It’s hard to believe another year is almost in the history books. Thanks to your support, 2013 was a time of great accomplishments, many of which will continue to positively impact children’s lives far beyond the new year.
This year, we found families for 339 children, and of those children, 299 have already arrived home to their permanent, loving parents in the U.S.
We raised and awarded approximately $80,000 in grants to families adopting children with special needs this year.
Thousands of children received lifesaving food, clothing, medical care, education and more, thanks to the generosity of Holt child sponsors.
Holt’s services reunited or strengthened nearly 21,000 vulnerable children and families in Cambodia, China, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Korea, Mongolia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Uganda.
What would it mean in the life of your child if you not only gave him the toys on his Christmas list, but also toys in his name for vulnerable children in China? What if, for your sister, you helped provide clothing, cribs and bedding for children in Korea? Or a goat for a struggling family in Ethiopia?
This holiday season, you can help a child survive. Help a family thrive. This Christmas, you can give the gift of hope to children and families in Holt’s care…
This December, Holt’s director of program and foundation relations, Rose McBride, traveled on Holt’s Korea Gift Team trip along with 19 other Holt families, adoptees and staff members. During the week, the gift team brought gifts and joy to the children in Holt’s care in Korea. Here, she writes about their visit to an unwed mothers shelter in Daejeon.
Holt’s South Korea Christmas team traveled to Acchimdeul Center located in Daejeon, South Korea’s fifth largest city, to visit one of Holt Korea’s six single mothers shelters.
As our visit began, we were treated to a most beautiful rendition of Arirang, performed by a very talented musician who serves as the volunteer music teacher for the women in shelter.
The date for our visit here this year was specially set for our team to participate in celebrating “Dol” — a child’s first birthday! It was doubly special as this was the first Dol ever celebrated at Acchimdeul.
Gracing the cover of Holt’s annual Christmas card is 7-year-old Nathaniel Wennstrom. Nathaniel was born in South Korea, and came home to Jared and Alicia Wennstrom in 2003. This festive and colorful card shows Nathaniel tranquilly slumbering next to his family’s Christmas tree, enjoying the warmth and love of a permanent home. An excerpt from the classic Christmas song “Silent Night” accompanies this endearing and hopeful photo:
“Sleep in heavenly peace.”
Such a lovely thought, and something that we at Holt wish for you this holiday season — a house full of joy and a heart full of peace.
On November 7, a massive typhoon devastated regions of the Philippines — including areas where Holt-funded childcare facilities operate. As the storm hit, staff at Holt’s office in Eugene, Oregon, anxiously waited to reestablish contact with our partners in the area. Communication lines were down, and the news reports of horrific damage and loss of life made staff fear the worst. Continue reading “To Survive and Start Anew”
Look at those big, brown eyes. Can you see the hope inside of them? It’s there, and it’s holding out for a family.
DOB: 10.17.2006, Africa
Bryson is 7 years old, and fairly new to Holt’s care. We are still getting to know him, so we don’t know a lot about his personality yet. However, a few of Bryson’s traits are easily observed. Every report about Bryson — whether from a doctor, caregiver or teacher — has the same comment: Bryson is very playful.
The word “playful” alone doesn’t mean much. How is he playful? Does he love to giggle at jokes? Does he turn basic activities into a fun game? Is he mischievous? Or, like many children his age, does he still see the magic and wonderment in simple things?
We have a few clues about what “playful” means to Bryson…
For the first 6 months of her life, Holt adoptee Molly Bicksler lived with a foster family in China. After reaching an important milestone — high school graduation — Molly felt inspired to write a letter to her former foster parents, sharing her exciting news.
I was adopted in 1995 from Nanning, China. Before my parents picked me up, I was in a loving foster home. From the pictures I’ve seen, it looks like my foster mom loved and cared for me a lot. Every Christmas, my family has sent her a card with a picture and an update on how I am doing. This year, I thought I would write a more personal letter because it has been a year of changes and milestones.
Dear Qin Xiu Zhen and Huang Yong Ming,
A day does not go by that I am not thankful for the love you showed me when I was a baby. I have a wall in my room with items from China, which constantly reminds me of where I come from. Living in America will never change my roots, and I will always keep a part of my heritage alive.
I hope one day that I can return to China and thank you. I think about all the other children in orphanages who don’t get the chance to have that one-on-one care. I am very grateful for having the privilege to have been cared for in a foster home before being adopted into a family.
I live with my mom and dad, along with two cats. I am actively involved with our church and its youth group. I enjoy reading and learning more about the world around us. I am like any other teenager, addicted to technology and all that it has to offer.
I have graduated high school and now am in college. I am pursuing a degree in nursing. In high school I was a well-rounded student who I hope you would be proud of. I sang in the chorus, participated in orchestra and chamber orchestra (I played the violin), and helped the community through Key Club. I got inducted into the National Honor Society my junior year. I even had the privilege to be an officer of several activities. I also received many acknowledgments and awards.
College is a very different experience that I am enjoying. I attend a smaller college; I don’t really care for the larger campuses. I still live at home but I do have a place to stay that is nearer to the college. Next semester I will start clinical. I can’t wait to meet the patients.
Have a Happy Holiday and Happy New Year! It’s the year of the horse!
In China, the most pressing child welfare issue is arguably no longer how to care for children without families — but what to do about children experiencing abuse and neglect within their families. As child welfare officials in China work to address this problem, Holt is providing guidance and support — advocating for systemic change that will ultimately affect hundreds of thousands of children.
by Robin Munro, Managing Editor
A few weeks ago, we shared the story of a little girl in China who we called “Hong.” Alongside the story we posted a picture of Hong, chubby-cheeked and smiling, her shiny black hair swept across her forehead. The story was about foster care — how in her foster mother’s care, Hong overcame a bad skin infection that caused her face to become red and swollen. Her foster mother took her to the doctor and ensured she received the medicine she needed. She mothered Hong back to health, with nourishing food and attentive, loving care. Praised for her devoted care, Hong’s foster mother brushed it off. “It’s nothing to be a show-off about,” she said. “I just do what a mom would do for her child.”
Twenty years ago, foster care was an alien concept in China. If their parents died or were unable to support them, children would customarily be taken in by relatives. For children who truly had nowhere else to go, China provided housing and care through an extensive network of social welfare institutes spread out across the country. These orphanages provided a last resort for orphaned and abandoned children, and before the 1990s, few children came into care.
Then, in the late 1980s, China instituted a one-child-per-family policy — resulting in one very unfortunate and unintended outcome. Facing extreme consequences if they failed to comply, parents began to abandon their children, primarily those who would not in time be able to support the family.
By the time Holt began working in China — in the early 1990s — China’s social welfare institutes were in a state of crisis. With children coming in at a rate of sometimes five per day — most of them infant girls — caregivers became overwhelmed. To properly care for the growing number of children in care, China’s orphanages needed a solution more immediate than adoption.
By this late date, Holt had already developed an alternative model of care for children — a model that would give children the attentive, nurturing care that, despite their best efforts, orphanage caregivers simply don’t have the time or resources to provide. In South Korea, India, Thailand, the Philippines and other countries, Holt had already introduced this model with great success. After some convincing, the Chinese government began partnering with Holt to develop foster care for the country’s orphaned and abandoned children. Today, thousands of children in China live with foster families while they wait to join permanent adoptive families in China or overseas. Thousands of children are being nurtured back to health, achieving critical developmental milestones, and thriving in their foster parents’ care.
While moving, the story of little Hong is also very common in China today.
During the Christmas season, we often reflect on the many blessings in our lives — a warm home, plenty of nourishing food, caring friends and, most of all, a loving family. Those of us with a connection to Holt may be more acutely aware of how truly blessed we are. We know that around the world, thousands of children are suffering and may never know the warmth and love of a family.
Perhaps nowhere is the need more critical today than in North Korea, a country that continues to suffer from years of drought and flood that devastated their crops, and their economy. Conditions in orphanages are especially dire, where vulnerable children often go without enough food, medicine and warm clothing to protect them from harsh winter weather. Sadder still, joining a loving adoptive family is not currently an option for these children.
As someone with a heart for orphaned and abandoned children, please consider what you can do for the children in North Korea. A gift of $50 or more would help us deliver critically needed items, such as warm clothing and nourishing food, to the children we serve — sharing the many blessings of the season with those who have so few.
Please click the video above to view a special message from Holt President Emeritus Dr. David Kim, who worked alongside Harry Holt caring for children in South Korea following the war. In more recent years, he has also witnessed the needs of children in North Korea.