Through job skills training and support, single moms in Haiti work hard to create a better life for themselves and their children, sometimes in the most wonderfully unexpected of ways…

Julia Joseph Julien squats near the wall and mixes plaster in her small yellow bucket. Her black hair pulled back in tight braids and a colorful barrette, she scoops then spreads the mixture onto a ceramic tile and carefully places it on the wall, making a tight row.

The Haitian sun is hot. This is hard work, and she is the only woman doing it.

But she is smiling — she is so proud. As a single mom, she knows that these new skills will change her life and change her children’s future.

“So many single moms are taking care of children and unable to work or be trained to work because of that,” says Mike Noah, director of services for Holt’s Africa and Haiti programs. “Some moms said they were in despair for the future, not sure how they would get food or care for their children.”

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Andrea Olson describes her two sons as among the best decisions she ever made. But she didn’t always love the idea of adopting boys… Even after she learned that it’s a myth that only girls need families.

“Did these realizations make me yearn for a little boy?” she wrote in a 2014 blog.

“No,” she wrote. “I still imagined how much more fun it would be to have a houseful of girls.”

But then, Andrea began to have a change of heart.

Learn More About Adopting Boys!

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Shane needs a family! Can you be the family that adopts him from Holt International?

On a recent trip to China, Holt social worker Amy Castle fell in love with an 11-year-old named Shane. Her heart broke for him as he witnessed his other friends at the orphanage prepare to meet their adoptive families and she couldn’t help but wonder, “When will it be Shane’s turn?” Read More

Adoption is something we always considered we would do… some day.

After several years of trying to have our own biological child, we realized adoption was going to be our next step. Adam and I went to several different adoption orientations. At first, we were planning to adopt a child domestically in the U.S., since the rumor was that it would take 2-5 years to bring home a child through international adoption.

China AdoptionThen one evening, at yet another adoption meeting, the social worker mentioned that the China adoption process is typically quicker than other country programs. I am half Chinese, and adoption from China was a no-brainer. Adam and I looked at each other and — surprise! — we both knew that this was the way we were going.

Not trusting all of the signs right away, we still vacillated for a while, between domestic infant and China adoption. We did know from day one that unlike the majority of families adopting internationally, we had no preference in gender. Just like a biological child, whose gender you don’t get to pick, we were open to either a girl or a boy.

One night, as I was cooking dinner, an Operation Smile program came on. I found myself engrossed in the stories of children who received cleft lip/palate repairs through the organization, and the amazing work that was being done…I was in tears.

This was the last sign I needed. Read More

When first considering adoption, Diane and Troy Sturgeon had a vision for their family — a very specific, pigtails-and-dresses vision that they could have made a reality. So… why didn’t they?

A basketball hoop clangs and a ball thumps outside, accompanied by shrieks of excitement. Loud, off-key singing and giggles echo down the hall. The screech of racing Hot Wheels erupts from the living room.

Listening to these heartwarming sounds, it’s hard to recall what it was I desired for a family — what I thought I wanted my family to be.

For the first several years of our marriage, my husband and I prayed for a family. We waited and longed and endured an emotional rollercoaster. Eventually, though, we came to the realization that a biological family was not God’s plan for us, and after much prayer and discussion, we embraced the notion that our family awaited us in China. Read More