From the North American Council on Adoptable Children:
We need your help! The Adoption Tax Credit Working Group (ATCWG) has set a goal of obtaining 30 co-sponsors on the Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Bills — S. 1056 and H.R. 2144 in 100 days.
Why the urgency? Tax discussions are underway in the House and Senate and we need to keep the adoption tax credit top-of-mind with legislators and staff. The best way to do that is to demonstrate to legislators that their constituents care about this issue. In addition, because refundability was not included in the bill that made the credit permanent, many adoptive families are still not able to receive this critical support, a fact which some Members of Congress may not yet be aware.
This week, we ask you to get educated on the adoption tax credit by visiting the Save The Adoption Tax Credit website, reading their FAQ section, and liking them on Facebook for frequent updates. Please also read the particular FAQ below.
Please also spread the word with your friends, colleagues and family who would want to join in the fight to protect the adoption tax credit. The more people who understand about the need to reform the adoption tax credit, the better our advocacy outcomes will be.
Continue reading Help Protect The Adoption Tax Credit!
Today, James is running around and climbing all over things!
A few weeks ago, Holt’s China team hosted our first “China Meet the Children” webinar — a free online seminar designed to introduce families to several children recently designated to Holt for home-finding. These precious children are between the ages of 1-11 years old and many of them are in the care of orphanages with whom we partner in China. Our staff has met many of the children in person, and collected detailed medical and developmental information — as well as photos and videos that capture their personalities — to share with prospective families. We want to introduce you to these children! Who knows, you may be the right family for one of them. Maybe James…
When our China team first met James a few years ago, he couldn’t hold his own body weight. A sweet boy found in a northern China hospital a few days after birth, James was soon transferred to a local orphanage and diagnosed with hydrocephalus and a few other health conditions. With limited motor function, he would lean on the wall, peacefully watching other children play. He could reach out to his favorite toys and hold them, and make “ah-ah” sounds while listening to stories. He loved to be cuddled and kissed on his forehead, and was universally adored by his caregivers. Continue reading Meet Children in China Who Need Families… Like Sweet James
Overcoming financial and family pressures — and one fast-moving river — a young woman in Cambodia pursues her dream of a college education. Research and interviews for this story were conducted by University of Oregon student Hallie Rosner, who recently interned with Holt Cambodia through IE3 Global Internships.
Every morning before class, Sath Chheangly puts on her uniform — a neatly pressed, knee-length khaki skirt and crisp white button-down oxford that proudly displays the logo of the university she attends in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. She looks like any other college girl, with stylish, blunt-cut bangs and a little personality coming across in her choice of shoes, often a pair of yellow, flowered flip-flops. Quiet and contemplative, Chheangly is a serious student, majoring in economics, rural development and agriculture with extra classes in Chinese.
But she, more than most, knows just how much personal appearance matters.
Continue reading Just Another River to Cross
Help find *Josie a family! Share her story today.
DOB: June 18, 2004
Born on June 18th, 2004, Josie was found wrapped in a yellow coat and taken to an orphanage. She suffered from cleft lip and palate and an umbilical cord infection.
After Josie recovered from the infection, she was observed for 2 months before being sent to live with a foster family. Through the love and support of this temporary family, Josie thrived. Her weight increased significantly and “her face became like a red apple.”
In 2005, Josie had surgery to repair her cleft lip, and 2 years later, another successful surgery to repair the cleft palate.
Today, at 9 years old, Josie loves to sing, and does so “with rich emotion,” according to her social workers — who also describe her as “vibrant.” Josie has a lot of friends. She likes cartoons, loves to draw and shares fairytales with the other children.
What’s most charming about Josie, though, is her kind heart, illustrated perfectly in this lovely story included in her file:
One day on the playground, Josie’s friend stepped on an ant. This made Josie very sad. Josie ran to the teacher and said, “Teacher, I want to bring it home and give him treatment.” The teacher replied, “But if the ant was cured, it might bite you, then things will go bad.” Josie’s response to her teacher’s comment was endearing, to say the least. “He will not bite me, teacher,” Josie replied. “Because I treat him well, and he will treat me well also.” Continue reading This Tenderhearted Girl Needs a Loving Family
A photo essay and update on the mother and child hospital Holt is helping to build in Shinshicho, Ethiopia.
The front of the maternal-child hospital. The round portion in the right of the photo is a ramp large enough for hospital staff to transport patient beds from floor to floor. When the hospital is complete, the ramp will be encased in large glass windows.
In 2010, the Holt-funded maternal-child hospital in Shinshicho, Ethiopia didn’t start off looking like much — just hollow cement walls framed by rough wood scaffolding. Without a roof or floor, rain turned the empty, 40,000 square foot space into a giant, mud-splattered maze. It was hard to imagine the finished product. But hundreds of people believed in the space — believed it was a place the Lord would bless — and together, through sacrifices of time and money, the humble foundation has begun to transform into a state-of-the-art health care center, complete with surgical labs, X-ray rooms and more than 100 doctors trained in advanced care. And with the transformation of the building has come an improved livelihood for families in the region.
Continue reading Building on a Promise
Adoptive mom Quinn Hofmann writes about choosing international adoption to build her family, her son Ben, and the process to bring him home from Korea.
“Mama, Da-dee, Bey…Mama, Da-dee, Bey.” My husband and I must hear that utterance from our son ten times a day, and each time we hear it, we look at each other and smile.
Continue reading Bringing Home Ben
In his latest contribution to the online adoptee magazine Gazillion Voices, Steve Kalb, Holt’s director of adoptee services, reflects on the “otherness” encountered as an Asian-American growing up with a name like “Steve.”
I recently joined my wife, Shannon, at her company Christmas party. It was a small party at a local brewery with about 40 people attending. We had a room reserved off the main building where employees and their partners were able to eat, drink, and be merry. Early on in the evening, I struck up a conversation with a fellow partier. We discussed careers, motorcycles, and industrial paint (Shannon’s company sells paint.) It was a nice conversation, but not nice enough to ignore the food that was being set up. I graciously thanked him for his time and expressed how much I enjoyed the company, but that I could hear the buffet calling my name. We shook hands and I headed for the table of goodness. As I walked off, I overheard him talking with another coworker. “That’s Shannon’s husband. He works in adoption. His name’s Steve. He doesn’t look like a Steve…”
Click here to read Steve’s full article in Gazillion Voices.
For information about Holt’s post-adoption and adoptee services, click here.
Olivia wakes up three hours before school starts. She folds the quilt on her bed and heads out to play an hour or two of ping-pong before the other children in her house wake up. After her practice, she picks out a stylish skirt and asks her foster mother to do her hair. She helps to make breakfast and get her three foster siblings ready for the day. Then, she heads to her morning classes. Her teachers and foster parents agree that today, Olivia’s bubbly personality shines. She walks with a confidence and enjoys meeting new people.
Olivia has made incredible strides to grow and thrive. She’s 13 years old now, and she already knows what she wants for her next birthday on December 1. She wants to be placed with a permanent, loving family. The countdown is on, because if she isn’t adopted before her 14th birthday, she will age out of China’s child welfare system.
When Olivia first joined her foster family as a 7-year-old, she was considered “unadoptable” because doctors thought her physical needs might be too great. Found abandoned at the gate of a travel agency as a 4-year-old, Olivia spent three years in institutional care before she was placed with the same compassionate, loving foster family she lives with today. At first, Olivia was constantly afraid — of new people, new places and new experiences. She would put her head down and cry if strangers spoke to her. Even with her foster parents, she was silent and stubborn at times. Born with symptoms of cerebral palsy, Olivia had physical struggles that began to take over her life. Traumatized and scared, she struggled to learn new ways to accomplish tasks.
Slowly, Olivia’s foster parents helped her work through her fears. They brought out her confidence. They encouraged her to play ping-pong, which she hated at first. They helped her to overcome her physical challenges, and she learned to care for herself, help with household chores and take care of her younger foster siblings. At first, it took Olivia more than an hour to fold her bed quilt. But after years of hard work, she now considers herself no different than anyone around her. She is self-assured, and she knows she can accomplish anything. Now, she folds her bed quilt in just a few minutes. She’s also risen to the top of her class at school and her foster father has taught her to express her feelings through art.
Olivia’s doctors are amazed by her progress. She is emotionally well-grounded, and her cognitive abilities have not been affected by her physical disabilities. Olivia does walk with a small limp, and she has limited movement with her left arm. Regardless, she likes to spend much of her time playing ping-pong — by choice now — or shooting hoops with a basketball. She loves to draw and play games with her foster father. She is caring, sweet and vibrant — and proud to be self sufficient.
Most importantly, Olivia has big goals for the future. She wants to join a family (and admits she would love siblings!), and she dreams of being a teacher. Sadly, Olivia is almost out of time. This is her last chance to find a family of her own.
Olivia needs a family who has access to the medical and therapeutic resources that she’ll need to continue making progress. Her ideal family will be knowledgeable about the impact of grief, trauma and institutionalization on child behavior, development and the ability to cope with change. To adopt this child, applicants must be 30-54+ years old and meet an income requirement of $30,000 plus $10,000 per additional family member in the home, with $80,000 net worth. Single parents or older couples may be eligible to adopt Olivia. *See country criteria for complete requirements. Families with an eligibility concern should contact Holt’s country program staff as China may be more flexible for a child of this profile.
For more information about Olivia, contact Marissa Leuallen at firstname.lastname@example.org or Beth Smith at email@example.com.
* name changed
Bertha Holt with Vice President Hubert Humphrey at the American Mother of the Year presentation, 1966.
In Bertha Holt’s words, “All children are beautiful when they’re loved.”
Bertha worked tirelessly on behalf of children in need until her death at age 96 on July 31, 2000. She was affectionately known as “Grandma Holt” to adoptive families and to the thousands of children around the world whose lives she changed.
Bertha was an American Mother of the Year. She was recognized by heads of state, the recipient of many national awards. But “Grandma” was the title she coveted most.
When Bertha’s husband Harry passed away in 1964, many thought the Holt agency would simply fold up. But Bertha said, “This work was always God’s work. If He wants it to continue, it will.” Her strength and faith persevered, and Holt continued to grow and meet the needs of an increasing number of homeless children.
Bertha’s leadership still guides Holt’s model of service to children today. We strive to uphold Bertha’s ethics, up-front and honest practices, and ongoing support to adoptive families and children. As an organization, we never want to forget our history, and the remarkable vision of Harry and Bertha.
Bertha’s 110th birthday would have been February 5, 2014. Please send us your photos or written memories of Grandma to firstname.lastname@example.org this week and we will share them here, in honor of her incredible legacy. You can tweet us at @holtintl or with the hashtag #HappyBdayGrandma.
If you would like to sponsor a child in Bertha’s honor, click here. Continue reading Grandma’s 110th Birthday
By Holt’s vice president of policy and external affairs, Susan Soonkeum-Cox.
The recent NPR report, “Growing up White—Transracial Adoptee Learned to be Black” is an illuminating story of the complexities and challenges of transracial adoption. This is certainly not a new topic, or an easy one, but it is a critical reminder for everyone involved in transracial, domestic or international adoption, not to minimize the importance of race and identity as a life-long part of the adoption journey.
When Holt first placed children from Korea with adoptive families in the U.S. in the 1950’s, it was during the era of physically matching children and parents. This ‘matching’ made it possible for the adoption to be secret, hidden, as if the child was physically born to their adoptive parents. Adoption of Korean children into white families split wide open the notion of secrecy. It was impossible for adoptive parents to pretend that their Korean children were born to them.
The wisdom of the day was for parents to ‘Americanize’ their child as quickly as possible. “Fitting in” was given priority over understanding or maintaining connection to race, culture and nationality. Continue reading Transracial Adoption and Growing Up White