Help Make Tilly and Jaxson’s Sweet Wishes Come True

Holt adoptive parents Ed and Sandy Kolb recently traveled on Holt’s China ambassador trip to advocate for older children living in an orphanage in Beijing. Below, they share about the two children who they spent the week getting to know — Tilly and Jaxson — and the indelible mark they left on their hearts. Please read and share this blog on social media and in your community to help find the loving families Tilly and Jaxson have been waiting for!

T and JIt was with great excitement that my husband, Ed, and I joined our fellow ambassadors for Holt’s first such trip to help advocate for older children living in one of Beijing’s largest orphanages.

We are the Kolbs, parents to ten — seven who were born into our hearts through adoption.  Although our adoption days are over, when asked to be a part of the Holt Ambassador Program, we jumped at the opportunity!

We were assigned an 11-year-old boy, Jaxson, and an 8-year-old girl, Tilly, to get to know while in China and then advocate for once home. Both are on Holt’s waiting child photolisting, so we were able to see their pictures beforehand.  We learned that they were each in wheelchairs and a little about their special needs. Jaxson is diagnosed with scoliosis and hip dysplasia and can stand for short periods of time.  Tilley has a diagnosis of Spina bifida. Continue reading “Help Make Tilly and Jaxson’s Sweet Wishes Come True”

Advocating for Phillip

In a previous post, Holt advocate Shila Henderson described her experience on Holt’s recent ambassador trip to Beijing, how the trip changed her and what it was like to spend time in China with children who are waiting for families. Here, she recounts her last day with the children and advocates for Phillip — a little boy who desperately wants and needs a family.

IMG_0786Our trip to Beijing was full of emotion from day one. The last day was especially memorable. It was the “goodbye party” where we said a farewell to the kids. When I woke up that morning I knew it would be hard, especially with “Phillip.” We had spent four days with 9-year-old Phillip and he had asked us many times if we would find him a mother. He had even said he would take any mother, even a “white-haired grandma-mom.” I both laughed and cried when he told me that. Phillip is intelligent, loving, outgoing, kind, easy-going and sweet. He loves to sing and is full of joy. He enjoys taking things apart to see how they work and I imagine him as a future Lego maniac. Phillip has vision challenges, which make him appear cross-eyed, but he can navigate well. A highly respected pediatric eye surgeon also viewed photos and videos of Phillip and he believes Phillip’s condition can very likely be corrected with surgery and glasses.

Continue reading “Advocating for Phillip”

These Older Children in China Are Waiting for Families

This past November, a 10-member Holt ambassador team traveled to meet a group of older children in a care center in Beijing, China — all of whom have Special Blessings grants to go toward the cost of their adoptions! Will you help advocate for these children by reading and sharing their stories? They are all still waiting to be matched with the loving families they deserve.



Eleven-year-old Jaxson loves to play Chess, is good at Legos, likes airplanes and is talented in the arts. He likes to draw in great detail and make clay animals. Read what Jaxson’s ambassadors, Ed and Sandy, have to share about him!







Tilly squealed with delight when her ambassadors met her and she gave each them a big hug. Tilly also loved to play games, do puzzles and draw with them. Click here to read more of what Tilly’s ambassadors had to say about their time with her!







Clyde’s ambassador says she was so blessed to spend time in China with this delightful boy. Look at that wonderful smile! Every time she would see Clyde, he had that wonderful smile across his face. He brought joy and laughter to everyone he met. Read more about Clyde!

Continue reading “These Older Children in China Are Waiting for Families”

Bringing Christmas

This December, a team of Holt adoptive families, sponsors and supporters from all around the United States traveled on our annual Korea Gift Team to deliver special Christmas gifts to children in our partner’s care in South Korea. Holt Development Associate and Korean adoptee Courtney Young traveled on this year’s team, and below she shares about her experience and why it was so meaningful.

Courtney, as Mrs. Claus, gets ready to hand out gifts to children at the care center.

If Christmas spirit is contagious, then I must catch it every year the day after Thanksgiving. It is my favorite holiday! I love the twinkling lights, the trees, the hope for snow and baking up a storm to give holiday treats to all of my friends and family. I’m like a real-life Buddy the Elf.

This year was extra special because I got to travel with a team of wonderful people on the Holt Christmas Gift Team to Korea.

During the trip, we traveled south of Seoul to visit the Jeonju Babies Home and then to Daejeon to visit the Holt Morning Garden Mother and Child Shelter. While the whole trip was indescribably life changing, there were a couple of days that were particularly special. The first of these days was at the Jeonju Babies Home.

Continue reading “Bringing Christmas”

Brothers In Search of a Family

Vo Tu Lap + Vo Ngoc Son

UPDATE: As of April 2016, these brothers will be staying together in a loving, permanent family! 

You may have seen this dynamic brother duo in our post about adopting and parenting sibling sets. Spencer and Leo are still in search of a permanent, loving family. Please help us in spreading the word about them! 

Spencer and Leo started living in an orphanage just three years ago when their mother and grandmother were no longer able to care for them. Their father died from AIDS and their mother was very sick with HIV. Both of the boys are HIV-negative, and while they continue to grieve the loss of their birth family, they have gradually become more and more happy and involved in their care center.

These boys are not only brothers, but also best friends and teammates who would be a wonderful addition to any family.

Continue reading “Brothers In Search of a Family”

How Nutrition Changes Lives

Holt International’s Child Nutrition Program has seen amazing success since it began 3 years ago in India, China and Vietnam. But even more amazing are the stories of individual children whose lives and health have dramatically changed with better nutrition and feeding methods. 

Ajay* is a sweet young boy whose potential and personality were long unrealized. He lives in a care center in Pune, India and has cerebral palsy in addition to other physical and mental disabilities. He is almost 4 years old, but appears small and skinny for his age — a result of malnutrition. Ajay’s days are pretty uneventful: he lies in his crib and when he is fed, also while lying down, he is barely able to choke down his food.

Ayush with his care giver-2
Ajay, being fed by his caregiver.

But one day was different. On this day, he sat up in a chair for one of the first times ever. Although he can’t speak, the expression on his face and the light in his eyes seemed to clearly shout: “Hello world, here I am!”

Continue reading “How Nutrition Changes Lives”

The Top 10 Photos of 2015

We all love feel-good stories. At Holt, we are surrounded by miracles, triumphant underdog tales and inspiring success stories every day. But sometimes, the best stories aren’t told through words. Today, we look back at a few of our favorite stories of hope, love, family and incredible, life-changing impact — not told through words, but pictures. We’ve rounded up our top 10 favorite, most iconic photos of the year. It’s likely that if you’ve followed us on social media, checked out our website, started sponsoring a child, given a gift to help a child in need or started your adoption journey, you’ve seen at least one of these photos this year. Today, we share the stories behind the photos, and explain why these images exemplify Holt’s work and the incredible impact of Holt’s friends, families and supporters around the world. Enjoy!

Photo 10: Summer Camps

Every summer, Holt Adoptee Camp is both fun and inspirational for the kids and teens who attend. At four sleep-away camps across the country, adoptees spend a week hiking, swimming, playing games and enjoying evenings around a campfire with fellow transracial adoptees and adoptee counselors. This is a time and place for adoptees to just be themselves, surrounded by other people who share similar stories and family histories. Together, they explore identity, race and other adoptee-specific topics in an open, safe setting. Mostly, they have fun! In the photo below, 2015 camp director Chris McGinn — who will return to direct camps in 2016! — serves as jungle gym and friend to 9-year-old Adam Wachner during camp in Nebraska. In the background, 16-year-old Alec Zoz and 13-year-old Karl McGillvray sport Holt camp shirts specially designed by Holt camp counselors.

Photo 10 Continue reading “The Top 10 Photos of 2015”

Siblings Jac and Salina Need a Family!

Help find Jac and Salina the loving family they deserve… Share their story with family and friends on social media and in your community!

Jac & Salina NowJac is kind and loves to help others without being asked.

Salina is affectionate, responsible and polite.

Jac is imaginative, plays the flute and wants to be a car mechanic.

Salina is artistic and dreams of being a teacher.

These are some of the characteristics given to describe Jac and Salina — siblings a year and a half apart in age who live with a foster family in Southeast Asia. Jac and Salina came into the care of our local partner when they were very young — Salina at 2, and Jac at 10 months — and have grown up in the same foster family since 2007, when Jac was 2 and Salina was 3. Continue reading “Siblings Jac and Salina Need a Family!”

Rini’s Gift

Last December, Holt adoptive mom Andrea shared her family’s moving story about bringing home Rini — a little girl born in China with severe congenital heart disease — and the months-long struggle to save her life. One year later, Andrea shares an update about her daughter Rini and the incredible gift that she has given their family in their short time together as a family.

Rini and BunnyOn November 13, 2015, we celebrated the two-year anniversary of our youngest child’s heart transplant. And just a couple of weeks later, the day arrived when she had officially been living longer with her donor’s heart than with her birth heart.

It’s sacred and surreal to listen to your child’s heart beating and know that another mother heard that same heartbeat emanating from her body during her obstetrical appointments. We are the beneficiaries of another family’s selfless gift given during their time of deepest grief, and the parallels to adoption are not lost on us. Loss, gain, pain and joy coexist in a complex dance in this life. We appreciate that now more than ever.

Rini is doing beautifully and we are doing our utmost to drink in every moment! Sometimes, the darkness creeps in when we read statistics and ponder the reality of transplant and its long-term outlook. But then we take a deep breath and refocus on the here and now, and remember the days not too long ago when we would have been overjoyed to have just one more hour with Rini. Continue reading “Rini’s Gift”

Happy, Healthy and Dry

Six-year-old Sokha and his family live in the most impoverished region of Cambodia where many families are forced to migrate or make their children work to earn extra income. But now, with help from Holt and the Child and Life Association, they have hope. Equipped with resources, education and support, Sokha and his family can now escape poverty and transform their future.

When it rains in rural Cambodia, 6-year-old Sokha* and his family have little hope of staying dry. The wind and water easily make it through the palm leaf walls and deteriorating steel roof of their small home. They do their best to dodge the drips and drops, but eventually end up drenched.

Continue reading “Happy, Healthy and Dry”