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Hi, my name is Emily Lund, and I am an adoption counselor for Holt International. I am often the first person to speak with many families who are just starting the process and have questions about adopting through Holt. That said, I thought I would share some of the more common myths and assumptions I hear about international adoption. I hope this is helpful!


MYTH #1: Eligibility requirements are set in place by the placing agencies.

In almost every instance, this statement is false. Each country’s government establishes the rules regarding parental eligibility to adopt that must be honored. Other entities — such as USCIS, overseas partner agencies, orphanages or placing agencies — can build on these rules, which is why families might see differing eligibility requirements when researching different agencies. Ultimately, however, it is the country that sets the initial eligibility requirements about everything from age and length of marriage to religious affiliation and number of children already in the home. Prospective parents must meet eligibility requirements at the time of initial application to Holt if possible, but no later than dossier submission. Read More

Myth-Older-ChildrenFor today’s National Adoption Month of Myth-Busting post, Holt Adoption Counselor Emily Lund dispels the myth that older children who are adopted internationally always have difficulty bonding with their adoptive family and adapting to their new home. We also share an update from the Wells family, who wrote one of our all-time most popular blogs, “The Unexpected Ease of Older Child Adoption.

Every child, family and community is unique. Children who are adopted internationally face some especially unique challenges such as language barriers, grief, adapting to a new country and culture, and loss. Some post-placement transitions are relatively smooth and other adoption journeys are not quite what the family expected. We work to ensure that each family is as prepared as possible and has the tools they need to help their older child adjust to their new life in the U.S. During the homestudy process, you will complete parent education trainings that will empower you with knowledge and insight about attachment and bonding. And after you come home, Holt has a clinical services department available to support families with any challenges that may arise. And, as Abbie wrote earlier this month, love between you and your older child may not be at first sight — but in time, it will grow. — Emily Lund, Adoption Counselor Read More

As we prepare for another Thanksgiving feast with family and friends, Holt’s nutrition initiatives coordinator shares what she has learned over the past year about the unique nutritional challenges children face when they grow up in institutional care — and how Holt’s orphan nutrition program is working to ensure all children receive the proper nutrition they need to grow and thrive. 

ONP CHANGCHUN SAFE Practicum Training (256)

Improperly feeding children with special needs can lead to choking and aspiration. This year, Holt partnered with SPOON Foundation to provide feeding training to caregivers at orphanages in India, Vietnam and China, as pictured here.

It’s that time of year. Pumpkin-spiced everything, leaves falling everywhere, turkey, stuffing and graaaavy creeping into my daydreams. Thanksgiving is upon us.

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday because I truly do have so much to be grateful for. And as I reflect on the last year — a year in which I traveled around the world meeting and serving children through Holt’s Orphan Nutrition Program (ONP) — I feel an even greater sense of gratitude.

Two years ago, Holt received a four-year grant to pilot a program that gives orphanages a system to monitor their children’s growth and anemia prevalence as well as training on how to properly nourish and feed children. Read More

Kick off Cyber Monday a day early with the best deals you’ll find online all day! We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite Gifts of Hope — items that bring comfort, warmth, safety and nourishment to orphaned and vulnerable children, and also make perfect gifts for everyone on your holiday shopping list.

When you give a Gift of Hope in honor of a friend, coworker or loved one, we will send a festive card to let them know you gave a gift in their name!

The items below are proven to make a tremendous, lasting impact in the lives of children facing incredible hardship or crises.

Blankets-and-Clothes-375x652 Feeding-Kit-375x652 Orphanage-375x652 Vaccines-375x652 Read More

Holt’s Director of Post Adoption Services, Sunday Silver, counsels hundreds of adoptive parents each year, and one of the most common myths she works to dispel is that birth parents won’t be involved in an international adoption. As she discusses below, birth parents will always be an important part of every adoptee’s life.

Holt Staff-Sunday Silver

The prospective adoptive parents came to the social worker’s office to begin their home study interviews. Their social worker began with introductions and discussion on what country programs might be the best fit for them. She mentions several country options, including domestic adoption. When the social worker began discussing the process to adopt domestically, the parents were insistent that they only wanted an international adoption. They worried about what a relationship with a birth mother or father might look like. The adoptive mother stated that she could never understand how anyone could give up a child and would have a hard time meeting with a woman who would do so. They felt it was best to adopt internationally so they wouldn’t have to “deal with the birth mother.”

This story is a culmination of many situations I have encountered over the years. While it may seem insensitive in writing, this scenario is fairly common, especially when I first started working with adoptive parents in the mid ‘90s. Since then, things have changed and adoptive parents are better at acknowledging the importance of the birth parents in their child’s life. However, I am still surprised at how many prospective adoptive parents still adopt internationally thinking they can avoid “dealing with birth parents.” Read More