At Holt, our mission is simple. We work to ensure every child can grow up in a stable, loving home.
If only it were so simple in practice.
Often, families come to us with an abundance of love to offer an orphaned or abandoned child — but a shortage of funds required to adopt. Families hoping to adopt a child with a special medical or developmental need face an even greater financial burden, as many of these children will require expensive medical procedures once home.
But we've found that in many cases, a little help goes a long way. Often, a grant of $2,000 is enough to ensure that finances never stand between a loving family and a child who truly needs one.
For over two decades, Holt has supported families through the Special Needs Adoption Fund (SNAF). Since 1994, 600 families have received the critical support they need to adopt a child with special needs. Some of these children came home at older ages, like Lucy — featured in the story below. Some children had medical health issues that required surgery or physical therapy. Other children waited longer for families because they have siblings, and needed a family who could adopt all of them.
Today, the simple truth is that just about every child joining an adoptive family internationally has some form of special needs — needs that require extra care, often at extra expense. But with support from the Special Needs Adoption Fund — a fund sustained by the generosity of compassionate people like you — more and more families are able to welcome these wonderful children into their stable, loving homes.
From the beginning, something stood out about about Lucy.
Jennifer Burleigh first laid eyes on her as she sat at her computer, scrolling through the waiting child photolisting. The Burleigh family wasn’t looking to adopt at the time — they already had two biological children and an adopted son — but Jennifer would often look through the photolisting, praying for and sharing about the children she saw there. Her heart hurt for each one and she desperately wanted them to find families.
As she scrolled through photos on this day, one girl in particular caught her eye. It wasn’t so much her blue eyes, pearly skin and toe-head hair that made her stand out from the other children. But rather, an unexplainable tug she caused on Jennifer’s heart.
Compelled to take action for this sweet 7-year-old who deserved a family, Jennifer “shared” about her on social media — surely some family would step up!
THANK YOU to everyone whose generous donations to the Special Needs Adoption Fund made it possible for us to meet the costs necessary for us to bring our son, Eric, home. We are so grateful that he is here with us now and...
We met our first born, Zachary, in Wuhan on December 8th, 2014. Zack spent 13 long years in an orphanage after being found at around three days old. His "age out" date was drawing near, so we all had to work hard and fast to get...
In March 2014, when we traveled to China to bring home our daughter, we didn't have any intentions of going back to China to adopt for a second time. But once we saw the orphan crisis in China firsthand, our hearts were...
Six months have passed since our 4-year-old Luci landed in this wonderful country for the first time in the summer of 2015. The American side of her story has been written in part by many people she (or we) will likely nevermeet — people whose gracious and generous care have provided...
When I look at the pictures we received of our son while we were in the process of adopting him, it's clear that he was taken care of, but something was missing. Now that we've been home for about 6 months, we've looked back on pictures since we added him to our family and we know what was missing. His smile...
Thank you so much for enabling us to adopt our daughter. As you certainly know, adopting a child from India is a very expensive process and taking care of a 3-year-old child, especially one with Spina bifida, is certainly not a trivial endeavor either. We have felt so blessed as the Special Needs Adoption Fund...
In China, 17 of Holt's 21 programs serve children with special needs — 15 of which are specifically geared for children with physical or developmental disabilities. Two additional programs specifically serve children impacted by HIV.
In Ethiopia, the rate of deafness in children is abnormally high. The Holt-supported Yesus Mena School for deaf children helps more than 400 kindergarten-to-high school-age students access education for the first time. This school also holds evening course for parents, helping them learn to communicate with their child for the first time.
In 11 of the 13 countries where Holt has programs, we provide services and support specifically for children with special needs. These programs help to both prevent child abandonment and to care for children who are waiting for a family.
Of the children placed with adoptive families domestically or internationally in 2015, 75 percent had some form of special need.
Some of the most common special needs among children in Holt's programs are cleft lip and palate, congenital heart defects, low birth weight, hearing impairments, hydrocephalus, spina bifida and developmental special needs, such as Down syndrome.
"Two years ago, I met Kannika — a shy 18-month-old girl living with a Holt-supported foster family in Thailand. While I visited with her family, Kannika retrieved a book filled with photos of her adoptive family and started flipping through the pages, pointing out her mom and dad.
"Nearing the end of our visit, as Kannika turned toward the camera for a photograph, she displayed the sweetest smile — a smile I knew I would never forget. Last year, while reviewing photos for our 2014 Holt calendar, one picture caught my eye. It was Kannika. She was with her adoptive family, beaming with that unforgettable smile. I felt immense joy knowing that Kannika, who I had met in Thailand just months prior, was now with her loving family, happy and still smiling that sweet dimpled smile."
— Brian Cambell, Holt International Multimedia Manager