Holt’s president and CEO, Dan Smith, just returned from visiting Holt’s adoption and family strengthening programs in Colombia — where children and families are being empowered to thrive.

I lifted 6-year-old Carlos up off the paved basketball court, just high enough so he could reach the rim. As I looked up at him, the smile on his face said it all — his first slam dunk!

This was one of my favorite moments from my recent, and first, trip to Holt’s programs in Colombia. I traveled with members of Holt’s international programs and Colombia team, and I was so encouraged by all the work Holt sponsors and donors are doing for children there through our partner organizations.

Holt’s Partner Organizations in Colombia

As we visited Foundation for the Assistance of Abandoned Children (FANA) our partner child caring agency in Bogotá, I learned we’d have an opportunity to meet with and play outdoors with some children. I didn’t do so well on the soccer field, but I was more than willing to join kids on the basketball court. I started shooting hoops with a group of children, who I learned was a sibling set of five — Carlos and his siblings.

FANA’s first priority for children in their care is reunification with birth families — a model Holt upholds in every country where we work. However, many children in orphanage care in Colombia have experienced abuse and neglect, and it would not be safe or possible for them to reunite with their families. So for children like Carlos and his siblings, international adoption is their best hope for a permanent, loving family.

Sarah Halfman, Holt’s senior executive of international programs, plays soccer with Carlos and his siblings, whom Holt is currently home-finding for.

FANA also provides free early education, as well as well as specialized therapeutic supports such as physical and occupational therapy, tutoring help and more to over 300 children. It was so special meeting these little ones, knowing that each was receiving the help they needed to thrive.

I was also fortunate to visit two of our other partner organization in Colombia, BAMBI and La Casa.

BAMBI is located up an impossibly steep hill on the outskirts of the city, and provides temporary residential care as well as a free daycare for children whose parents are working to become stable and independent. The care they provide families is so holistic – offering childcare and nutrition to help with children’s immediate needs, while also investing in long-term solutions like parenting classes and vocational training for parents.

At BAMBI, Dan got to interact with children at their Holt-supported daycare.

At our other Holt-supported child caring agency, La Casa de la Madre y el Niño (La Casa), over 200 children are provided specialized care while in the process of reunification or adoption. Many of these children have special needs or medical conditions, and La Casa provide the nutrition, health, and psychological support needed to prepare them for permanency.

Hope for Children in Colombia

As I lifted little Carlos up for his slam dunk, I couldn’t help but think, if only “uplifting children” were truly this easy! Because the real work is in the committed, everyday services and advocacy that our partners do every day for children — funded generously by Holt donors.

Every day at daycare, children eat a nutritious snack!

Our wonderful partners in Colombia advocate tirelessly for each child in their programs — whether it’s to help them reunify with their birth family, overcome poverty, or be united with a family through international adoption. This dedication is why I have hope that we can find a permanent, loving family for Carlos and his four siblings. It’s why I’m so excited about all that’s going on in Colombia — and have hope for every child in our programs there.

Girl smiling with two boys

Learn more about Holt’s work in Colombia!

See how sponsors and donors create a brighter, more hopeful future for children and families in Colombia!

Stories Up Next

All Stories
preschool children in Colombia waiting on a bench

Become someone’s hero. Sponsor a child in Colombia.

Find a child in need