Honoring First-Generation Foster Mothers in Thailand

In honor of National Foster Care Month, learn about Holt’s long-standing foster care program in Thailand as well as one first-generation foster mother who cared for 13 children over 20 years. 

In 1977, Mrs. Bayan and her family became one of Holt’s first foster families in Thailand — joining the program just one year after Holt introduced foster care as a more nurturing alternative for children living in the country’s orphanages.

“Mrs. Bayan was a full-time housewife and Mr. Boonsong, her husband, was a captain serving the Royal Thai Army. They were both in their 40s, and their two children — a son and a daughter — were in high school by then. The family was residing in an army residential compound in Bangkok,” shares Kobgarn Trakulvaree, executive director of Holt Sahathai Foundation (HSF), Holt’s local partner in Thailand. “All members in this foster family loved children and were always very happy to welcome the homeless little ones to their heart and their home.”

“Who can forget the good things aunties give to kids?”

Over the next 20 years, Mrs. Bayan and her family cared for 13 children while they waited to join adoptive families in the U.S. The oldest children would be in their 50s now.

“She and her family were very committed and dedicated to all their foster children,” says Kobgarn. “Some children they fostered were those with special needs like being developmentally delayed, having medical issues, etc. They always found each of their foster children special and beautiful in his/her own way.”

Mrs. Bayan with one of the children she cared for as a Holt foster mother in Thailand.
Mrs. Bayan with one of the children she cared for as a Holt foster mother in Thailand.

Earlier this month, the HSF team decided to honor Mrs. Bayan and other first-generation foster moms by delivering care packages to their homes.

In a May 21st post on HSF’s Facebook page, they shared a photo of the team delivering a care package to one former foster mom. “Today, the Sahathai team brought a mental support bag to our first generation of foster mothers. … Auntie said, ‘Thank you for thinking of me’ with many blessings,” they wrote, referring to foster moms as “aunties.” “Who can forget the good things aunties give to kids?”

As everywhere, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused quite a bit of stress and anxiety among families in Thailand — especially among families living in poverty as well as older, vulnerable people like our first-generation foster families. By providing bags full of food, clean bottled water and other essentials, the team hoped to relieve some of their stress and remind them how important they are to HSF and to the children they cared for through the years.

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