(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Congrats to Jimmy!

Congrats to Jimmy on finding his family! And thank YOU for helping to advocate for his adoption! Jimmy reminds us of Kevin, a bright 9-year-old boy who loves playing soccer and climbing trees. Unlike Jimmy, Kevin is still waiting to find a loving family. The family that moves forward with Kevin’s adoption will receive a Holt “Special Blessings” grant to help bring him home. Click here to read and share Kevin’s story!

Holt Needs Volunteers in North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida!

NEEDED HOLT Volunteers to help with HOLT CHILD SPONSORSHIP sign-ups at upcoming Secret Keeper Girl shows!


Tuesday, January 29th, in Matthews, NC — Carmel Baptist Church (1145 Pineville-Matthews Rd.)

Thursday, January 31st, in Fayetteville, NC– Northwood Temple (4250 Ramsey Street)

Friday, February 1st, in Raleigh, NC — Mt. Vernon Baptist Church (7600 Falls of the Neuse Rd.)

Saturday, February 2nd, in North Charleston, South Carolina — Northwood Baptist Church (2200 Greenridge Rd.)

Thursday, February 7th, in North Myrtle Beach, SC — Barefoot Church (701 Main Street)

Friday, February 8th, in Jacksonville, Florida — First Coast Christian Church (2724 New Berlin Rd.)

TIME:   Please be there at 5:30 p.m.
Show is from 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

WHAT:   The Secret Keeper Girl tour is for 8-12 year old girls and their moms.  A fun group with a wonderful mission of teaching modesty (through a fashion show) and open communication between moms & daughters.  Presenter Suzy Weibel recently traveled to Haiti with Holt to learn more about our work. She is doing a fabulous job sharing Holt’s vision and mission at Secret Keeper Girl events, and inspiring participants to help vulnerable children through Holt’s child sponsorship program. To date, this group has acquired 2,000+ new sponsors during their partnership with Holt!

DETAILS:  When you arrive, say you are a Holt volunteer and you will get in for free.  Go to the Holt Table (easy to find!) and Ann-Riley Caldwell (615-601-1366) will train you & answer questions you may have.  You are welcome to leave after intermission if you need to (probably about 8:00 p.m.) Your children are welcome to come with you – they will love it!

For more information and to volunteer, please contact Sue Paiement at suep@holtinternational.org. Thanks!



Where Are They Now: Natalie!

Ever thought about a waiting child you once saw featured on the Holt blog or in the Holt International magazine? Maybe you shared their story with your friends and family on Facebook, or helped advocate for them in some other way. And how exciting it was to hear the news that they finally found their family! At Holt, we are delighted to share updates with you about the children we featured, and you helped advocate for in your community. Remember Natalie, who we wrote about in 2011? Natalie found her family through the Holt blog. And here she is today, now home and thriving in the loving care of her family.

In May 2011, we posted a story about a 6-year-old girl in China waiting to find a loving family to adopt her. We called her “Natalie,” and shared what we knew about her based on staff visits and caregiver reports. We wrote that she likes to read books and draw pictures, and that she is quiet, timid and fairly introverted. We informed prospective families that Natalie has spina bifida, and explained how this affects her daily life. We also urged families to look closer at this beautiful little girl with big, soulful eyes, and see all the potential waiting there.

Natalie two years ago at an orphanage in China.

One family did look closer. That family, the Kazsuks of California, soon became Natalie’s family.

In June 2012, at 8 years old, Natalie finally came home. Recently, her mom, Tracy, wrote to share how Natalie is transitioning into her new family and life in the U.S. She also said we could share Natalie’s update with you!

(Natalie’s real Chinese name is Qiu Ni, which she has kept.)

“Since the day this child was picked up in China, she has been a dream,” writes Tracy. “She is smart, sensitive and considerate. She is artistic, and creative, and has a clever sense of humor… She eats everything nutritious under the sun and has grown 3” and gained 3 lbs. She has fit into our family so well; it is amazing to think she ever wasn’t there.”

The Kazsuks have three other children at home, their youngest adopted through Holt from Korea.When considering a placement for Qiu Ni, Holt’s social workers prepared the family for the potential challenges to sibling relationships when bringing an older child into the family.

Natalie, or Qiu Ni, now home in the U.S.

“I am happy to report that [Qiu Ni] is often seen giggling with her little sister, putting lotion on her sister’s hands, and trading dolls with

her,” writes Tracy. “When she thinks I’m not looking, she washes the little kids’ hands and trades her things with them to make them happy. I have to remind her that they don’t always get to win.”

“As for her medical needs,” she continues, “I am thrilled that we are controlling them… Please, PLEASE, don’t hesitate to send potential parents my way for questions about spina bifida… To think that she might still be waiting due to this ‘need’ is sad and very scary.”

Several months ago, Tracy did talk to a family considering adopting a child with spina bifida – and they were later matched with Donald, a boy we also featured in a Holt waiting child blog!

“Anyway, all this to say we just love, love, love her,” Tracy writes of Qiu Ni.

“Today when I went to the school… she ran to me laughing and hugging and said, ‘I need to go home now. I need to have my Mommy now,’” Tracy continues. “Every night before bed she tells me that I came to China to get her and she loves me. She is music to my ears!!!”

“We are,” Tracy concludes, “more blessed than you will ever know.”

Natalie found her family. But so many children are still waiting! Click here to read about Malachi, an older boy from China recently featured on the Holt blog.

Click here to read about more children from China still waiting to find loving families of their own.

* Tracy’s original letter has been edited to protect Qiu Ni’s privacy


Christian Music Artist Clay Crosse in Haiti

Clay Crosse is currently traveling with Holt staff in Haiti.  Hear about his emotional experience in the video below… 

Share this video with your Facebook friends!

Read more about this recent trip to Haiti, here

Learn more about sponsoring a child through Holt International!   Click here

One Child at a Time; Holt and SPOON Partner to Improve Nutrition

Jennifer Goette, Holt’s director of strategic initiatives, is currently visiting Holt’s partner programs in India with Zeina Makhoul of the SPOON Foundation. Here, Zeina and Jennifer are working to develop a pilot nutrition screening program for orphaned and vulnerable children. Once complete, the nutrition screening will be implemented throughout Holt’s country programs — ensuring all children in care receive the vital nutrition they need to grow and thrive!

by Jennifer Goette, Holt Director of Strategic Initiatives

Jennifer with children in the kitchen at VCT.

There is a story of an elderly man and a little boy who discover a beach littered with thousands of starfish.  The starfish go on and on as far as the eye can see.  Knowing that these little creatures will surely die in the hot sun while the tide is going out, the little boy picks up one of the starfish and throws it into the sea.  He does this a few times before the old man says, “Son, you will not be able to save them all!  Why are you wasting your time?” As he tosses another starfish into the sea, the boy replies, “But father, it made a difference to that one!” He picks up another.  “And that one!”  And he reaches for another.  “Also that one!”  As the boy continues to throw starfish into the sea, the old man understands.  Soon he joins in and one by one, they both throw starfish into the sea.

This story comes to mind when looking at the complex issue of malnutrition in India.  In a country where a staggering 47% of children in the general population are malnourished, it is horrifying to think about the number of orphaned and abandoned children who are failing to receive the nutrients they need for healthy development.  But much like the story, while the numbers are overwhelming, our actions do matter to the children we are able to reach.  We are able to make a difference for those children who come, one by one, into our care.

At Vathsalya Charitable Trust (VCT) in Bangalore, one of Holt’s long-time partners in India, the staff estimates that 85 to 90 percent of children entering their care show signs of malnutrition.  To help address this issue, Holt recently began partnering with the SPOON Foundation, a Portland, Oregon-based non-profit agency that strives to improve nutrition for orphaned, fostered and adopted children. With training and technical support from SPOON, Holt and our staff and partners around the world are hoping to change the picture for children who get off to a difficult start in life. Holt and SPOON have designed a bold new initiative to identify malnutrition in children and create positive changes in our pediatric nutrition and feeding practices. Three of Holt’s partner organizations will take part in the first phase of the project, including two in India and one in Haiti.

Zeina Makhoul, SPOON’s nutrition assessment specialist, and I are here in India this week to visit and learn from the two local organizations participating in this pilot nutrition screening program. Zeina and I have spent the last few days with the staff at VCT to learn more about their current nutrition and feeding practices, as well as clinical support for children in their care. Expert in child care and child welfare programming, VCT’s staff already possesses a strong understanding of the critical role nutrition and feeding play in the lives of the children in their care. With insight and training from Zeina, our goal is to give the staff an even wider range of resources and empower them to identify and treat different forms of malnutrition, including vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Continue reading “One Child at a Time; Holt and SPOON Partner to Improve Nutrition”

Hope Renewed For Haiti Family

Noely’s story revisited

 Brian Campbell, creative services director, is currently in Haiti with Christian music group 4HIM, touring Holt Fontana Village and learning more about Holt International’s educational *sponsorship program in this impoverished country. Back in August, Brian met a 12-year-old girl named Noely, her younger sister, Rose, and their mother, Goulette; They were a family of three struggling to survive. But today, through the support of Holt’s educational sponsorship program, Noely and her sister are able to attend school, and their mother is making tremendous strides to better her life for the sake of her children.

 Brian and Mark Harris caught up with the family on their trip to Haiti this week…

 By Brian Campbell, Creative Services Director

Arcahaie, Haiti—The hot Haitian air is filled with anticipation and excitement this morning. Christian music artist, Mark Harris, of the music group 4Him, is on his way to school. But not just any school. A young girl named Noely attends this school. You may remember her…

 In August of 2012, I met Noely, her sister, Rose Carmel, and their mother, Goulette. At that time, the family was in desperate need of food. When Holt first met the family, they hadn’t eaten in three days. For Noely and Rose, receiving a proper education seemed unlikely. Goulette wept when thinking about her daughters’ uncertain future.

But today, Noely sits among children in a classroom—children that are a year or two older than her. She sits in the front row with her books open,  her voice strong as she calls out answers to the teacher’s questions. Mark makes note that Noely looks so much younger than the rest the students. The school principal tells Mark that he advanced Noely an additional grade because she tested very high at her placement exam.

Thanks to Holt’s educational sponsorship program in Haiti, Noely and her sister, Rose, can now receive a proper education. Here, Noely sits with her classmates.

Continue reading “Hope Renewed For Haiti Family”

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Spencer’s Victory

Adopted through Holt’s China program, Spencer Morrow came home on May 31, 2012, just a few weeks before he turned 7 years old. He came home in a wheelchair. Today, he can stand on his own and walk with a walker! Just yesterday, his parents, Chris and Debbie, sent us an update on Spencer to share with other Holt families and supporters:

We first saw him on the waiting child photolisting! When we accepted his referral, we knew he did not walk due to a knee contracture. His knee was bent at almost a 45-degree angle and could not straighten.  We were not given a diagnosis as to why his knee was contracted, but his file described a smart and resilient little boy.  His description was right on!  When Spencer came home he was more independent than we imagined. Instead of walking around our house, he just scooted. He had a hamstring release in November and has had four different casts (he gets his final cast off today) to help straighten the leg. His leg is now straight! He can also stand independently and walks all around with the use of his walker!!!! Spencer is a very determined little boy who always has a smile on his face. He amazes us with his positive attitude and joyful disposition! — Chris and Debbie Morrow

Standing is a major victory for Spencer! Yay, Spencer!

Many more children are waiting to find loving families of their own. Click here to see photos and learn more about Holt’s waiting children.

To learn more about adopting through Holt’s China program, click here.

SPOON Foundation Visits Holt Partners and Children in India

Zeina with a 3-month-old girl in care.

For growing children, we all know that good nutrition is vital. But nutritional deficiencies aren’t always readily apparent. Last year, Holt began partnering with the SPOON Foundation to develop a nutrition screening system that will ensure children in our programs are receiving the nutrients they need for healthy development. Holt and SPOON chose two pilot sites — the Holt Fontana Village in Haiti, and Holt’s partner organizations in India.

In September 2012, SPOON’s nutrition assessment specialist, Zeina Makhoul, visited the Village in Haiti to learn about their nutrition and feeding practices. She now joins Jennifer Goette, Holt’s director of strategic initiatives, on a trip to India. Holt’s collaboration with SPOON is part of our effort to increase technical support and services to our partners around the world.

Click here to read Zeina’s blog from India!

Zeina also kept a blog during her time in Haiti. Click here to read it.

To learn more about Holt’s work in India, click here.

The Best of 2012

2013 has arrived!  But before we say goodbye entirely to the year 2012, let’s take a quick look back at some of the highlights of the year, reflected in wonderful stories from the field, and stories written by Holt International adoptive families, adoptees and Holt child sponsors.

Holt International’s Top 12 Stories of 2012—Uniting Families, Changing the Lives of Children.  

Children Who Give

January 2012

Hunter’s story — Our gift

A Little Extra Help for a Lifetime of Love

February 2012

How the Special Needs Adoption Fund (SNAF) changes lives

Help a Child with Special Needs Come Home to Their Loving Family…

Give a SNAF grant today!

In a Mother’s Words

March 2012

A letter of gratitude from a mother in Holt’s family strengthening program in Ethiopia…read more

Provide a struggling mother with livestock to support her children.  Give a Gift of Hope today!

The Greatest Gift a Mother Could Hope For

April 2012

After losing her husband in a construction accident, a struggling mother of two in Vietnam receives assistance from Holt in the form of chickens and four months of feed — the basis for a small, but thriving, business. Greatest of all, both of her daughters are now well-nourished and attending pre-school. Jennifer Goette, Holt’s director of programs for South and Southeast Asia, reports…read more

Give a Gift of Hope to a Struggling family in one of Holt’s programs

The Blessing of Infertility

May 2012

The McBride family finds joy in two blessings from China. Wyeth came home in 2010, their daughter, Channing, in 2011…read more

Help a family bring their child home. Give a Special Need Adoption Fund Grant today!

When the Tide Rolls In

June 2012

An adoptee’s story about diving deeper and embracing two cultures...read more

A Brighter Day For Children

July 2012

Jennifer Goette, Holt’s director of programs for South and Southeast Asia, shares about her meaningful visits with two once-struggling families in Holt’s family preservation program. Through day care services and donations provided by generous monthly sponsors, children in the Philippines have been given hope for the future. Once only a program to support children going home to families in the United States, Holt’s child sponsorship program has broadened to include support for children remaining with their families…read more

A Girl Named Noely

August 2012

Brian Campbell joins Secret Keeper Girl speaker Suzy Weibel on a journey to Haiti this week. While there, the group will visit children at Holt Fontana Village as well as families in Holt’s family preservation program…read more

Don’t Be Afraid

September 2012

An older child’s touching letter to the children waiting for their families…read more

Learn more about adopting an older child…

Creating Healthier Communities, One Brick and One Family at a Time

September 2012

In communities throughout rural Ethiopia, Holt works with individual families to improve their health and wellbeing. In one community, Holt is going one major step further. Once complete, the Shinshicho Mother and Child Hospital will provide acute, quality care and emergency treatment for thousands of families and children — a vital service, especially when hours can mean the difference between life and death...read more

Give a Gift of Hope!

There She Is!

October 2012

Five days ago, 2-year-old Hyeon-a traveled from South Korea to Eugene, Oregon with Molly Holt to meet her new family, the Odils. Welcome home, Hyeon-a!..read more

Give to Holt’s Special Needs Adoption Fund!

Adopting an Older Child — Is Fear Holding You Back?

November 2012

Shila Ann Henderson is the mother of 10 children, five adopted through Holt, three of whom came home after the age of five. “Some people think it’s too late for older children to be adopted, especially kids who have always been waiting,” says Shila. “Some think children who have experienced a harsh life will never overcome the effects. Those people have never met our Lan Lan, adopted at the age of 11, our Ningjie, adopted at the age of 10, and our son, Vu, adopted from Vietnam at the age of five — the sweetest, most loving children in the whole world!”…read more

Learn more about the adoption process today…