through these programs, Holt social workers from the U.S. travel to meet children in person! Holt currently has SNPs in the Philippines and Thailand, and hopes to utilize this advocacy strategy in more countries in the future. By visiting children waiting for adoptive families and meeting them face to face, Holt social workers can learn about their personalities and interests, and review any medical, developmental, cognitive or emotional needs they may have. This helps our clinical social workers best determine the kind of family they will thrive in — maybe yours!

If you’re a prospective adoptive parent concerned about the unknowns in adoption, one of Holt’s Special Needs Projects may be the right choice for you because of the detailed information our highly trained social workers are able to provide about children in these programs.

February 2024 Trip to the Philippines

During this February 2024 trip, the Holt social workers will visit and gather information about these children and their daily lives. They’ll also speak with a variety of people who work with the children, including teachers, caregivers, nurses and social workers. Having a comprehensive portrait of the child’s life, personality and environment, Holt staff here in the U.S. will better position our social workers to advocate and talk with prospective adoptive parents about the individual needs of these children.

And when prospective families reach out to Holt, we will now have a wealth of information and photos to share! Often, we can even direct families to a staff member who traveled to the Philippines and interacted personally with the child. They can then 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.

A woman and several children play with toys on the ground
A Holt social worker plays with children in the Philippines.

While the team is there, they will also have real conversations with the children. They get to talk to them about adoption and their wishes for the future.

The Benefit of Conversations about Adoption with Children

Celeste Snodgrass, Holt’s senior director of clinical services, was part of the team that visited the Philippines in 2023 on Holt’s first SNP trip. She participated in many of these conversations — including how the children felt about the possibility of adoption.

“We discussed the topic of adoption often. The majority of children have seen friends be placed with adoptive families,” Celeste says. “When asked what they would wish for if they had three wishes, most children said their first wish would be for an adoptive family. Many children said they pray every night for an adoptive family.”

“It is so nice to meet with these children!” Celeste continues. “Their personalities really come alive when we talk with them about things they enjoy and games they like to play. Meeting them and getting to sit down and engage in both play and discussion with them means we are able to highlight who they are as a person. This helps us advocate to find them an adoptive family!”

The children in the program tend to be older, between 9 and 15 years old. For these youth, a dialogue about adoption is especially important.

“I hope that these children will feel that they have a voice in communicating with prospective families,” says Luisa Barnes, Holt social worker and director of adoption for Korea and the Philippines. “Since most of these children are older, their input is so important for a successful adoption. Their wishes, dreams and the vulnerability that they shared with us are so impactful. There is no doubt that families will see how incredible they are!” 

Last year some children said they want to be adopted into a two-parent family, others said they wanted a single mom. Many children wanted adoptive siblings while others were looking for pets. Whatever their wish, our SNP team listened and assured them the agency would do everything to advocate for them when they returned to the U.S.

Want to learn more about the children who need families through this special project? Our agreement with the Philippines government requires us to only share the children’s profiles with families who have an active application with Holt. If you fall into this category and you would like to view the children who are waiting, please email our waiting child team at [email protected].

Email our Waiting Child Team!

Get in touch with our team of expert advocates for the waiting children we feature.

Stories Up Next

All Stories
three girls smile for photo in the Philippines

Become someone’s hero. Sponsor a child in Southeast Asia.

Find a child in need