Krista in Korea: A Letter to My Birth Mother

Korean and adoptedThis summer, Holt adoptee Krista Gause will travel on the Holt Heritage Tour to Korea. Before her departure, she writes an honest and heartfelt letter to her birth mother, sharing about her life and grieving the fact that it is too late for them to meet. 

Dear Mother,

My name is Krista, and I’m your daughter.

The adoption agency, Holt International, suggested that I write you a letter. I told them that I didn’t know what to say and they advised me to tell you about my life, explain my intentions, let you know that I’m okay and that I’m looking for you.

You last saw me on February 19, 1988 in Seoul, South Korea. You spent one day with me before you said goodbye. What you don’t know is that I was in foster care once you left and my foster mother, Mrs. Na, took good care of me. I was underweight and my crying was “vigorous.” But Mrs. Na and her family took such good care of me that after a few months I left their home and boarded a Korean Air flight to the United States. On June 8, 1988, four months after you said goodbye, I met my family. We met and fell in love at JFK Airport and every year we celebrate this day, my Airplane Day. Continue reading “Krista in Korea: A Letter to My Birth Mother”

China Now Offering Free Applications For Families Interested in Children on Photolisting

Kanallakan family

Have you viewed China’s online photolisting recently? Were you interested in learning more about a child, but the application fee stopped you from moving forward?

Well, we have good news!

Holt is now offering free applications for families who are seriously interested in a particular child on Holt’s China photolisting, but haven’t yet committed to a placing agency. The online photolisting helps Holt find families for children who have very specific needs — whether medical, emotional or resource-based.

Families who fill out a free application will not be referred to a homestudy agency, but will be able to review the child’s file free of charge.

Only after a family is pre-matched with a child — selected for a child pending homestudy approval — will the $300 application fee be charged. If you are not pre-matched with the child, you have the option of paying the $300 application fee and proceeding with an adoption through Holt — or you can close your file.

A free application cannot be left open long-term, nor can it be used to review multiple child files over time. As always, we encourage families who plan to complete an adoption through Holt to submit a paid application so that we can move the process forward and the child can arrive home as quickly as possible.

This special fee waiver is meant to provide families who have serious interest in a particular child on our photolisting — but haven’t yet committed to Holt — the opportunity to learn more about that child and avoid upfront fees.

If you have more questions, please contact Jessica Zeeb at




A Father Speaks for Older Child Adoption

Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 12.06.41 PMAn adoptive father shares about deciding to pursue older child adoption, his son Eric, and how adopting an older child may be right for you and your family. 

Our 6-month old baby seems to be growing at a healthy rate. In the past 6 months, he’s grown about 5 centimeters. He has a healthy appetite and has gained 10 pounds. Last week his voice cracked and he’s showing the typical signs of pre-adolescence. All normal healthy development signs for a baby…right? Perhaps I should mention that our 6-month old baby is actually a 12-year-old boy whom we adopted from China last November. He is our son, Eric, and we can’t imagine life without him.

Continue reading “A Father Speaks for Older Child Adoption”

Before She Turns 14, Suzanna Needs a Family!

Su Yan Yan 6.2016 6On April 15, 2017, Suzanna will turn 14 years old. This day will be a significant fork in the road of her life. While most children expect a celebration on their birthday,  Suzanna’s 14th birthday marks something much more substantial. On that day, the door to adoption and a loving, permanent family will close forever — unless a qualified family steps forward now and completes the paperwork to bring her home before then.

In these first thirteen years of life, Suzanna has experienced many dips and twists, yet in every instance she has shown astounding grace and resilience. It is not known when Suzanna’s birth family made the difficult decision not to parent her, but since that time she was raised by a Chinese family who informally adopted her. When she was 8 years old, she was found in the hospital with her adoptive father, who was comatose and approaching death. Since she had no other family able to parent her long-term, she was admitted to the orphanage and became part of a group home. She has been living there ever since.

Continue reading “Before She Turns 14, Suzanna Needs a Family!”

Found in Korea

Nam Holtz is a Korean adoptee who began a formalized search for her birth family and culture more than five years ago. With the help of a friend and director, Nam documented her return to Korea and today is working to produce her film, Found in Korea, based on her experience. During her 21-day visit to Korea, Nam traveled to three separate cities, retracing the steps of her infanthood, looking for foster family, birth family and other caregivers. What she found was more complicated and compelling than anything she could have initially anticipated. Nam says she hopes that Found in Korea can be a tool for adoptive families and adoptees to discuss birth family and adoption in more organic, natural ways. She also wants to expand the conversation and often limited narratives about the complexities of adoption.

We spoke with Nam on Tuesday, May 14, 2016 to ask some questions about her film, what she’s learned about adoption and the intricate web of strangers who have encouraged her to continue pursuing Found in Korea.

Holt International: You’ve been working on your film Found In Korea for more than 5 years. It’s both a film about adoption and also a very personal project, since it chronicles your search for birth family and birth culture. What has driven you to keep fighting to make this film for so long?

Nam Holtz: As I’ve been working on this film, I’ve become more involved in adoption communities and with other Korean adoptees and other adoption sources. I’m realizing there are some films out there that talk about adoption and are made to help people learn and heal, but there aren’t many.

I’ve received lots of emails and encouragement from people who have asked me to keep making this film as a resource for adoptees or adoptive families or just the greater public. I’ve also learned that just talking about adoption in an honest and open way can be difficult. Continue reading “Found in Korea”

Your Support Matters

As a sponsor, you have the unique opportunity to love and support a child living in a tough situation.

Maybe your sponsored child is waiting in a care facility for a permanent, loving family. Maybe your sponsored child is in school and working to end the cycle of poverty for his or her family. Or maybe your sponsored child has special needs that require specialized resources and therapies — needs like cerebral palsy, developmental delays, cleft lip and palate… or HIV.

Among the most vulnerable groups of children Holt sponsors support are in fact children in China who have HIV.

Continue reading “Your Support Matters”

It Shouldn’t Be a Secret

email3-Header-PhotoHolt adoptive mom Anne Silas* has learned that even in the U.S., the stigma against HIV can be strong. And for that reason, Ann and her family are careful when sharing about their children’s condition. However, while it is not something they share openly, it is not a secret. It is not a reason for shame or missed opportunity. Her children know that they can live lives full of love, acceptance and opportunity — while having HIV.

But in China and in other parts of the world, children with HIV must live in secret.

The stigma against HIV is so strong that if their communities find out about their condition, they will likely be ostracized — not allowed in public schools, kicked out of their homes, separated from their families and robbed of the opportunity to thrive and live normally within society.

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But this year through the Molly Holt Fund, you can tell children living with HIV that they shouldn’t have to live in secret — that they deserve to be known. That they deserve the same opportunities as any other child!

Your gift to the Molly Holt Fund will help children who are living in Holt-supported HIV group homes — safe places where they are loved and cared for while many wait for a permanent, loving adoptive family — as well as other children with special needs around the world who are in need of medical care, therapies and the opportunity to thrive.

Thank you for your heart and compassion for children with HIV and other special needs. Your gift gives them the resources, opportunity and freedom they need to stop living in secret and rise above stigma.

* Name changed to keep the confidentiality of Anne and her children

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An Extraordinary Opportunity to Help Children…


He was 6 years old. And he lived alone in a shack off the side of the road.

His mother and father had both passed away, and his only living relative, an 84-year-old grandmother, was afraid to take him in. He was not welcome at school or by the local orphanage. When his story was reported by the local news, some people left clothing and food on his doorstep. But no one would go near him. He lived in total solitude, without anyone to love or comfort him.

This is Brady’s story — the story of one boy living with HIV in China.

But this story represents thousands more children who are struggling to survive in communities that shun them because of a disease they were born with. Worse than HIV itself — a disease now manageable with proper medication — is the unbelievable rejection so many of these children face, even by their own families.

This is a heartbreaking story. But like many of the stories we tell at Holt, this one is brimming with hope. Continue reading “An Extraordinary Opportunity to Help Children…”

Holt Camp: An Adoptive Mom’s Perspective

Holt adoptive mom Kathy Rafferty shares why sending her kids to Holt Adoptee Camp is one of the best parenting decisions she has made.  

holt1Transformative is how I would describe our family’s experience of Holt Adoptee Camp.   But here’s the thing — at their current ages of 14 and 17, my kids would describe their Holt camp experience in a somewhat different way. What they would tell you is that at Holt camp, they met new friends, had fun counselors who were also adopted, did silly skits and pranks, laughed a lot, did fun activities – and oh – sometimes the food was bad, the cabins hot and every day they had “cabin talks” with their peers and counselors about what it is like to be adopted. Continue reading “Holt Camp: An Adoptive Mom’s Perspective”