Why Holt adoptee Cat Fisher knits blankets for Holt-sponsored kids.
Growing up, Cat Fisher had a special blanket. It was blue and made of an old Disney sheet and she loved every ratty corner of it.
“I took it everywhere with me until it became rags,” says Cat, a Korean adoptee who now lives in Georgia with her husband, James, and two hound dogs, Annyong and Toby.
Cat was just 3 months old when she arrived on an airplane in Memphis, Tennessee accompanied by a team of nuns. This is a story Cat’s mom and dad have shared with her throughout her life — describing the frenzied nuns, the anxiety when her flight was delayed, and the quick handoff of a tiny baby with nothing more than the clothes she wore on her long flight home.
“I didn’t have anything when I came over other than the clothes on my back,” says Cat. No pictures or mementos from her brief time in care. No loved stuffed animals. No blanket.
But looking back — and listening to her parents tell her arrival story — Cat had an idea.
“I thought, wouldn’t it be great if kids had an opportunity to have a memento from that in-between time?” she says. “Something positive that someone made for you? So I started knitting.”
Applying a skill she learned from her grandmother, Cat began knitting blankets for children in Holt’s sponsorship programs around the world. Some are large and rectangular for everyday use. Some are square with a border, intended for “tummy time” on the floor. The biggest ones have a zigzag chevron pattern, useful for both mom and baby or many children to snuggle under.
“I wanted to create a blanket that kids can grow into and grow out of and create memories with,” says Cat.
The first of Cat’s blankets went to the Nazareth Home — a shelter for women coping with the stigma of unwed motherhood in Manila, Philippines. Here, with the support of Holt sponsors, women receive love and support while they carry and nurse their newborn babies.
Cat felt especially moved to see photos of infants at the Nazareth Home wrapped in her blankets, and sleeping in their mothers’ arms.
“I think it was more amazing for me to see the smiles on the mother’s faces,” she says. “I wanted to make an impact for the children, but to see that I could have an impact on other individuals, that was really amazing.”
Children in several Holt programs have now received Cat’s blankets — including children in foster care in the Philippines and China, as well as children with special needs who are awaiting or recovering from surgery at Peace House, Holt’s medical foster home in Beijing.
Ultimately, Cat hopes her gifts to these children will be as loved as her own childhood blanket — becoming, she hopes, a positive memory at the beginning of a “really positive, happy life.”
“For me, it’s really about giving something to children who need community,” she says, “and to know they’re loved.”
Robin Munro • Managing Editor