Submissions for 2014 Calendar Due Sept. 2!!

We know Labor Day is about NOT working, but we have just one job for you this weekend… The deadline for 2014 Holt Calendar submissions is just three days away — on Sept. 2nd — and we need your best photos!! So don’t forget your camera as you head to the beach, the lake, or a neighbor’s backyard BBQ! Wherever you choose to celebrate, we wish you a fun and relaxing weekend. To submit photos, click here:

Ethan, Aaron, and Mick: Brothers in Waiting


Aaron, Ethan, and Mick hang out with Holt staff from Eugene, OR, during the Philippines Ambassador trip in October 2012. In accordance with child safety laws in the Philippines, we can only show pictures of Aaron, Ethan, and Mick with other children.

DOB: 9.22.1998 (twins), 3.27.2000, SE Asia

I once saw a quote graffitied on the side of a rail car. The simple blue-painted letters, still wet and dripping, declared, “What if the cure for cancer is stuck inside the brain of someone who can’t afford school?” The quote struck me, as I considered the children who Holt serves. Some children around the world will never have the opportunity to go to school, or feel the loving support of parents who encourage them to go to college or pursue their dreams. But some will. That’s not to say that orphaned or abandoned children necessarily possess the cure for cancer. But every child has dreams. And every child has incredible potential. After learning more about three brothers from Southeast Asia waiting for an adoptive family, I’m inspired by their optimism for the future. I can’t help but wonder how far their dreams could take them if they just had the support of a permanent, loving family.

Continue reading “Ethan, Aaron, and Mick: Brothers in Waiting”

Threads of Hope

Vocational training in Uganda provides more than job security to rural women

Sometimes, hope comes in a box. A cardboard box, taped shut, in the middle of a room with dirt floors, a tin roof and no walls. And not just one box, but 25, each heavy with 20 pounds of industrial-grade hope. Under the same roof, 25 eager, smiling women are ready to tear through the boxes’ packaging. They’ve been waiting for today. While they waited, they built the structure they stand in now — a place to house their hope. Every day, they’ve walked to this place, some of them for painstaking hours through rain and mud with their youngest children in their arms. And now, the boxes are here.

Continue reading “Threads of Hope”

A Mother’s Final Gift

In Vietnam, the financial stability of a cow can be enough to keep a family together

Kim-Ly with her husband and two children.

Motherhood creates a universal connection. Regardless of skin color or culture, economic status or professional achievement, all mothers share a profound desire to protect and provide for their young. It overpowers everything — compelling them to put to their own needs aside for the sake of their child.

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Adopting from Korea; The Same, But Different

Gandalf and Christina Sollenberger have adopted twice through Holt’s Korea program — the first time in 2010, before the new Korean Adoption Law passed in August 2012, and once after the changes took effect. Here, Gandalf shares their perspective on the new process to adopt from Korea.

Gandalf and Christina with sons Keegan and Kai at the Cape May Zoo in New Jersey.
Earlier this summer, on July 14th, Holt adoptive father Gandalf Sollenberger wrote an eagerly anticipated blog post to family and friends, which he titled, “First few days of being a family of four.” Just a few days earlier, 23-month-old Keegan had parted with his foster family in Korea to travel home to the U.S. with his adoptive family; he was now a Sollenberger. Although both his foster and adoptive parents had prepared him as best they could given his young age, Keegan was still not quite at ease with this new reality. By day, he was his happy, sweet self. Nighttime, however, brought out the deep sense of grief and loss he felt for his foster family.

“Night time was tough; very tough, but very good for Keegan because while grieving, he definitely would take comfort in us,” Gandalf wrote. “Neither Christina nor I got any sleep and Keegan was in and out of sleep pretty much every 45 minutes, but slept longer and grieved less as the night went on. On Friday morning, he awoke in the sweetest mood and we all enjoyed some very sweet bonding time together.”

In a sense, this experience was nothing new. The Sollenbergers had been through the grieving process once before for their son Kai, who they also adopted from Korea and who also lived with a foster family before coming home. But even though Keegan and Kai shared such similar beginnings, with Keegan, the process was very different.

In fact, the Sollenbergers had dramatically different adoption experiences for their two sons.

“We adopted Kai in early March of 2010 and he was 10 and a half months old when he came home,” says Gandalf.

Although they waited 6 months to bring him home, when they did finally get their travel call, the process sped into high gear. Five days later, they were on a plane. “Holt took us to our hotel, we met him on day two, and by day number four it was family day and we could leave that night. Six days was all it was…That was very different from the process we just went through,” says Gandalf, referring to Keegan’s adoption. Continue reading “Adopting from Korea; The Same, But Different”

Upcoming Holt Events

This upcoming New Jersey gala dinner and auction will take place on September 28 in Princeton. All proceeds will benefit the Special Needs Adoption Fund, which helps families overcome the financial barriers that often come with adopting a child with special needs. As a special treat, Christian music artist Karyn Williams will perform at the event! Visit to learn more about Karyn’s connection to adoption and to Holt.

This year’s Portland gala will take place on November 9. All proceeds from the event will benefit children in Holt’s care in Korea, in honor of Molly Holt. The event will take place at the Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront at 5:30 p.m. Continue reading “Upcoming Holt Events”

Holt is My Second Family

Kyle Witzigman, a Holt adoptee from Vietnam and student at the University of Notre Dame, reflects on his summer as an intern at the Holt International offices in Eugene, Oregon.

Kyle Witzigman with his parents, Todd and Cindy, outside the Holt International office in Eugene, Oregon.

Every August 3, my parents and I celebrate Family Day. In 1995, it was the day my adoptive parents signed paperwork in Hanoi, Vietnam, and I officially became a Witzigman. Since I was 18 months old when I moved to the U.S., I only remember one thing about living in Vietnam – sitting on a courtyard bench swing at the orphanage. Exciting right? Continue reading “Holt is My Second Family”

A Letter From Dr. David Kim

I know you don’t hear from me all that often. While I have officially retired, I continue to work on behalf of homeless children, supporting current leadership as best I can. Today I am writing to you with a special request. I’m writing to ask if you’ll bless a woman who has blessed thousands of children — my dear friend and colleague, Molly Holt. By giving a gift to the Molly Holt Fund for Children With Special Needs, you’ll be helping so many children in Korea and other countries around the world get the crucial care and permanent families they need to thrive.

You’ve probably heard that Molly Holt is seriously ill. Throughout her life, Molly has devoted herself to caring for orphaned and abandoned children with special needs — carrying on the work and legacy of her parents, Holt International founders Harry and Bertha Holt. I had the privilege of working alongside Molly for many years, starting in 1957 — just a year after it all began. Together, we traveled throughout Korea to bring homeless children into Holt’s care. We also traveled overseas to escort children on the 28-40 hour flight from Korea to their adoptive parents in the U.S. I remember how Molly worked so hard on those flights cleaning bottles, preparing new ones, changing diapers, and monitoring the babies’ health the entire time.

Through the years, Molly has provided guidance to our staff and partners as they developed programs for children in countries around the world. But since she first arrived in 1956, her heart and home has always been — and always will be — with orphaned, abandoned and vulnerable children in Korea.

It is impossible to express just how much we love and appreciate Molly. But knowing Molly, we recognize that the best way to show just how much we appreciate her 57 years of service to children with special needs is by continuing to care for the children closest to her heart.

By now, you probably know that Holt has created The Molly Holt Fund for Children with Specials Needs. This fund will help to ensure that children with special needs always have someone to love and care for them when Molly no longer can.

Continue reading “A Letter From Dr. David Kim”