A message from Kim Brown, Holt president and CEO:
You likely know about the incredible work taking place at the Ilsan Center in Korea. As a Korean adoptee and father of two adopted children from Korea, Ilsan has a special place in my heart and I praise the Lord for the work that goes on there. But during my most recent visit to the center, I couldn’t help notice the poor physical condition of some of the buildings, especially “Molly’s House,” where Harry and Bertha Holt’s daughter still cares for Ilsan children and residents. These buildings are badly in need of repair.
God has truly blessed us by calling then 19-year-old Molly, more than 50 years ago, to follow in her parent’s faith-filled footsteps. A trained nurse, Molly cares for orphaned children in their very first days at the center, as well as after surgery or during a serious illness. She’ll tell you that she keeps them for as long as needed, “Until these children know that they are loved and wanted.” Over the years, her Christian faith has driven her to minister hope to some of the most needy children in Holt’s care.
Unfortunately, Molly’s house is one of many of Ilsan’s 15 buildings that need repair. During my visit I saw exposed electrical systems, outdated plumbing, crumbling stairs and peeling paint.
To bring our facilities up to recently revised government standards, we’ve launched a five-year renovation campaign for Ilsan and need your help to make these vital repairs.
The following is the story of Min-kee, a 6-year-old resident at Ilsan who was brought into Molly’s care….
Min-kee came into Ilsan’s care at 16 months of age. He started out with a foster family, but when it was determined that he would most likely need ongoing and more in-depth care, he was transferred to Ilsan and into the arms of Molly Holt. Upon arriving at Molly’s House, where all new arrivals are brought, Min-kee had several developmental delays and was not able to walk or feed himself. He had low set ears, a webbed neck and short extremities – traits often associated with Noonan’s disease, a congenital heart defect for which he was later diagnosed.
“When the young children and babies arrive at Ilsan, they start out at my house and the housemothers and myself teach them to sit up, walk and feed themselves,” explains Molly. “Min-kee was quite delayed when he came to Ilsan, but then started functioning really well after awhile. He learned to feed himself and speak.
“Before moving into another house at Ilsan, the children will usually stay at my house for a month or so while we assess their needs. If children continue to struggle or they need more long-term care, they will come back to my house for however long they need.”
Today, at 6 years old, Min-kee attends kindergarten, is a member of the Ilsan choir and has even participated in an international choir competition. When he arrived at Ilsan, Min-kee immediately began receiving, and has continued to receive, speech and physical therapy as well as art and music therapy. He can use the bathroom with little help and can speak 3 to 4 word sentences.
“Min-kee is so charming and has come so far,” says Molly. “The housemothers and the residents here just love him.”
Someday, because of the care and specialized services provided to him at Ilsan, Molly and the rest of the caretakers hope and pray that Min-kee will one day go home to a family of his own. “Oh, I would just love for him to find a family,” says Molly enthusiastically.
But for many at Ilsan, adoption may never happen and the residents , all who have special needs, may spend their entire lives at Ilsan, where they will receive occupational and vocational training and ongoing care. Some may even go on to lead independent lives.
The residents in care range from toddlers to individuals in their 50s and 60s, some of whom have been there since Harry Holt first built Ilsan. Loving housemothers who are there on a 24-hour basis care for each resident. The children live in group homes that serve as family-like settings.
“Islan is not a place where disabled children are hidden away. It’s a proud centerpiece of the community and a symbol of our commitment to the children that we serve,” says Paul Kim, Holt’s Korea program director. “We are committed to children who come into our care and that is a lifetime commitment.”
A lifetime commitment that all starts at Molly’s House.
I hope we can count on you for a generous gift today. To show you how every bit helps, even a few dollars can purchase nails and paint, flooring tiles, electrical supplies or other materials. Your gift will build a refuge of love that will last for many more years to come.
Min-kee needs a loving family. If you are interested in bringing this happy little boy into your home, please contact the Waiting Child program.