The Story Behind the Photo: Six Months Home

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Our journey to the family you see today was one that was filled with many ups and downs, but one that was well worth the wait.  My husband was adopted from Vietnam when he was eight months old and so for him, international adoption was always something close to his heart.  Then after trying for many years to have children, it was my husband who encouraged me to switch our focus to adoption. Our experience with the Thailand program was amazing and we felt that the local Holt staff and social workers were there for us every step of the way and knew so much about our son and really made us appreciate all their hard work and the work they do with the foster families! Continue reading “The Story Behind the Photo: Six Months Home”

Changing the Face of Thalassemia

Even 10 years ago, children living in orphanage care in China with treatable conditions like thalassemia were considered so difficult to place with adoptive families, many caregivers wouldn’t try to find families for these children — nor secure the medical care they needed. Through advocacy and education efforts, international adoption is changing the face of special needs. But the fight to ensure that every child receives the love, care and family they deserve is far from over. Continue reading “Changing the Face of Thalassemia”

Alert! Citizenship Fees Increasing Soon!

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced numerous fee increases that will take effect on December 23, 2016. The fee to obtain a new Certificate of Citizenship (COC) will increase from $550 for a minor adoptee to $1,170. The fee to replace a lost COC or to change a name on an existing COC will increase from $345 to $555. These fee increases may not affect parents who have automatically received their children’s COC shortly after arrival, but will most likely have a big impact on parents and adult adoptees who still need to obtain a COC.

If you are an adult adoptee or an adoptive parent and have not yet secured proof of citizenship for yourself or your child, we urge you to do so as soon as possible. Securing U.S. citizenship is essential to ensuring rights and protections throughout your or your child’s life.

Obtaining a COC is of particular importance for adult adoptees whose parents never took the steps for them to become U.S. citizens. If you are an adult adoptee and have any question about your citizenship status, we advise you to seek confirmation from your parents. If you have additional questions or concerns, contact our post-adoption team about how to check your status.

To download the N-600 application for Certificate of Citizenship directly from USCIS, please click here.

If you have any questions, please contact either Debby Hanson at debbyh@holtinternational.org or Sunday Silver at sundays@holtinternational.org in Holt’s Post Adoption Services department.

Our post-adoption team is available Monday-Friday, 8-4:30 Pacific Time, at 541-687-2202.

For answers to frequently asked questions about the COC, click here for a PDF provided by the National Council For Adoption.

The Real Hero

Holt adoptive mom Holly Romero shares who she believes the real hero is in adoption.

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It’s National Adoption Month. And people always want to tell us how awesome we are for adopting. Like it’s some heroic feat that only the bravest can accomplish.

Do you guys wanna know who the real hero is?

It’s the boy who through no fault of his own, started out life with a loss. The boy who bravely decided he wanted to be adopted. The boy who met strangers and called them “mom” and “dad.” The boy who left everything he has ever known, to fly across an ocean, to a culture not his own, just to be part of a family. The boy who endured grief and homesickness, fear and uncertainty. The boy who has now made new friends (while keeping in touch with old friends), who plays sports, who is involved in church, and who has family who will love him until forever. Continue reading “The Real Hero”

The Story Behind The Photo: HIV and Choosing Truth Instead of Fear

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Holt adoptive mom Jennifer shares about how HIV isn’t a huge deal in their family — it is just one of the “scars” that God has taken and used to write a beautiful story for their perfectly-imperfect family. 

You know those typical social media pictures? Pictures of supposedly perfect families, in perfect places, and looking perfectly happy. Those pictures that, when posted, can make life look so much better than reality. In this picture, my own family is sitting in my favorite spot of our house (my back porch). It shows the seven people I love most looking like the happy family that we are (most of the time). But in truth, we are very far from what the world would describe as perfect.

When I see this picture, I see so much more than the surface level thoughts that could cross most people’s minds when they see it. I know the heartbreak, I know the pain, I know the scars, I know the challenges, and I know the struggles behind all eight of those smiling faces. We are not at all perfect as defined by the world.

Continue reading “The Story Behind The Photo: HIV and Choosing Truth Instead of Fear”

The Story Behind The Photo: This Way to Your Birth Family

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This photo shows the sign on the side of the highway listing “Campina Grande” that we — me, my mother and our three family friends — saw as we drove to meet my birth family. This was the sign that literally pointed us in the direction of our most unbelievable, loving and fulfilling adoption reunion.

I searched for my birth family for 22 years before locating them. One year after that, my mother and I, along with our family friends, embarked on the journey to come face to face with as many birth family members as possible. Continue reading “The Story Behind The Photo: This Way to Your Birth Family”

The Story Behind the Photo: This Isn’t What I Thought Our Family Would Look Like

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When the Jackson family started the adoption process, they were expecting to add another little girl into their family. But things turned out quite differently than they expected — and because of it, they consider themselves so blessed. 

When we started our adoption journey I had a picture in my head of what I thought our family would look like after the adoption process was over. In this picture in my head, we had a family full of girls. So it goes without saying that this photo above of our kids isn’t what I thought it would look like. But I am forever thankful and blessed that our picture turned out as it did.

Continue reading “The Story Behind the Photo: This Isn’t What I Thought Our Family Would Look Like”

The Story Behind the Photo: Meeting Your Child, Then and Now

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See the picture in black and white? That’s Molly Holt, Harry and Bertha Holt’s daughter, in 1959, placing a baby in her adoptive mother’s arms after a long journey from Korea to the United States. When Holt International started in 1956, Korean children were exclusively brought home to their adoptive families via charter flights, and in the years that followed, staff escorting a child from their birth country to their adoptive family in the United States was considered the norm.

But in the last two decades, escort trips have slowly phased out in favor of adoptive families traveling to their child’s birth country. In fact, travel is required in every one of the 11 countries where Holt has adoption programs. Continue reading “The Story Behind the Photo: Meeting Your Child, Then and Now”

The Story Behind the Photo: Together, We Make Family

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At Holt-Sunny Ridge in Illinois, domestic open adoption brings birth parents, adoptive parents and their children together as a unique and beautiful family. This photo shows the significant moment of Killian’s birth mother and adoptive parents meeting for the first time — the beginning of a lifelong relationship centered around the love they all have for their son.

Continue reading “The Story Behind the Photo: Together, We Make Family”

The Story Behind The Photo: When You Don’t See Adoption

Adoptees growing up in a transracial adoptive family rarely have the option of keeping their adoption private. But for some adoptive families — domestic and even international — others don’t always see adoption. Below, Brazilian adoptee Carmen Hinckley shares her experience of growing up the daughter of a single mother who shares her same race, including when she chooses to share about her adoption and when she chooses to keep this part of her life private. 

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I am an international adoptee. I was born in Brazil and adopted as an infant by my single mother. My mother and I are the same race. Our facial features are strikingly similar, causing us to look as though we’re related. Both of us have heard comments from friends and strangers alike for my entire life, about our similarities. For anyone who doesn’t know my family and how it was created, there is no question as to whether I am biologically related to my adoptive mother.

I am able to “hide behind” sharing the same race as my mother. I share that I’m an adoptee with people that I’m comfortable around, and that I feel are important enough in my life to have this information. If I don’t feel that there is a reason to reveal that I’m adopted, I can quietly omit this information, leaving the other person none the wiser. For people with whom I’m comfortable talking about this, I share it to reveal a part of myself that they wouldn’t otherwise know. I also share it to become closer to them, and with the willingness to answer many questions that will undoubtedly arise. Still, I wait before revealing this part of myself because it does increase my vulnerability and opens my heart. I will typically only divulge this right away if I am talking to another adoptee or another Brazilian. Continue reading “The Story Behind The Photo: When You Don’t See Adoption”