A Letter From a Thankful SNAF Family

“We’re so grateful to those who give for the significant role they’ve played in our lives and many others in making adoptions possible,” writes the Kratzer family, who brought their daughter Madelyn home from China in 2010 with help from a Special Needs Adoption Fund (SNAF) grant.

Dear SNAF donors,

We are the Kratzer family, and we were called by God to adopt our daughter, Madelyn, from China in October of 2010. Born with special needs, Madelyn was found at just two weeks old under a bridge in Xiamen. She is now 4 years old.

Our adoption journey has been one of great faith, and the sure presence of God. Adoption presents a lot of unknowns and uncertainties.  From the challenges of paying the financial costs, and the enormous amount of paperwork, to the disappointment of experiencing a lack of support from a few, to the joy of experiencing support from many we did not expect, this has been an amazing journey.

Madelyn, photographed here while still in care, found her family with the help of a Special Needs Adoption Fund grant.

 

Madelyn is a beautiful, smart, fearless, and loving daughter. Our transition has gone so very smooth. She has seen us as her family from the moment we met her. By God’s design, this is in fact how God had always seen it. A perfect fit. Within 5 minutes of meeting us, she was signing, “Sha Mamma, Sha Babba, Sha Buggu, Sha Jiejie,” which means, “My mother, my father, my sister, my brother.”

In fact, even the workers from the orphanage who oversaw her foster care, who have known her since a baby, were not able to coax her out of her mother’s arms just twelve hours after we met. A powerful moment for sure!

We are so grateful to the SNAF donors for the significant role they have played in our lives and many others in making our adoption possible. Madelyn sings, “Jesus loves me” in mandarin with her own lyric, “it is good to worship Jesus” mixed in. I pray you feel the joy in your heart and the significance of your generosity in the Gospel of adoption. Madelyn thanks you, we thank you, and the Kingdom of God is built from the deep commitment and generosity of faithful individuals and organizations such as yours.

May God richly bless you as you have blessed us.

Blessings,

The Kratzer Family

 Help families like Madelyn’s bring home the child who is waiting for them.  Provide a SNAF grant today.

Seeing My Daughter Again for the First Time

When Greg Rausch attended a Winter Jam 2014 concert in Cincinnati, he was surprised to see photos of his daughter with members of the Christian band NewSong on wall-length banners plastered around the arena. The photos were taken when NewSong visited his daughter’s care center in India, before she came home to the Rausch family. Below, Greg shares what it was like to see photos of his daughter from before they were a family.

Greg stands in front of the Holt banner with his son at a Winter Jam concert in Ohio. Greg’s daughter, a Holt adoptee from India, is featured on the banner with NewSong band member Matt Butler, which came as a surprise to Greg.

 

“That kind of looks like your daughter, Mr. Rausch.”

“What?” I asked, perplexed by this random and seemingly nonsensical statement from Daniel, a boy in our youth group. “Where?”

“Up there,” Daniel said while pointing back over my shoulder at something up in the air. Continue reading “Seeing My Daughter Again for the First Time”

A Changing Tide

Through services provided by Holt Sahathai Foundation, Holt’s partner agency in Thailand, a fisherman is able to provide for his family.

Nadej casts his fishing net out into the murky, green water of the Pak Phanang River in the Nakhon si Thammarat district of southern Thailand. On this day, like many others before it, his catch will not yield the income needed to provide for his wife and four young daughters. The family’s home is in disrepair. They don’t have enough to eat, or enough funds to send their daughters to school.

Desperate, Nadej casts his net out once more, hoping for assistance. Praying for an answer.

And then, a helping hand…

The Pakphanang Municipality referred Nadej’s family to Holt Sahathai Foundation (HSF), Holt’s partner agency in Thailand. Through an initial assessment, an HSF social worker discovered the family’s critical state. Caring for the family’s youngest daughter as well as her ill parents, Nadej’s wife, Lawan, was unable to help with the family’s income. Eight individuals lived in a small, dilapidated house with no windows. The four daughters were never taught proper health and hygiene practices. The eldest daughter, 14-year-old Tang, suffered from tooth decay, severely dry skin and lice. Nadej and his wife encouraged the children’s education, but also needed help with household duties. The children rarely attended school. The family lacked in many areas, the HSF social worker observed. What they weren’t lacking in, noted the social worker, was love.

Lawan with her four daughters.

“The family members love and care for each other deeply,” read the HSF family report. “The children try to help the parents reduce their burden. The parents love and accept their daughter who has special needs, always encouraging her.”

Continue reading “A Changing Tide”

Embracing Sponsorship

Susie Doig, Holt’s senior director of adoption services, recently wrote a short testimonial to our branch offices, encouraging the adoption staff to embrace and promote Holt’s child sponsorship program — and maybe even sponsor a child themselves. With a continual decline in international adoption across the globe, child sponsorship is one of the strongest and fastest-growing ways Holt can ensure that children in our programs remain with their birth families and receive the vital, life-saving support they need.

Child sponsorship. It’s nice. I’m glad we do it. But it doesn’t really affect me, because I work in adoptions. My focus is to spread the word about the need for adoptive families, and help families get the support and assistance they need to successfully complete their adoption process.

Back when adoption fees made up the majority of Holt’s revenue, focusing on fundraising efforts like child sponsorship felt like an elective to me. It was something that, if I had extra time, I would learn a little about it, or maybe mention it to a friend, but for the most part I kept my blinders on and my head down — focused on serving adoptive families.

The Doig family. Susie and her husband adopted two children from Thailand.

Continue reading “Embracing Sponsorship”

Beyond Blessed

Adoptive parents Chad and Becky Hinze share their experience adopting 12-year-old Paolo Miguel just days after Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philipinnes, and bringing him home to join their family. Paulo joined his family through the Philippines Ambassador Program.

How many people can say that flying into the Philippines just five hours before the most horrific storm in history hit — and living in an orphanage for the five days after — was the absolute best experience of their lives?

We can!

Continue reading “Beyond Blessed”

Thank You for a Wonderful Day In Our Children’s Lives

A photo essay and update on last year’s sponsor-funded International Day of the Child celebrations for children in Holt’s programs overseas.

Few things in life are as momentous as the birth of a child. When a child comes into our lives, we cheer and hug and pass around cigars — our faces wet with joyful tears. And every year after, we celebrate the anniversary of the day our child entered the world with parties and gifts and candlelit birthday cakes. Birthdays are more than a silly tradition. And however we celebrate them, the fact that we DO expresses to our children just how much we love them — and how grateful we are that they were born.

Every child deserves a birthday. Every child deserves to eat cake and open presents and have a whole day devoted to celebrating them.

But some children don’t have mothers and fathers and grandparents to throw them birthday parties. Others have loving families who wish they could do more on their children’s birthdays, but can barely afford to give them what they need every other day of the year.

That’s why, several years ago, Holt started a tradition of celebrating the birthdays of children in our programs overseas on June 1, the International Day of the Child. To fund these parties, Holt sponsors go above and beyond their normal monthly donation. They provide goodie bags with signed messages wishing their sponsored child a happy birthday, and give a little extra money for the celebrations. This year, donations from sponsors are also helping to provide a new pair of shoes for every child!

Below, we share photos from last year’s International Day of the Child celebrations in countries we serve around the world.

Click here to donate to this year’s birthday celebrations!

In Thailand, local staff used sponsor funds to fill goodie bags with stationary sets, sippy cups or cartoon-covered water bottles, chocolate bars and cookies. “HSF would like to convey our heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to Holt’s child sponsors for their generous donation,” writes the staff of Holt Sahathai Foundation, our partner in Thailand. “This special donation was very meaningful to needy children in our care!”

Continue reading “Thank You for a Wonderful Day In Our Children’s Lives”

Hector needs a family

Hector needs a family. Read and share his story!

Date of Birth: June 26, 2002, S.E. Asia

Eleven-year-old Hector smiles easily. Whether in school or meeting new people, a big grin spreads across his face as he chatters enthusiastically about his favorite things — traditional drums and singing, soccer and his favorite subject in school, science. The neighbors who live around Hector’s foster home watch Hector pedal his bike through the village with a seemingly permanent grin to match his cheery personality. Maybe Hector is riding his bike across the village to meet his friend, Scott, another pre-teen boy who, like Hector, spent much of his childhood waiting for a forever family. The two like to run and play, usually in bare feet with their jeans rolled up — Hector, the outgoing counterpart to Scott’s more reserved, artsy personality. Unlike Hector, though, Scott was recently matched with a permanent family in the United States.

Continue reading “Hector needs a family”

Growing Together

A story recently published in The Catholic Spirit, the official newspaper of the Diocese of Metuchen, features one Holt adoptive father who helped advocate for older children in the Philippines during last year’s Philippines Ambassador Program.

Growing Together

Couple advocate adoption after enriching experiences

By Chris Donahue

TEWKSBURY, N.J. — Last fall, Holt, a Christian-based international organization that facilitates adoption of children from 11 countries, needed help. Tony Formica was one individual who decided to become an ambassador for Holt, which had helped him become a father. Thirteen years earlier, the member of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Whitehouse Station, together with his wife, Caroline, had adopted his first child, Lia, through Holt. Then, through the organization, the Formicas adopted Joe, 11, Lucy, 7, and Anthony, 6 and on Jan. 18 they welcomed Maria.

All of the children were born in different cities or regions in China. The first three were adopted before their second birthday; Anthony was three and Maria, four.

Tony Formica and his wife, Caroline, sit with their children, from left, Anthony, Lia, Lucy and Joe in their home in Tewksbury, N.J. Another daughter was adopted by the family Jan. 18.

 

 

Continue reading “Growing Together”

Help Protect The Adoption Tax Credit!

From the North American Council on Adoptable Children:

We need your help! The Adoption Tax Credit Working Group (ATCWG) has set a goal of obtaining 30 co-sponsors on the Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Bills — S. 1056 and H.R. 2144 in 100 days.

Why the urgency? Tax discussions are underway in the House and Senate and we need to keep the adoption tax credit top-of-mind with legislators and staff. The best way to do that is to demonstrate to legislators that their constituents care about this issue. In addition, because refundability was not included in the bill that made the credit permanent, many adoptive families are still not able to receive this critical support, a fact which some Members of Congress may not yet be aware.

This week, we ask you to get educated on the adoption tax credit by visiting the Save The Adoption Tax Credit website, reading their FAQ section, and liking them on Facebook for frequent updates. Please also read the particular FAQ below.

Please also spread the word with your friends, colleagues and family who would want to join in the fight to protect the adoption tax credit. The more people who understand about the need to reform the adoption tax credit, the better our advocacy outcomes will be.

Highlighted FAQ

Continue reading “Help Protect The Adoption Tax Credit!”