From the President: Sharing Their Vision

Creating ways to connect with Holt and continue the journey — and the vision — with us.



In the early 1950s, Harry and Bertha Holt saw a film depicting the plight of war orphans in Korea. After the screening, neither Bertha nor Harry could get the frail, homeless children out of their minds. Slowly, over several months, the Lord placed the idea of international adoption on their hearts. In 1955, After Bertha worked tirelessly to get an adoption law passed in Congress, Harry Holt traveled to Korea to bring eight children home. While in the war-torn country, Harry, with the Lord’s leading, set up the framework for what is now Holt International Children’s Services.

Harry and Bertha had a vision for Korea’s homeless and vulnerable children. It was a vision inspired by love and compassion. And over 55 years later, more than 40,000 children from all over the world have found loving homes in the United States.

Today, we have expanded on the Holts’ vision. We still unite children with loving families, but we also work to strengthen families in the 11 countries where we work. We partner with organizations that help children reach their full potential. And over the last few years, we have built homes in Haiti, constructed a hospital in Ethiopia and renovated schools so that children can learn in a safe environment.

It’s always such a delight to share with you the rich history of our organization, and even more exciting to tell you about the projects we are involved in today.

More than anything, though, I wish you could see it for yourself. I wish you could interact with the children in our care, talk to the loving foster families, tour the facilities, see the work…embrace the vision.

And through Holt International vision trips, you can.

In November, a group of Holt supporters, including Holt sponsors, adoptees, adoptive families and a Holt board member, traveled to India to see our work firsthand. Sally Dougherty, Holt’s electronic constituent relations manager, also joined the vision trip members. In the feature of this magazine, she shares about the life-changing experience.

“We met toddlers and pre-school aged children, who greeted us with excitement and curiosity. Ready to play, they wanted to show us the toys they were playing with and puzzles they were working on,” recalls Sally. “As we moved on to another floor, I heard the familiar tune of ‘Old McDonald.’ I turned the corner to see several children sitting in a circle on the floor with a teacher. Together they sang Old McDonald and the ABCs. Other children buzzed about — scooting on scooters.”

Through these special vision trips, we hope that individuals with a passion for Holt’s mission will see our work and become even more connected to our organization.

In 1975, Holt created heritage tours, giving adoptees the opportunity to return to their birth country. Originally designed for adult Korean adoptees, heritage tours have evolved. In 2005, we began heritage tours of China for adoptees of all ages and now offer adoptee and family tours of Vietnam and Thailand. This coming summer, our staff will also lead the first Holt family tour of India.

For over 35 years, we’ve witnessed the profound impact these special tours have had on the adoptees and their families. There’s something very significant about an adoptee’s journey back to their homeland.

As Holt continues to expand travel opportunities and other post-adoption services for adoptees and their families, we have also recognized a growing interest among our other supporters to see the work we do overseas.  So in 2012, Holt took a group to Haiti on our inaugural vision trip. And last year, we guided vision trips to China and India.

It’s always been Holt’s wish to stay involved with our extended Holt family. Heritage tours for adoptees and their families and Holt vision trips for anyone with a passion for Holt’s mission make this possible. These trips serve as a wonderful way for you to connect with Holt and continue the journey — and the vision — with us.

This year, we hope you will join us on our next adventure!

Phil Littleton | President & CEO

Check out some of Holt’s current tours, and check back for information on Holt’s next vision trip!






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