Article Archives


How Holt Keeps Children in School

Back-to-school season is upon us! As the leaves begin to turn and children get ready to start a new year, we would like to take a moment to thank our sponsors and supporters for helping us ensure that every child we serve has access to an education.  Through education, we firmly believe that every child everywhere can escape a life of poverty and hardship.

In the regions where we work, many families struggle to meet their basic needs — including the rising costs of school fees, supplies and transportation. As a result, families are often faced with the choice of keeping their children in school or food on the table — which is really no choice at all. Even if education came free, many children would still end up working to support their families — leaving no time for school.

Watch the video below to learn more about how Holt and Holt supporters are helping children stay in school around the world…


A Bridge of Love

When an individual or family makes the commitment to sponsor an orphaned or abandoned child in Holt’s care, they create a bridge of love — a bridge that links them to a child waiting for a family, and to a family waiting to bring their child home. Before these children join their families in the United States, many of them are able to stay in the loving care of  foster families through the support of Holt child sponsors. Through their $30/month commitment, sponsors also help provide basic necessities for their sponsored child such as food, clothing, shelter and medical care.  

When adoptive families learn about the selfless strangers who helped provide for their child, many of them wish to express their gratitude through heartfelt letters and photos. Below, we share some of these letters.


Dear Sponsor Families,

Last week I found out that my son, JP, had a sponsor while he was in foster care in Korea. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you, and also tell you about him.

Eli and JP Gibbs both received care through Holt’s child sponsorship before they came home to their family in the United States.

JP is now 6 and will enter first grade in the fall. He is a fabulous little boy! From the day we found out about him, we were in love with him, and we feel so lucky he is a part of our family. He is funny, smart, sensitive and kind. He loves to build, and Legos are his thing right now! He also loves to ride his bike and read. JP has always loved the water, and has been taking swimming lessons since he was a year old. I call him my “old soul,” as he is very thoughtful and caring. His smile lights up my world.

We were so fortunate to be in the adoption process again in 2011, when we learned about JP’s little brother, Eli, who is now 3 and a half. It’s such a joy to watch the boys play together, and a huge gift to be a able to raise them together.

I have enclosed a few pictures of the boys goofing off during our family photo session. They make me laugh every day. Thank you for being a part of JP’s life, and supporting him and his foster family. We hope to “pay it forward” with other children at Holt. In fact, JP recently asked me to send some of his “giving bank” savings to Holt and his foster mother. The tradition has continued!

Thank you!


Suzanne LaVigne Gibbs

Continue reading A Bridge of Love

Take That Next Step in Your Adoption Journey Today

Holt is here to help! 

It’s hard to believe that there’s only a month left of summer. Soon, the leaves will fall from the trees, and the cool, crisp air of autumn will arrive.

While the shifting seasons bring many changes, here at Holt one thing remains constant: our commitment to raising awareness about children around the world who need loving, permanent families.

Maybe the summer has brought you to a new place in your adoption journey. Maybe you have completed an adoption application but have yet to take that next step. Maybe you’ve seen a child on our waiting child photolisting, but haven’t requested more information. Or maybe you have always thought about adopting, but fears of the financial costs and timelines hold you back.

We want you to know that we understand your concerns, and we are here to guide you every step of the way.

At any time, we encourage you to contact us to discuss your adoption journey. Have questions about your adoption eligibility? Give us a call. Wondering about a specific child, or how to take that next step? We are here to help!

If you would like more general adoption information, you can view our website at, or join one of our country-specific webinars, like “Adopting from China” on August 28th. Click here to sign up for this live, interactive webinar.

And click here to go straight to our waiting child photolisting. Our China program currently has more than 100 children with varying degrees of special needs who are waiting for families right now. Click here to visit our China waiting child photolisting to learn more about these children.

We hope you enjoy your last few weeks of summer, and we hope to hear from you soon!



A Perfect Fit

The Matz family reflects on their first experience adopting through Holt’s Korea program, and shares some exciting news about their plans to continue growing their family through adoption!

Exploring the city in the bright, crisp morning hours while the rest of the city seems to be asleep.  The unexpected solitude of the corners of Gyeongbukgung.  The contradiction of old and new architecture.  Intricate paper lanterns by the hundreds.  Bustling markets full of anything you could possibly need.  Kimchi, royal tteokpokki and hoddeok.  Back alley BBQ, sitting on buckets.  Our lock, secured to Seoul Tower, marked so we can find it together years from now when we return.  Holt and their amazing staff.  And of course, that it is our son’s birthplace.

These are some things we love most about Seoul, and loving Seoul is just one of the reasons we have chosen to pursue a second adoption from South Korea.

“But it is more expensive than it used to be…”

“But the process is taking longer than it used to and the laws are changing and the kids are older and…”

None of that could deter us from growing our family in the way we feel especially drawn to grow it.

Our first son Ethan’s adoption, from the day we applied to the day we touched down here in the U.S., took two years and five days.  But that two-year wait allowed us the time to learn about ourselves as prospective parents, about each other as husband and wife, about adoption and attachment and patience and faith.  We gained knowledge that would help our son have a healthy transition.  And he did.  We gained friends among fellow adoptive parents who we’ll know for a lifetime, even if we never meet face-to-face.  Adoption truly is an amazing life event. That two-year wait ensured that we were ready — that we longed with our whole beings to be parents to THIS child.  We longed to be parents through international adoption despite any processes, paperwork, delays or drama.

Our plan was clear to us before we’d even completed our post-placement requirements for Ethan’s adoption.  We chose Holt because of their history and because of the phenomenal care they give the children as they wait to join their forever families.  And we chose to adopt from South Korea because your child gets to know his or her story; they get the chance to know their foster families — and potentially, someday, their birth family.  In South Korea, children must be relinquished by their birth parents in order to be legally placed for adoption — as opposed to abandoned — which means valuable pieces of our son’s history are passed along to us. When our son is old enough to begin trying to understand adoption, we will be able to tell him things like where he was born and how much he weighed. And when he’s 18, he can attempt to initiate contact with his birth family, if he chooses. Continue reading A Perfect Fit

Before My Eyes

As an adoptee and member of Holt’s marketing and development team, Courtney Young has been connected with Holt for most of her life. After spending a week with Holt families at an annual campout in Florence, Oregon, Courtney reflects on Holt’s legacy — old and new.

More than 70 families attended a Holt families camp out at Honeyman State Park in Florence, Oregon in August. For adoptees, it is a great place to connect with other children who share the experience of adoption. Above, three children bike through the camping loop.


Every summer, people from all over the country head to the forests and coast to enjoy some of the finest camping in the Pacific Northwest.  Oregon is a beautiful state, a sea of greenery that spans 30 million acres, covered in Douglas fir, ponderosa pines, evergreens and forestry that almost seem magical.  It’s nature’s finest playground, and I grew up with it right in my backyard.  But, alas, I am one of those Oregonians who has failed to ­­­­­­enjoy all that this wonderful state has to offer.  I’ve never loved “the great outdoors” or anything short of “manicured nature.”

That was, until a group of Holt adoptive families who escape on a weeklong camping trip to Oregon every summer invited me to join them.  But first, a little Holt history:

It’s hard to comprehend just how much Holt has done in nearly 60 years and how many lives it has touched. It’s even harder to imagine when you add the mass ripple effect of families and adoptees preserving the mission of the agency for five decades. Portland Area Holt Families (PAHF) formed in 2008 with the purpose of providing parental support and cultural awareness for international adoptive families.  However, years before, the same group that started PAHF began hosting an annual family camp out at Honeyman State Park on Oregon’s central coast — a tradition they have continued since 1987. Continue reading Annual Holt Camp Out

Holt and VCT Expand Services for Families in India

In 1988, Holt helped establish one of our longest-standing partner agencies in India. In Bangalore, we helped found Vathsalya Charitable Trust (VCT) — an organization that has, through the years, provided loving, attentive care to orphaned, abandoned or homeless children. Here, Holt also adapted our model of foster care — a model of attentive, nurturing care to help children grow and thrive while awaiting permanent placement. For these children, VCT worked to find permanent, loving families in both India and the U.S., and through the years, many Indian children have joined stable homes. Continue reading VCT Expands Services for Families in India

A Family for Felix

Help us find a family for this warm-hearted boy!

Continue reading A Family for Felix

Everything It's Supposed to Be and More

The Brooks family shares about their journey to adopt their son, Jonathan, from Korea, and why — “in a heartbeat” — they would do it all over again.

On January 1, 2012 — the first day of the new year — we decided to fill out a Holt application that would also begin a new chapter in our lives. We were ready, excited and scared… terrified really.  Becoming parents for the first time, starting a family and walking a road we were unfamiliar with seemed absolutely daunting.  January 1st was just the beginning of a long journey that would change our lives in so many ways.  So began the paperwork, notary appointments, background checks, fingerprints, the hopes of a glimpse into our child’s life through a photo or well-baby check each month, checking our emails daily (sometimes hourly, and admittedly sometimes hitting “refresh” every second), taking classes, reading every adoption book we could get our hands on, watching our little man grow half a world away … The wait seemed endless.

It was hard, really hard, there is no denying that.  We were hopeful, stressed, happy, sad, angry, excited and sometimes felt like we couldn’t wait any longer.  We had many days that we thought the process would never end.  Then we got our travel call for our first trip to Korea — to attend court and speak in front of a judge — 17 months after seeing Jonathan’s face for the first time.  There were so many emotions running through our bodies.  We got to see him with our own eyes, touch him, play with him and simply stare and watch him in amazement.  We didn’t want to leave, but our wait wasn’t over.  We had to leave this adorable little man and let the court make final decisions. After ten days in Korea, two meetings with Jonathan and his foster mom, and attending court — we had to wait.   Wait for the courts to make the final stamp of approval, wait for Jonathan’s birth mom to be contacted, and wait until we got the travel call to come back.   We traveled home, with half our hearts still in Korea. Days felt like weeks.  And every day, we would be hit with a range of emotions.  But we survived it, and every single minute we waited was worth it.  More importantly, Jonathan was and is a happy, healthy, handsome little boy. Throughout the adoption process, we would remind ourselves that this little man’s journey half way across the world would be much harder than ours. Continue reading Everything It’s Supposed to Be and More

An Experience Worth a Million Words

On a recent trip, long-time supporters of the Peace House — Holt’s medical foster home in China —  got the chance to visit this vital program for orphaned and abandoned children with special needs.

If it is true that a picture is worth a thousand words, then seeing something in person must be worth a million! This became a reality for us in July when we had the chance to visit the Peace House in Beijing, China. Over the past three and a half years, we have been vested in this initiative, primarily through prayers and financial support.  So when Holt invited us to travel to northeastern China to visit multiple Holt initiatives in the area — including Peace House — we enthusiastically accepted.

The mission of Peace House is to take in orphaned and abandoned children from across China who have various health conditions that can be surgically addressed, such as cleft lip and palate, club feet or heart issues, and nurture that child through three steps. First, the staff at Peace House works to ensure the child is healthy enough to go into surgery. Second, Holt facilitates the corrective procedure at a quality Beijing-area hospital. Finally, following the procedure, they nurse the child to good health.  Once this is completed, the child returns to the orphanage or foster home where they came from. In most cases, these children will ultimately be placed in a loving home in China or the U.S.

A number of things impressed us during our visit. We were impressed that the care being provided by the staff is phenomenal.  It also reinforced our belief that the children absolutely deserve a place in life where they can thrive and fulfill the plan that God intends for them. And while there are multitudes of children in China who need medical help, it was extremely fulfilling to help the 8-10 children who were at the home during our visit. We felt some natural anxiety as we entered the Beijing apartment that houses these children and their caregivers.  Would this be what we expected it to be?  Within minutes, it became abundantly clear that this was more than we could have imagined.  We immediately “hit the floor” to hold and interact with these beautiful youngsters.  After we passed the children’s scrutiny, they warmed to us and permitted us to hold, cuddle and play with them.  At various times throughout our visit, our minds could not help but think, ‘Could we bring one of these precious kids home?’  : ) Continue reading An Experience Worth a Million Words

Winter Jam Announces West Coast Tour Dates and Artists!

What is Winter Jam?

Winter Jam is a 10-band Christian concert tour that hits nearly 60 cities each year. It’s also one of Holt’s biggest opportunities to find and reach new child sponsors — people with a heart for the children Holt serves, willing to give $30 per month to change a child’s life. Holt partners with Christian band NewSong, the band that started Winter Jam in 1995. They traveled with us to India, China and Haiti — spending their days with orphaned, abandoned and vulnerable children whose lives have been changed by the generosity of Holt’s sponsors, supporters and adoptive families. Then, seeing the great need for Holt to serve more children, they took to the stage, using their talents to advocate for children. Since our partnership with NewSong and Winter Jam began in 2006, Holt has welcomed nearly 50,000 sponsors into our programs — representing thousands of little lives forever changed.

Register to be a Holt Volunteer NOW! Click HERE.

Last year, more than 5,000 volunteers across the country helped Holt find almost 10,000 new child sponsors.

This year, we are setting our sights higher. Our goal is 12,000 new sponsors by spring of 2015. Help us reach it!  Every place where we work, our programs are expanding due to the great need — which means that we have thousands of children waiting for a sponsor.

That’s why we need you, and all your friends, your youth group, church congregation, neighbors, co-workers, family and everyone else who you can bring.

Sign up a GROUP of volunteers. Click HERE.

When you volunteer at a Winter Jam concert near you, we give you free admission to the show, and in return, you learn about Holt’s sponsorship program, how to sign up new sponsors, and perhaps how to tell your own story to encourage others to become sponsors. When registering, you may choose to work at a table during the show or in the aisles during intermission — signing up new sponsors.

Winter Jam is a great way for you (and all your friends!) to attend Winter Jam, and feel great knowing that for every sponsor you help sign up, you have a hand in changing a child’s life forever.

To sign up to volunteer, find the concert nearest you and then click HERE.

Volunteering is a 6-8 hour commitment. You must be 16 or older to register to volunteer.  If you are younger than 16, have an accompanying adult register and add your name. You will receive training by email before the concert, and then meet in person for more training at the venue. We will make sure you know everything you need to know to be a great volunteer!

We also encourage Holt adoptees or sponsors to volunteer. We want you to share your story — and your journey with Holt — with those around you.

We request that volunteers stay for the entire duration of the concert, including time before the show for training. You will have breaks. Unfortunately, dinner and beverages are not provided. We recommend you bring cash to purchase food at the venue or somewhere close by.

Winter Jam West Coast Tour Dates:



Rio Rancho


Santa Ana Star Center




AZ Arena



Long Beach


Long Beach Arena





Sleep Train Arena





Save Mart Center





Taco Bell Arena





Spokane Arena





Tacoma Dome





Moda Center

Continue reading Winter Jam Announces West Coast Tour Dates and Artists!