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Top Adoption, Adoptee and Donor Impact Stories of 2021

As the year comes to a close, we always love to look back, re-read and re-share the stories that our readers engaged with most.

This past year, some of our top stories highlighted milestones we met as an organization, such as the launch of our newest adoption program in South Africa. Others announced significant changes at the organization, most notably the retirement of Susan Cox, Holt vice president of policy and external affairs, after 40 years of dedicated service.

In 2021, we shared about exciting and noteworthy developments that significantly affect our work and the individuals we serve, including the introduction of a new Adoptee Citizenship Act in March and our new partnership with grant-making organization Gift of Adoption in November. Alongside our post adoption team, we also addressed national issues that directly affect the lives of adoptees and adoptive families, such as the rise in attacks on Asian Americans over the past year in the U.S.

As we faced another year of the global COVID-19 pandemic, we shared how our teams both around the world and here in the U.S. have continued the important work they do for children and families. And throughout the year, we shared Q&A interviews with each of our overseas program directors — describing in detail how COVID has uniquely affected children and families in each country, and how Holt sponsors and donors are making a tremendous difference in their lives.

But as always, the stories that most resonated with readers are the human stories — often told by adoptees and adoptive families themselves.

Below, we have compiled our top 15 most-read adoptee, adoptive family and donor impact stories from 2021. We hope you enjoy reading these stories again or discovering them for the first time. Thank you for reading, and thank you for your heart for children and families in need around the world!

Top Adoptee Stories of 2021

girl smiling in front of field

Finding My Missing Piece — An Adoptee’s Birth Search Story

Thai Adoptee Taylor Beebe shares her experience with the adoptee birth search process, and how it felt to meet her birth mother for the first time in 20 years.

drawing of woman

Holt’s 2021 Adoptee Scholarship Winners

This year, each applicant submitted a creative work framed around the prompt, “What’s in a name? Revealing the stories behind our adoptive names, birth names and nicknames.”

Orchestration: An Excerpt from Saundra Henderson Windom’s Memoir

As a child, Saundra Henderson Windom, née Bang Sun, was unsure where in South Korea she was born, and she never knew her parents—a South Korean woman and a Black American soldier. In her memoir, Windom shares her experiences with conflicting identities and cultural dislocation.

man carrying baby in harness

Thoughts on Racism from an Asian American Adoptee Parent

Adoptee Kit Myers shares how his life experience as an Asian American shapes how he plans to parent his daughter.  This piece was originally posted alongside reflections on race and parenting from two other Asian American adoptee parents.

mother with two sons

Little Mirrors: Seeing Myself for the First Time

Megan Youngmee, a Korean Adoptee and mother of three, reflects on what it means to see your features mirrored in the faces of the ones you love.

Top Stories of 2021 About Donor Impact Around the World 

woman in India lookin up from doorway

The Child Brides of COVID-19

In India, and in developing countries around the world, the COVID-19 crisis has significantly increased the risk of child marriage. But one key factor continues to make a dramatic difference in the lives of vulnerable girls and young women: child sponsorship.

mother and daughter

First Child in Cambodia Joins Family Via Domestic Adoption

In Cambodia, Holt’s social work team has helped to develop three care alternatives for children growing up in institutional care — kinship care, foster care and for the first time, a formal, ethical system of domestic adoption. In March 2021, the first child in Cambodia joined her adoptive family via this new process.

Harshada family

COVID-19’s Global Impact on Children: Mental Health

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented amount of stress and anxiety — especially among children and families in Holt programs around the world. Learn how Holt’s on-the-ground team in Pune, India is helping to address this mental health crisis and protect the overall wellbeing of sponsored kids and families.

Mongolian boy smiles for camera

Children of the Red Stone School

This garbage dump outside Ulaanbaatar is a place where no child should ever be. But the Red Stone School is a way out. These are the stories of some of the children who go there.

special needs boy smiling

Pandemic-Proof Care for Children

Children living in orphanages with special needs like Ping deserve to be healthy. In 2020, Ping urgently needed surgery. But due to COVID-19, he couldn’t travel from his orphanage to receive care in Beijing. That’s when Holt China staff, generous donors and local doctors stepped up to help — working remotely to ensure he receive the medical care he needed!

woman smiling beside girl in wheelchair

One Family’s Story of Adopting from South Africa

Adoptive mom Amanda Kick shares her family’s story of adopting two children with special needs from South Africa, where Holt just launched our newest adoption program.

Mom kissing her adoptive son from China on a boat

Thoughts on Older Child Adoption from Experienced Parents

If you’re considering older child adoption, one of the best things you can do is seek advice from other families. Families who have worked through many of the same fears or concerns you’re now grappling with, and who have gone through the experience of helping an older child adapt to a new country, culture, language — and, in many cases, to life in a family instead of an institution.

family with adopted children

Our Story of Adopting from South Africa and Becoming a Transracial Family

Adam and Erin Turner share about their experience becoming a transracial adoptive family as they welcomed into their lives two children from South Africa, the country where Holt recently launched our newest adoption program.

Lee Family

International Adoption in the Time of COVID

Hannah and Paulo Lee were nearing the end of their international adoption process from Korea when COVID-19 became a global pandemic —  shutting down travel and causing obstacles they never could have expected.

mother and adopted daughter

My Thoughts on Transracial Adoption

Adoptive mom Laura Broadwell shares what she has learned about the complexities of transracial adoption in the more than 20 years since she adopted her daughter from China.

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