From the President: Honoring Molly Holt

Paying tribute to the woman who taught us that every child can love, and be loved, and be part of a family.

Since it's founding in 1961, Molly Holt has lovingly cared for children at the Ilsan Center in Korea.
Since the Ilsan Center was founded in 1961, Molly Holt has lovingly cared for the children and adult residents of the care center in Korea.

In October 1956, Harry and Bertha Holt’s 20-year-old daughter Molly arrived for the first time in Korea – fresh out of nursing school, and ready to help her parents care for the children left orphaned and abandoned in the wake of the Korean War.

While in Korea, Molly had a vision for her future. As she once said, “I felt that this was where the Lord would have me be for the rest of my life.” Nearly 57 years have passed since Molly first came to the country where her parents founded Holt International. In those years, Holt has grown and changed in countless ways – building on our roots in Korea to become the largest international adoption and child welfare organization serving children and families in countries around the world.

Through it all, and because of her belief in God’s calling, Molly has remained in Korea, caring for homeless and disabled children at the Ilsan Center. Here, Molly has not only carried on the legacy of her parents; she has helped to realize their vision of a nurturing, long and short-term care home for children with special needs.

I first met Molly on a Christmas trip to Korea in 2004, when I was a new staff member at Holt. I will never forget how excited she was to show me around Ilsan and to introduce me to the children in care. I will also never forget Molly’s smile – a smile in which you can truly see the love of Jesus.

Throughout her life, Molly has worked tirelessly to advocate for children with mental and physical disabilities. Because of Molly, many of these children have received the specialized care they need to join loving families of their own. 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 who 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. That every child can love, and be loved, and be part of a family.

Molly has taught me to put my faith into action. She shows such love, compassion and respect to every resident of Ilsan – from the children who pass briefly through her care before joining adoptive families, to the long-term residents who live out their lives at this world-renowned facility for the disabled that Molly helped create.

We hope the heartwarming stories shared in this issue of the magazine help to show our love and appreciation for Molly. But perhaps the best way to truly honor Molly is not with praise or recognition. Molly has always believed that she is merely doing the work she has been called to do. Perhaps the best way to honor Molly is by continually seeking new and innovative ways to serve orphaned and vulnerable children, especially those so close to her heart – the children with special needs.

Although many more children joining adoptive families today have special medical or developmental needs, many others continue to wait – and not all of them in homes as nurturing as the Ilsan Center. And not just children with moderate to severe needs wait for families. In Korea, recent changes to the adoption process have made it increasingly difficult to find families for children with even the most minor needs.

In honor of Molly, please pray for children with special needs. If you are considering adopting, read about the children featured in the Waiting Child section of this magazine – or the many more children on Holt’s online photolisting. And if you are uncertain about adopting from Korea during this time of change, I ask you to consider that many children in Korea still need loving families – and still come home to families every year.

Finally, please pray for Molly, who has been seriously ill. It is an honor to serve alongside Molly in pursuit of a world where every child has a loving and secure home.

Phillip Littleton | President & CEO

Give to the Molly Holt Fund for Children With Special Needs!

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