We Will Be Their Praying Family

A mother with two adopted siblings teaches her young daughter, Zion, about the joy of adoption and the importance of praying for the children who wait

by Lindsay Evers Carroll Babcock

 

I still remember the drive to Des Moines, IA to pick up my new baby brother, a 13-month-old from Korea who I had never met, but longed to hold for the first time. Or when I looked at the picture of a little girl — my sister — and wondered how much longer we would have to wait for her! I remember knowing right away that these children belonged with us, and that I was blessed to call them my family.

Zion (far left) with Uncle Mathew and Aunt Taylor. Zion's prayers at night help Holt's waiting children find families of their own! Thank you to Zion and her family for their prayers and support!
Because of the wonderful experiences with my brother and sister, the idea to raise my children to know and understand the great joy and blessing of adoption was only natural. I have felt very passionate about adoption and have even longed to make a child part of our family through this wonderful journey as well.

In March 2011, my husband and I decided to pursue two beautiful babies we had seen on Holt’s waiting child photolisting. As a family, we prayed constantly for them! We put their picture on our refrigerator and their beautiful faces even graced the screens of our computers. We petitioned God on their behalf that they would find their forever families, be it us or not. So when we got the news that we were not the family chosen for them, heartbreak would stand to reason. However, that was not what we felt. We felt joy that God had answered our prayers and that their heartbreak would soon end through the love of a family they could call their own! We still felt like God had given us that experience for a reason, and we knew that the love we felt for them was not in vain or without merit. We then considered another child on the photolisting, and started praying for him. Shortly after, we saw that he too had been adopted.

I thought, “Lord, why are you giving me this love for these children, but they are never meant to be my family?”  Whenever I am going through something hard, all I want is my family to pray for me. I felt like God was saying, “Who will be the family that prays and pleads for these children?” This is what adoption is all about is it not — to love someone despite relation and to long for something better for them? I remember thinking, “We will be that family for these children, Lord!”

We began showing our daughter Zion, who at the time was only 3 years old, the pictures of the children on the photolisting, and telling her about the needs of a child waiting for a family. My husband and I would explain to her that an orphan has no mommy or daddy to hold them and kiss them. We told her how thankful she should be that God had given her a family who loves her so much! We told her that God wants us to pray for those who don’t have that yet.

I remember when I showed her a picture of a child with a cleft palette.  She started to cry because she was afraid his nose was going to fall off. Continue reading “We Will Be Their Praying Family”

MoneyGram Gives $35,000 for Holt’s Education Programs in Thailand and the Philippines

MoneyGram presents a check to KBF, Holt's partner in the Philippines.
Kasem* loves school.  He loves seeing his classmates every day, and goes in early to play with them.  He loves to draw and practice writing his name.  At home, at night, he eagerly shares with his family what he did that day in class. He never needs to be reminded to finish his homework.

Kasem lives in the Philippines with his mother, father and younger sister.  His mother does not work. To care for his family, his father collects and sorts garbage at night, selling the recyclable items the following morning.

Without support from Holt International and Kaisahang Buhay Foundation (KBF), Kasem’s family would not be able to send him to school.  Kasem attends one of KBF’s six daycare centers, which provide nutrition, medical assistance and learning activities for children in several low-income communities of Metro Manila.

Recently, Holt and KBF made another valuable partner in their mission to keep Kasem – and hundreds more at-risk children – in school.  MoneyGram International, Inc., a leading global money transfer company, yesterday announced a $35,000 donation to support Holt’s education programs in the Philippines and Thailand.

Through its annual Global Giving Program, MoneyGram provides grants to support education programs around the world.  “As a money transfer provider, we know first-hand how important small sums of money are to individuals working far from home to build a better life for themselves and their families,” says Juan Agualimpia, MoneyGram’s chief marketing officer.

Continue reading “MoneyGram Gives $35,000 for Holt’s Education Programs in Thailand and the Philippines”

Hey Winter Jam Fans! You’ve Waited Patiently….and the Day is Finally Here!

 Winter Jam artists, dates and venues announced for 2012!

Starting in January, Grammy nominated Christian music group Skillet will take the stage with other popular artists at Winter Jam 2012 – rocking the hearts and minds of Christian music fans in over 45 cities across the east coast!

For seven years running, Holt has teamed up with music group NewSong to bring Christian music fans a fun-filled night of music, worship, and the opportunity to help children overseas through Holt child sponsorship!

Last year, over 13,000 Winter Jam concertogers said “YES To sponsoring a child! For 2012, we’ve set our sites even higher!….

Check out Winter Jam dates and artists at jamtour.com and Like us on Facebook  for updates!

Contact Sue Paiement at suep@holtinternational.org for volunteer opportunities!

Calling All Holt Families and Supporters in Dallas!

Holt’s Gala and Dinner Auction will be held November 4th!

 

A message from Stephanie Drenka, Holt chair for Dallas event:

 The Holt gala and auction is many things — a silent auction, a chance to hear an enlightening speaker and eat some yummy hors d’oeuvres.  Above all, it’s a reminder that even in a small town outside of Dallas, we can change the lives of children waiting for their forever home.

I first attended Holt’s Dallas benefit event in 2010 after receiving an invitation from Kournti Rader, Holt’s adult adoptee outreach coordinator, who I had met at a gathering of Korean adoptees in NYC. I knew very little about the event at the time, but I did know that the benefit included an auction and dinner hosted at Paradise Cove, one of the most beautiful and highly coveted event venues in the DFW area.

Attendees for the upcoming event in November can expect traditional fundraising activities. The silent auction will feature several exciting donated items – restaurant gift certificates, spa packages, artwork and more. And one lucky raffle winner will even win a two-night package from Hilton Hotels.

My hope is that even those who do not take home an auction item will feel as though they’ve left with something more than when they arrived.

The special guest speaker for the evening will be Dr. Margaret Fitch-Hauser, who will bring a unique perspective as both a recognized scholar and Holt adult adoptee.

Those attending the event for the first time will have the opportunity to learn more about Holt International, in general, and the Special Needs Adoption Fund, in particular. You will also get a chance to donate to this incredible fund, helping adoptive families bring their children home. Our long-time attendees will get to see how their support has helped the organization grow.

At last year’s event, I sat next to a fellow Korean adoptee who told me about her upcoming trip to Korea – it would be her first time back to her birth country. I also recognized an adoptive family who I had seen every week at church but never had an opportunity to meet until the benefit. My mom was my date for the evening, and she loved hearing stories of other adoptive parents in the community.

 It was absolutely inspiring to be surrounded by people whose lives were all touched somehow by Holt’s mission, be it an adoptee, or an adoptive parent, sibling or friend, or someone who simply felt drawn to the call.

I can’t wait for this November’s event!

 

Do you feel drawn to the call? Do you want to learn more about the mission of Holt International? Join us for a night of fun, food, family and friends, all while benefiting Holt’s Special Needs Adoption Fund.

Event info:  Friday November 4, 2011, at 6:30 p.m.  Paradise Cove at Lake Grapevine.

Click here for more information about the event in Dallas…..

 

 

 

Holt Family Featured in the Orange County Register

The Hong family throws a traditional Korean “Dol” party for Tyler's fourth birthday.

“There were times when I thought maybe it would never happen. But I had faith that the perfect child for our family was out there.” — Susan Hong, Holt adoptive mom

Last April, Holt adoptive parents Susan and Tony Hong shared their adoption story with the Orange County Register, a newspaper in Southern California. Their story is typical of many of the families Holt’s China team has matched with children in recent years. In 2007, they applied to adopt a daughter. But when they learned the wait for a healthy, infant girl had increased to upwards of 5 years, they changed their plans, opening their hearts to a child of either gender — as well as a minor, correctable special need.

Two days later, they were matched with Tyler, a little boy with clubfeet.

“Tyler was 3-years-old at the time, and older than what we had originally requested, but after seeing his picture and reading his profile, we felt like this was the child who was meant for us all along and we were very excited about meeting him,” Susan Hong told the Register reporter.

The Hongs are now in process to adopt their second child, this time from Korea.

Click here to read the full story in the Orange County Register.

Help advocate for more children with special needs and older children this November, during National Adoption Month!  Click here for ideas and resources.

Surviving, Learning, Laughing: Winning the Lottery of Life

A message from Jane Ballback, post adoption guest blogger:  My daughter Stacee is guest blogging today! This post is a priceless gift to me from Stacee and was a complete surprise. Thank you for sharing this gift with me by reading on….

by Stacee Ballback

 

Whenever anybody asks me to explain how my last name is Ballback, why I can’t speak a word of Korean, or how I have two very Caucasian parents when I am very clearly Asian, my answer is always the same, “I was adopted.” The keyword here is “was.”

I never realized that I answered their questions in the past tense until I started noticing that other fellow adoptees answered the same questions, “I am adopted.” It made me realize that being adopted never felt like a state of being for me or like an all-encompassing aspect of my life. Instead, it felt like a single moment early in my life with a definite starting and ending point that happened and then was over. I don’t think that being an adopted child is so easy for everyone; I think some people are forever haunted by their adoption and it stays with them as a reminder throughout their lives that they were unwanted and unloved. I don’t see myself as unloved because I was given up; I see it as an ultimate act of sacrifice and love on my birth mother’s behalf because she wanted a better life for me then she could have provided me with.

A lot of people ask me how old I was and how I felt when my parents first told me that I was adopted, and in all honesty, I can’t remember where, when, what or how they told me. I think part of this lack of a traumatic “ah-ha” moment is due to the fact that I do not look anything like either of my parents. I think when I was young and before I could really understand adoption, I was searching for ways that my mother and I were alike. I remember walking through a parking lot with her on our usual In-n-Out and grocery shopping Sundays (a tradition I still enjoy to this day) and telling her that we looked alike because we both had dark hair. For me, finding out where I came from was more of a gradual discovery process that my parents eased me into, as opposed to a single shocking moment of realization that some adopted children may experience.

But I really think the main reason for this distress-free process is mostly a testament to the wonderful and natural job my parents did of raising me and communicating with me about where I came from. I never felt like I didn’t belong right where I was, and I hardly felt the need to search for my birth parents because I had already been planted in such a warm and loving family. When I was younger, I think my adoption troubled me. I wanted to know who my birth mother was, and I wanted to know why she had given me up.  As I got older and more capable of comprehending everything, I realized that being adopted was the best thing that could have ever happened to me.

I’m not trying to say that being adopted has not impacted me or that it is an insignificant aspect of my life in anyway, I’m only trying to emphasize that I do not see being adopted as who I am, but rather a part of who I am. I am very content and well assimilated into the American ‘cheeseburger and French fries’ way of life I grew up knowing, and I have my family to thank for this. Of course my adoption plays a large role in the person I am today and probably has a more significant role on a subconscious level, but I think that I am just very happy and grateful for the hand that I was dealt and the perfect childhood I was blessed with from my family. I don’t view my adoption as a dark cloud over my life or a taboo topic, because I grew up with parents that talked openly about it with me and constantly told me they were the luckiest parents in the world. In reality though, my brothers and I are the lucky ones, after all we basically won the lottery of life.

***I want to disclose that my mom didn’t ask me to write this. I wrote it because I’ve spent a lot of time at home this summer watching and listening to her passion and enthusiasm for telling our story.

I wrote it for her and my dad because I know how much they treasure my brothers and me. They both do so much for us that I wanted to do something meaningful for them and I know that writing this will mean more than any material gift I could ever give to them.

 

Visit Jane’s post adoption blog here

 

 

Graced by his Legacy

Adoptees from around the country come to Eugene, Oregon to celebrate the 80th birthday of Dr. David Kim

by Susan Soonkeum Cox, Vice President of Policy and External Affairs

Saturday, September 22, 2011. Approximately 300 people gathered in Eugene to celebrate the 80th birthday of Dr. David H. Kim. Many of the guests were first generation adoptees coming from around the country. Some call themselves the “first wavers,” indicating they were the first wave of children who came to the U.S. to their adoptive families.

I first met David Kim in Korea when I was 4 years old. He remembers that I was a little girl with a round face, sad eyes and hair that had been dyed coal black to make me look more Korean. My hair was in the process of growing out, and David recalls that the grow-outs “looked like there was a saucer on [my] head.”

I knew David before I knew my mother and father. It was David who helped to fill in the blanks of my history that began in Korea, a history that was unknown to me. When I was growing up, I saw David a number of times, and his warm and generous personality was always a comfort to me.

One of the most important blessings of my years at Holt has been to work with David, a wonderful teacher, mentor and friend. His vision and commitment are contagious, and it’s an honor to follow as he has led through adversity, challenges and victories on behalf of children.

Much of what I believe about adoption and advocacy I learned from David. I’ve listened to him talk with passion about the needs of children and our responsibility to respond – and to respond with urgency. I’ve often heard David say, “If children have to wait until adults and governments agree on what should be done, the children will have white whiskers. They can’t wait.”

David has pioneered motherland tours, heritage camps and the commitment to acknowledge the importance of culture and heritage for adoptees. He was a powerful and forceful advocate during the drafting of the Hague Convention on adoption, teaching that the life-long issues of adoption should be considered a priority.

I am not alone in my regard for David Kim. Over the years, he has personally touched the lives of many of us. For those adoptees who have not had the good fortune to know David personally, you should know that your life has been graced by his life, by his efforts on your behalf. In a small way, we are all a legacy to the devotion and compassion of this extraordinary man.

Happy Birthday, David Kim.