From the Director of Post Adoption Services

Dear readers,

In my 15 years at Holt, I’ve seen a lot of things change within the world of adoption. One thing that’s remained consistent, though, is the variety of populations the post adoption department is responsible for serving — Adoptees, adoptive parents, birth parents, partners of Adoptees, children of Adoptees, and adoption professionals Read More

TBRI Family Camps Returning to Oregon and Illinois — Summer 2020!

By Marissa Robello, LMSW, CSWA and Pam Shepard, LCSW

We are happy to announce that Holt will be offering the Journey of Hope family camp experience for adopted children and their parents once again this summer — in both Chicago, Illinois (June 26-28) and Eugene, Oregon (July 24 and 25)! Read More

Parenting with Fear

My daughter turned 30 last year. Lately I have been reflecting a lot about parenting and what makes a good parent. Especially as she begins to think about becoming a parent herself. I feel truly blessed that my daughter has found her way in this world and someone to share it with. I am a very proud mom — but I guess most parents say that. Read More

Creating Connections with Older Children

By Celeste Snodgrass, LCSW-PIP | Director of Clinical Services

Parents of younger children (under the age of 6 or 7) have many opportunities throughout the day to help their child meet their needs. Children often need help with the bathroom, brushing their teeth, buttoning their pants, cutting their food, getting their hair washed, etc… Read More

The Amazing Reunion Story of 3 Indian Adoptees

Thirty-one years ago, in December of 1988, Christina, Rekha and Deborah, along with two other Indian Adoptees, arrived in the United States. They were escorted from India by the Poindexter family, who took an adventure of a lifetime. Read More

Change is coming… Are you ready?

Holt Adoptee Camp strives to offer a variety of different programs to meet the ever-changing needs of Adoptees and adoptive families. Consolidating and expanding upon current programs for adoptive families at camp is the next step in providing greater support to our community. In July of 2020, Holt Camp will be offering a new multi-day family retreat specifically designed for adoptive families with young Adoptees. This family retreat will take place in Salem, Oregon! Read More

Helping Teens to Circle Back

“I mean, this is even kind of fun!”

In its second year of operation, Circle Back has evolved into something that I was not expecting. Two years ago, as we were putting together the curriculum, I pictured this service primarily benefiting young Adoptees, ages 9-12, who were interested in talking about adoption or who needed support in understanding their identity.

What I didn’t expect was for it to be a program that served teens so well. Read More

CHALLENGING BEHAVIORS: Strategies for Moving Forward

By Samantha Sutherland | Northern California Social Worker & PACE Coach

Less than a year ago, we launched Holt’s Post-Adoption Coaching & Education (PACE) program. In that time, it has become clear to us that parents really are looking for support and help managing their children’s behaviors! Dealing with negative behaviors is tough and can make everyday life a challenge for the whole family. And often times, when a child is having behavioral issues, it can seem insurmountable, frustrating, confusing and disheartening. But when you face behavior challenges with your child, remember these two key things: Read More

FAQs about TBRI ®

By Pam Shepard, MSW, LCSW/Supervisor of Clinical Services and Marissa Robello, LMSW, CSWA Clinical Social Worker


What is TBRI and what does it stand for?

             TBRI ®, or Trust-Based Relational Intervention, is a parenting intervention created and developed by Dr. David Cross and Dr. Karyn Purvis at Texas Christian University’s Institute of Child Development. TBRI® is an attachment-based, trauma-informed intervention that is designed to meet the complex needs of vulnerable children.

My adoption social worker told me I need to find a TBRI therapist.  Where can I find one?

             If you are looking for attachment- and trauma-informed therapy, we would advise against holding out for a therapist who is also trained in TBRI. Therapy and TBRI can complement each other well, but they are two distinct approaches that meet different needs for families. Read More

Need Help? New PACE Program Offers Personalized Support

By Carolyn Cain | PACE Supervisor

As an adoption social worker in central California, I’ve had the privilege to witness firsthand the joy that comes with adopting internationally. As an adoptive parent myself, I’ve also experienced the adoption process from all angles. The paperwork, the waiting, the uncertainty, the meetings, parenting… Read More

Thanks for the Memories

This year at Holt Adoptee Camp, I met a family — two young Adoptees and one parent — who have been coming to Holt day camp for the past few years. As they presented a skit during dinner, I sat there struck by the complete awareness of how Holt camp can positively impact families. Read More

Journey of Hope Camp is “The Best Weekend of Their Lives!”

Camp season has come and gone, and this year we had a lot to celebrate! The 2019 Journey of Hope camp included an additional location in Eugene, Oregon where Holt is headquartered. Holt-Sunny Ridge, Holt’s branch office in Illinois, once again teamed up with The Ranch of Hope Reins. Read More

How do you return?

The idea of “return” is an interesting one for Adoptees. When thinking about returning to our countries of birth, it can be a challenge to wrap our minds around the fact that a trip to these countries is, in fact, a return. We are returning to the place where our lives began. The place where people held us, fed us and cared for us before we made our first trip across the world. Read More

Holt Camp: The Most Epic Place To Be This Summer

This year, Holt Adoptee Camp will be led by two outstanding camp directors — Adoptees Katelyn Marks and Joli Hanlon! Katelyn is a Korean Adoptee, while Joli is adopted from China, and both have been a part of Holt Camp for several years. They each bring a lot of experience and expertise to their roles as co-directors and they are both super excited for the upcoming camp season!

Together, they have created a list of notable highlights about Holt Adoptee Camp.

5 Awesome Features about Holt Adoptee Camp

Holt Camp is open to all Adoptees. All international, domestic and foster care Adoptees are welcome to attend camp and experience being a part of this special community. Holt’s camps are unique because they are created by Adoptees for Adoptees. Read More

Growing Up, I WAS The Diversity

“You can’t be what you can’t see” – Marian Wright Edelman

If you’ve ever sat down to interview someone for the first time, you know that there is just no way to predict the outcome. As I was working on the most recent Adoptee to Adoptee video series on racial identity, I wanted to feature the voices of some local Adoptees that I have the privilege to work with in Eugene. Maddy, featured in a recent “Adoptee to Adoptee” video, is one of the students that attends our campus group at the University of Oregon. I asked her if she was interested in sharing more about her identity for a video, and she happily volunteered her time. Read More

All Grown Up?

“Honey, I know you’re 25 now, but you’re not really all grown up,” I told my son with a smile. “I can still teach you things.”

“I know, Mom, but at 25, I need to be all grown up. I should be all grown up,” he responded, with a small smile of his own.

This is an actual conversation I’ve had with my son a few times over the past couple of years. My independent, head-strong yet open-minded young man has always had a need to make his own decisions, even if I thought they were the wrong decisions. The decisions he made during his teen years were often not only inadvisable (wrong), but also based on a complete lack of life experience. Yet, in his eyes, his decisions made sense. He was, of course, too young to know any better, and he understands this now. But as is typical of a 25-year-old, he no longer feels “too young” to make his own decisions.

In many ways, he is. In others, he could still use some guidance. Read More

The Role of Adoptive Parents in Birth Search

Through the years, I have received a number of calls from adoptive parents asking for advice on how to handle conversations with their child about their birth parents. They ask if they can search on behalf of their child; how they can support their child’s desire to reconnect with their birth family; will this process negatively affect their child or their relationship.

But before I discuss birth search and how to support your child, I first want to discuss one key step that should occur long before your child can ever begin a search: sharing their background information. Read More

8 Tips for Parents to Manage the Transition From School to Summer

By Samantha Brady, LCSW | Adoption Therapist at Holt-Sunny Ridge

Parenting is one of the hardest jobs we will ever do. As parents, many of us rely on school. We can take a break to recharge, or we can prepare for the mornings, nights and weekends.

But what do we do when summer comes along, and our breaks go out the window? Read More

Honoring the Adoptee’s Story: An Overview of Lifebooks and Life Story Work

Marissa Robello, LMSW, CSWA | Clinical Social Worker

Finding ways to craft our own personal narratives is an essential component of the lifelong process of healthy identity development. The field of psychology calls this concept narrative identity, which is defined as the ‘internalized evolving story of the self that each person crafts to provide his or her life with a sense of purpose and unity’ (Adler, 2012, p.367).  Scrapbooks, baby books and photo albums have historically been important tools in helping us piece together childhood memories and make sense of our pasts. They have weathered the storm of digitization by morphing into the online photobook industry. Photobooks give us a way to honor the events and people that have shaped us. And they still offer that wonderfully cathartic experience of turning to a page that illustrates a moment in our past — a past that someone has chosen to carefully preserve for us. Read More

It’s Complicated

by Joanna Mittereder, LSW | Branch Social Worker

Much has been written about helping adopted children and their parents navigate school projects that trigger emotional issues surrounding adoption. You know, the Trace Your Family History and Draw Your Family Tree kind of projects.  Adoptive parents are often encouraged to talk with their child’s teachers to smooth the path and help them understand issues around adoption. Sometimes, teachers will adapt assignments to accommodate the adoptee’s special circumstances. In these instances, children are aware of their stories, but may have varying degrees of comfort in relaying their story to the class.

With support and understanding, they can successfully complete their projects, feel proud of their story and feel loved, accepted and more in tune with their own identity. Read More