An Update on Molly Holt

A special church service with the Ilsan residents.

Bob Bowen, Holt’s vice president of marketing and donor relations, is currently traveling back from a trip to South Korea and Vietnam.  While in Seoul, Bob and other Holt International staff members visited Molly Holt at the Ilsan Center.  His first trip to the country where Holt’s history began, Bob came away with a new perspective of Holt’s mission, and was inspired by Molly’s powerful love for the children and other residents at Ilsan.

As a first timer to Holt-Korea at Ilsan, a “normal” visit would have been such a great experience, but God had something much more in mind for us on Sunday. We arrived at Molly Holt’s home before 10 AM and were greeted by Dr Cho, Molly ‘s faithful personal care physician and close friend. Molly was so engaged and attentive. She told us that we had arrived on a very special day. Multiple church groups from the area would be sharing in one large church service at Ilsan, and the Ilsan choir would be performing. During the service, Molly translated for us. Later, we were treated to a real church BBQ potluck. With over 300 people, including the Ilsan residents and staff, it was a big celebration. What a special time to be with Molly.

Our tour of Ilsan was guided by Matt and Joelyn, a couple from Federal Way, Washington completing their two month volunteer activities. What an amazing and professional couple. Joelyn, an adoptee, came to meet her birth family after a heritage tour back in 2011.

Bob presents Molly with a card signed by Holt International staff in Eugene, Oregon.

Molly really enjoyed having Robin Munro, Holt’s managing editor, by her side, sharing stories and her vision for the future of Ilsan. And Molly agreed to be my very first guest on “Holt TV,” our new effort to communicate monthly about Holt. More to come on that.

Molly shared with us all afternoon. She was animated and full of energy. Dr. Cho was even amazed at her energy.  The day ended with prayers, hugs and photos, and my last words to Molly were that we would all continue to pray for her and for Ilsan, and mostly that we would continue to serve as a message of God ‘s great love for children.

Molly reminds us all that her “Daddy,” Harry Holt, was a man of great vision and calling. Walking the grounds at Ilsan, I now understand God’s calling on Harry, Bertha, and now Molly’s, life. Their commitment and determination over many years has left a lasting legacy of such great faith, hope and love.

Being with Molly and Dr Cho, seeing the many wonderful Ilsan residents and meeting the Holt-Korea staff has helped me to understand my role and place in this legacy of service.

May God continue to bless Molly and Ilsan.

Blessings from Seoul , South Korea

Bob Bowen

Vice President of Marketing and Donor Relations

Nutrition appeal

Every year, nearly 10.9 million children under the age of 5 die from preventable causes — nearly 60 percent are from malnutrition. Malnutrition and hunger-related disease takes more lives than tuberculosis, AIDs and malaria combined. In orphanage care, nearly 85 percent of children have significant nutrition and health-related problems.

Even for children who survive malnutrition, illnesses like anemia — which some experts estimate affects more than half of children in orphan care — can have very serious consequences for a growing child.

Anemia is usually caused by a lack of iron — a mineral critical to brain development. Brain development in children under 5 is extremely accelerated, so an iron deficiency can tremendously impact long-term cognitive and emotional growth. Studies of anemic children have shown that they have lower IQs and perform more poorly in school. Iron is also very important in disease prevention and immunity. Those who are iron-deficient tend to get sick more easily and for longer periods of time.

Today, thanks to a four-year grant from a private foundation, Holt and our partner agency SPOON Foundation are combating malnutrition head on by training caregivers on improved feeding techniques, treating and monitoring children who show signs of hunger-related illness, and fighting against the leading causes of malnutrition.

At a care center in India, one of Holt’s pilot sites, the prevalence of anemia in children dropped from 45 percent to nine percent in just six months of working with SPOON.

Watch the video below to learn more about how Holt is eliminating nutrition-related issues in children through our partnership with SPOON. Or, read more about our work with SPOON here.

Then, please offer your support! We are in a tremendous position to impact the lives of thousands of children in our care, but we need your help. Give a gift to help vulnerable children have the chance to flourish.

Holt International and SPOON Foundation in India from Holt International on Vimeo.

Who are Holt’s sponsored children?

In Holt’s nearly 60-year history, we’ve had the opportunity to impact the lives of hundreds of thousand of children and families. Historically, most of these children were adopted into loving families — and from that history came Holt’s legacy as an adoption agency. While this is totally true, many people are surprised to learn that very few of the children in Holt’s growing sponsorship program are on a track to join an adoptive family overseas. For every child who is adopted in the U.S. in order to join a loving family, Holt helps thousands more children stay or reunite with their birth families, or join an adoptive family in their country of birth — helping to achieve Holt’s mission of finding families for children.

So, who are Holt’s sponsored children?

Let’s break it down: Continue reading “Who are Holt’s sponsored children?”

Children in China Need Families!

The group of travelers with the new Journey of Hope project tour gather for a welcome photo.

Earlier this month, the Chinese government invited Holt to participate in a new Journey of Hope project, which has expanded for the first time to the Guangxi province. Journey of Hope is a special adoption home-finding program in China that aims to find families for children who have been looked over, typically due to their age or special needs. Continue reading “Children in China Need Families!”

Shinshicho Hospital Update (Photos), Spring 2014

The hospital is really taking form! Check out the progress to the surgical wings, patient wards and outside appearance of the building. When this hospital opens in summer 2014, more than 250,000 people will have access to advanced healthcare for the first time!


At the end of March, more than two tons of medical equipment arrived at the Holt-funded maternal and child hospital in Shinshicho Continue reading “Shinshicho Hospital Update (Photos), Spring 2014”

This Sweet Sibling Group of Three Needs a Family!

Mae, Jake and Noah — Date of Birth:  11/00, 06/02, 11/04

*In accordance with child safety laws in the Philippines, we can only show pictures of Mae, Jake and Noah with other children.  For more information about this sibling group, contact Jessica Palmer at

This beautiful sibling group of three is waiting for a family who is ready to open their hearts to them. They are polite, sweet and healthy older children. 13-year-old Mae is described as dependable and caring.  She faithfully attends her classes and finishes her homework on time. She loves taking photos. Mae is also a caring older sister to her two younger brothers, Jake and Noah. She reportedly is on target developmentally and relates well with her peers in the care center. In the future, she wants to be a teacher or a nun so that she can help others. Jake is 11 and a half. He is a nurturing older brother who is shy and athletic and makes friends easily. He recently started attending the private school where his two siblings attend. His favorite subjects are social studies and crafts. Noah, 9,  is very athletic and performs well in school. He excels at math. This sibling group’s birthmother died in 2006. They experienced a traumatic time with their birth father until he was imprisoned and they began living with an older sibling, who relinquished them in 2011. The birth family hopes that these children will be successful in life once with their new family. An experienced adoptive family who can help these children heal from past traumas is needed. Their adoptive family should also have a good understanding of older child and sibling group adoption and prepare any children currently in the home well for the transition.

Single or married applicants accepted. * See country criteria for complete requirements, often flexible for waiting children


 Below is a blog written by Holt adoptive parent Elizabeth Occiphinti about Mae, Jake and Noah. Elizabeth traveled to the Philippines late last year on Holt’s third annual Philippines Ambassador trip. While there, Elizabeth and the group bonded with 13 children, then returned to the U.S. to help the children find their forever families.  

by Elizabeth Occiphinti

With the storm bearing down on the Philippines, my only solace is to continue to tell my impressions of the 13 wonderful children I met while visiting the programs there, in hopes that together we can find them forever families!

Siblings Mae, Jake, and Noah are absolutely lovely children. The oldest, Mae, is a beautiful girl. She was ill for the beginning of my trip, so I had little opportunity to observe her. She toured facilities with the other half of the team and joined us for a party at the end of our time together. I observed her during that time to be gentle-spirited. She loves photography and taking pictures. She is caring, quiet and lovely.

I also spent time with Mae’s brothers, Jake and Noah, over the course of the week. They were incredibly athletic and personable. I spent over an hour retrieving a ball they would toss to me in the pool – I am sure they thought it was quite funny to throw it over my head and watch me swim to grab it! Both boys are engaging, personable and handsome. I can still hear Jake calling after his brother; every time we would gather ourselves up to leave or head for a meal, Jake would call Noah and look out for him. Both boys are very polite. The older was brave enough to tackle a 5-story zip-line. Inquisitive, engaging and able to speak English, this sibling group would make a terrific addition to a family.

For more information on Mae, Jake and Noah, contact Jessica Palmer at 


A Difficult and Brave Decision

In the spring issue of Holt International Magazine, staff writer Billie Loewen wrote an article about the unwed mothers’ shelters Holt supports in South Korea. Over the past few days, I had the opportunity to meet a couple of the women who stayed at one of these shelters and who ultimately chose to parent their children. I also got to see where they go after they leave the shelter and start their lives as independent young single mothers in a culture whose disapproving attitudes toward unwed motherhood make life extremely difficult for them.

Continue reading “A Difficult and Brave Decision”

Because Children Don’t Come with a Rulebook

As all new and veteran parents know, children don’t come with rulebooks. There is no universal guide for parents — only tips, techniques and advice passed down through generations or published based on new science or shared experiences. The Internet brought a new trove of parenting information — blogs and support forums, stories and photos, and platforms to celebrate special moments with the rest of the Google-sphere. Still, parenting can feel at times overwhelmingly difficult. Undoubtedly, at some point, all parents will face challenges they never imagined. For parents of adopted children, it can be more difficult to find support systems, information and advice tailored to the specific needs of an adoptive family. What works for a biological child may be the exact opposite of what will help an adopted child. So, who can adoptive parents turn to for sound advice and information when parenting feels hard?

Holt’s clinical services director, Abbie Smith, and her team of therapists can help. Continue reading “Because Children Don’t Come with a Rulebook”

No Legs, No Limits

Kanya Sesser, a 21-year-old Holt adoptee from Thailand, skateboards, skis, races, models and surfs. She’s also a college student studying fashion marketing, and she hopes to join the Billabong surf team soon. Born without legs, Kanya has become an inspiration to friends and fans around the world with her motto “No legs, no limits.” 
Continue reading “No Legs, No Limits”