A Foster Mother Advocates for Tallia

 May is National Foster Care Month — a month dedicated to those who selflessly dedicate their time, energy and love to orphaned and abandoned children.

Wen Hua Ying 20141102-002We recently received a letter from *Tai, a foster mother in China who is currently caring for an 11-year-old girl named *Tallia.  Tai is desperate to find her beloved foster daughter a loving, permanent family.  “We are currently fostering one of the girls on your waiting child photolisting.  The girl you call “Tallia,” Tai writes in her letter.  “I would love to help advocate for her!”

Tallia was abandoned by her birth family and came into care when she was about four years old. Her legs are very thin and bowed, and recent tests show that she may have skeletal tuberculosis. Tallia can walk, but not easily, and her gait is abnormal. Tallia likes helping with the younger children and is said to be an active girl with a ready smile.  “When I heard the news that I could be adopted by a family, I was very happy,” Tallia recently wrote.  Last January, Tallia was told that a family was coming for her. This, unfortunately, did not work out.  “It was upsetting to Tallia,” Tai says. “She still doesn’t have a family.”

If not matched with a family soon, Tallia will have to return to the orphanage, something that Tai wants to try and prevent. “I have a video (below) and pictures of Tallia,” Tai says. “Please watch it and help advocate for her. Thank you so much for your help!”

In honor of this special month, please help fulfill Tai’s wish for her foster daughter by helping to advocate for her on your social media pages.  Tai needs to know the love of a permanent family!

If you are interested in learning more about Tallia, please contact Jessica Zeeb at jessicaz@holtinternational.org

*names changed

 

 

 

 

Holt’s India Program Needs Families!

Holt’s India program is currently at risk of having more children in need of families than families to match them with!

Because of Holt’s long history and extensive programs serving Indian children, we have a strong and long-lasting relationship with many legacy partner agencies in India. We also have worked with India’s central adoption authority since its inception, and are uniquely qualified to assist with international adoption in this country.

We are currently looking for families who are open to children 6 years of age and older, and/or children with moderate to major special needs — conditions like vision and hearing impairment, cerebral palsy and multiple developmental delays.

Holt’s India program is accepting applications from:Holden09

Families who are open to adopting an older child or child with moderate to major special needs.

Non-Resident Indians — A non-resident Indian is an individual with a current Indian passport who has not acquired foreign citizenship, but whose spouse has U.S. citizenship.

Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) — An OCI is a former non-resident Indian who holds an Indian OCI document. OCIs can accept a child up to and including 4 years old. These families may apply with the understanding that domestic and NRI applicants currently take precedence.

For more information about eligibility guidelines or if you have additional questions about adopting from India, please contact Mary Ferrell at maryf@holtinternational.org.

Featured Waiting Child

While in South Asia last month, Robin Munro, Holt’s managing editor, met Anna. We have advocated for Anna in the past, but have yet to match her with a family. Read about Anna below

We have blurred Anna’s face to comply with guidelines int he countries we partner with.  To view more photos, please contact Kristen Henry at kristenh@holtinternational.org

Anna is a bright spark of energy in a sparkly red dress. We met her last month while visiting one of our partners in South Asia. Toward the end of the day, she came bounding upstairs to the office before leaving daycare to go home to her foster family. Very at ease among the staff, she leaned confidently on a desk as she shared a vivid story about a tiger and an elephant — a story she dreamed up herself. She animated the narrative with boisterous kicks in the air, and positively beamed when her audience laughed.

 

Anna_1“God taught me how to tell stories,” she says, smiling, as we marvel at her precocious talent for storytelling. A confident, charming and self-possessed girl, it’s hard to believe that an adoptive family has yet to scoop up Anna.

Abandoned at birth, Anna has lived in care ever since. Today, she is 6 years old. Although we have advocated for her in the past, we have yet to find the right loving family for her.

Anna has delayed growth and was born with micrognathia, also known as Pierre Robin syndrome — a condition distinguished by a smaller-than-normal lower jaw. She has already received one surgery and will need additional surgeries. Although she has been slow to gain weight, Anna has otherwise recovered very well from her first surgery and walks and runs with ease.

As became abundantly clear during our interaction with her, Anna’s special needs are mostly physical. She is very intelligent and her speech has greatly improved with regular speech and language therapy. She speaks many words and responds beautifully well to her caregivers.

In school, Anna likes to be the leader and loves to help other children. She loves to color, draw, sing, dance and participate in activities. She also has an eye for fashion and loves to dress up in fancy clothes with matching accessories. Anna has bonded very well with her foster family, from whom she has learned how to love, and be loved, and to thrive in a family environment.

Anna needs a family who is comfortable with the unknowns regarding her special needs and has the resources to provide any medical care she will need once home.

For eligibility requirements and to learn more about Anna, please contact Kristen Henry at kristenh@holtinternational.org. While we hope you will advocate for Anna among family and friends, please do not share her story online. Thank You!

* name changed

 

A letter to sponsors from China!

Dear Sponsors,

Today is the Chinese Lunar New Year and all of my family members are gathering together for a family reunion. On this most important holiday in China, I can’t help but think about you and the children who benefit from your sponsorship.

Because of you, in 2014, a total of 304 children from Longchuan, Yunnan province were able to stay in school — their daily nutrition guaranteed. Because of you, none of these children had to worry about the cost of school supplies, health insurance, immunizations or school uniforms. Because of your sponsorship, they didn’t have to face the risk of leaving school due to the extra cost. As part of Holt’s family strengthening program, the elementary students who attend boarding school in Yunnan were also able to go home for a family reunion on Chinese holidays and school breaks. Without your sponsorship, they could not afford the round-trip fare home. I still remember a time when I visited the school and saw one girl crying very hard because all her classmates were able to go home for the holiday to visit their parents, but she wasn’t sure if her grandmother would show up to take her home.

This Chinese New Year, she could visit her family with the help of her sponsors!China-2 Continue reading “A letter to sponsors from China!”

You can’t predict the future … but you can prepare for it

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As I’m sure you’ve seen on the news, Nepal was hit by a massive earthquake in April, causing buildings to collapse and killing thousands of innocent men, women and children.

We are always heartbroken when already vulnerable families are forced to endure the life-changing devastation from natural disasters, and even more heartbroken when they are forced to wait in the rubble for aid to arrive.

We were similarly distraught when Haiti was hit by a catastrophic earthquake five years ago. And again when typhoons destroyed homes and childcare centers in the Philippines in 2013. And when food shortages and drought kill thousands in Ethiopia.

Sadly, we can’t anticipate every natural disaster, but we can create solutions that help us act fast in the face of the unpredictable.

When you give a gift to our crisis response fund through Gifts of Hope, you help deliver critical aid — like food, water, medicine and temporary shelter — to families, care centers and programs for children following a natural disaster.

Give

By having a pool of funds ready, we are able to act faster and more efficiently, saving lives and keeping families together.

Just like in Haiti and the Philippines, Holt will always remain in the wake of devastation to help rebuild. But with your help, we can be prepared to act immediately — because no child should have to wait for food and water to arrive.

We thank you for your love and compassion. Consider giving a gift today.

The Same Opportunities for Every Child

What is the difference between a child with special needs and a child without them?

Hint: it’s not the special need.

It’s the access “normal” children have to certain opportunities.

For example, the difference between a child who is deaf and one who is not, isn’t the ability to hear. The difference is how easily both of those children can learn a lesson in school. Or make friends. Or communicate with their family.

If, for instance, a teacher can give a lesson both audibly and in sign language, then both children can easily and equally learn the same lesson. In that instance, there are no differences between them.

Check out this video to learn how people like you helped our dear friend Jordan Love have access to all the opportunities he needed to live a full, independent life — and dedicate his time to advocating for children with special needs.

With the love and support of the staff at the Ilsan Center for children with special needs — as well as his sponsors and later his family — Jordan had every opportunity to achieve his dreams. But for many children with special needs, the playing field is anything but level.

Where Holt works in Shinshicho, Ethiopia, the rate of deafness is abnormally high, and no one is sure why. Disabilities are heavily stigmatized, and children with special needs are often hidden away. Very few people speak sign language, and when Holt began working in the region in 2010, there were no schools for deaf children.

Here, the difference between a child born deaf and a child who can hear is access to medical care, the opportunity to communicate, and the hope of a bright future and quality education.

Those are major differences.

But, they are all things that can be fixed … with resources.

So, with the help of people like you and your donations to the Molly Holt Fund for Children With Special Needs, we built the first school for the deaf in Shinshicho and over 400 deaf children attend classes each year.

Now, deaf children can access the same quality education as children who can hear. The school also helped educate the community about deafness, and the children in attendance are able to make friends and feel embraced by their community more easily. Nearby, a hospital project (also started by people like you) will soon research why deafness may be higher in this particular region. Perhaps someday, we can find a cause and a cure.

This is a simplified example of how people like you and I can serve children with special needs in a meaningful way. Children with special needs don’t need special treatment. They just need the same opportunities as every other child.

With a gift to the Molly Holt Fund, you provide those opportunities.

Today, help a child with special needs receive the resources he or she needs by giving a gift to the Molly Holt Fund! And learn more about who this special fund helps, and what your gift will accomplish.

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Nigel’s Turn

Recently, Jessica Zeeb — Holt’s child match coordinator for the China program — met Nigel,*  a boy who has just two years to find a family before he becomes ineligible for international adoption. Below, she shares about their visit, what impressed her about Nigel and why it’s Nigel’s turn to join a loving family. Please share his story!

Born January 16, 2003, China

Nigel in Captain Hat“Who are some of your favorite friends?”

The little girl I am interviewing smiles as she names several other children her age. Then she pauses for a moment, and her face breaks into a huge grin. “And Big Brother Nigel!” she finishes with a flourish, gesturing toward the 12-year-old boy sitting quietly to my left. Nigel smiles back at her and then lowers his gaze to the floor, perhaps a little embarrassed by all the attention. She is not the first child who has named him as one of their favorite friends.

At 12 years old, Nigel is one of the oldest children in the orphanage, and he has lived here all his life. He is a role model and big brother figure to many of the other children, and it’s hard to imagine a boy better suited to this role. Steady and kind, Nigel gets good grades at the public school he attends and cooperates well with his caregivers, teachers and friends. Continue reading “Nigel’s Turn”

Love Has Healed

Not every child with special needs requires very involved, lifelong care — or even medical treatment. Some children just need minor interventions such as therapy for developmental delays, as Yesenia and Nick Lenga learned when applying to adopt Xiu Xiu from China. While in care at Holt’s medical foster home in Beijing, Xiu Xiu — now Mya – overcame her delays and is now thriving in the loving care of her family.

Xiu Xiu was found abandoned on the doorsteps of an orphanage in China at just a few hours old. Months after her arrival, Holt matched Xiu Xiu with the Lenga family, who knew that she might have severe developmental and physical delays.  “She had extremely low muscle tone,” says Xiu Xiu’s mom, Yesenia.  “Originally the doctors thought she might have rickets.”  While not in one of Holt’s care centers, Holt determined that it would be best to send Xiu Xiu to the Peace House, our medical foster home in Beijing.   Here, Xiu Xiu would receive therapy as well as the care of devoted Peace House caregivers.

image Continue reading “Love Has Healed”

Honoring Holt Foster Families; A Photo Essay

Ms.Das
Christina has cared for 25 children in eight years as a BSSK foster mom in India. She is currently caring for a child with mild hearing loss in one ear, which Christina was able to identify because of her constant and attentive care. The child now uses a hearing aid.

The love a parent feels for their child is a fierce kind of love. It is selfless and unconditional. It is powerful. It is permanent. A foster parent’s love is no different. When a foster parent commits to care for a child, they also commit to love that child as their own. And inevitably, they do. The only difference is that while their love is permanent, they know their time with that child will be temporary. They let their hearts break over and over again — a sacrifice they make so that an orphaned or abandoned child will know what it feels like to be loved in that vulnerable time when they are without their family. For the children in their care, they are true guardian angels.

This month, during National Foster Care Month, we wish to honor the extraordinary foster families who love and care for the children in our programs around the world while they wait to rejoin their birth families or join an adoptive family. From China, Korea and India to the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, foster mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters provide the nurturing, attentive care that children need at every stage of their development — but especially in the critical first few years of life. In foster care, children bond naturally and deeply with their foster mother, which can be difficult to do with multiple caregivers. And because of this bond, the children more easily bond with their adoptive families. Just like any parents, foster mothers also see what others don’t. They notice potential health issues that busy orphanage caregivers may not notice right away. Foster families engage and stimulate the developing minds of children. Most of all, they love them.

Below, we share photos of foster parents and children in a few of our programs overseas. Some have cared for just a few children. Others have cared for 100 or more. But they never forget them. Not a single one.

_DSC2348 Continue reading “Honoring Holt Foster Families; A Photo Essay”

To Seek, But Not Find

Holt adoptee and staff member Emily Greene Thornton shares how even an inconclusive search for her birth family has helped her become more true to herself.

On my 25th birthday, I was in the middle of an identity crisis. It was at that juncture when I finally began to ask myself what adoption really meant to me deep in my soul. I felt as though it was time to face my reality and maybe, just maybe, it was time to find some answers.

Emily Recent
Emily in what is, to her, the happiest place on earth: the Oregon Coast.

Continue reading “To Seek, But Not Find”

A Blog from the Philippines!

Susan Voss-Rothmeier, a former Holt social worker and adoptive parent, recently returned from the Philippines with three other Holt advocates.  While on this special Philippines Ambassador trip, the group bonded with 14 older children who are in need of families.  Today, Susan and the rest of the group are back in the United States, and ready to find these children loving homes!

Below, Susan shares a blog post from her first day in the Philippines:

Philippines ambassador

ManilaThe Philippines Ambassador program is well underway. We arrived Saturday night after a long flight and settled into Manila amid the heat and periodic rain.  Then, on Monday, we met six children, ages 10 to 14, at the KBF office, Holt’s partner organization.  Initially reticent and shy as we engaged them in a painting project, the children eventually began to open themselves up to us over the course of the afternoon.  Their personalities fully emerged, however, after we all traveled to a resort outside Manila to spend two days and loads of free time in a range of activities — swimming, biking, craft-making, and games.  Their shy faces gradually turned to smiles and then laughter.  The pool proved to be a huge success, as even the most hesitant ones let their guards down amid the horseplay and games of tag and catch.

Some of the children are sweet in nature, while others are jokesters, ready to ham it up.  Whatever their personalities, they’ve all managed to weave their way into our hearts.  They are so ready to be loved and they soak up any attention we offer.  Their coy smiles, and the way they grab our hands amid our jokes and teasing, demonstrates their hunger for connection.  Although they speak little English, and most of us know almost no Tagalog, it’s amazing how much we can still communicate.  They are eager to know about us and want us to know who they are.  They are so deserving of families of their own and our commitment to finding them homes grows stronger with each moment we spend with them.

It’s an intense, but enriching week for us, but we feel energized with the task at hand.  We appreciate the opportunity God has given us to know these children.

Susan Voss-Rothmeier | Portland, Oregon