The Father You Didn’t Have To Be

Holt adoptee and child sponsor Sally Feldmann shares a piece she wrote for her dad this year for Father’s Day. 

Sally with her dad, Dan.

Father’s Day is the one day of the year that is solely dedicated to recognizing the love and devotion that fathers around the country show their children. A father’s love is unending and one of the strongest forms that exists. But today, on this national holiday honoring fathers, I want to talk about one type of father in particular. The type of father who made the ultimate selfless and caring choice to step up and be a father for a child who did not have one. Continue reading “The Father You Didn’t Have To Be”

That Felt Like a Mother’s Love

After traveling to meet their former foster mothers in Korea, adoptee siblings Emma and Isaiah Perron finally understand what their parents always told them — “You were greatly loved in Korea.” This post written by Lisa Perron — Emma and Isaiah’s mom — originally appeared on catholicfam.org

Emma meets her foster mom for the first time since she left Korea to join her family.

The first night our Korean-born son arrived home, he cried for his foster mother. Less than thirty-six hours before, he had woken up in the only home he had ever known, been brought to the Holt International Adoption Services offices, handed to a stranger, and traveled around the world to be placed in our arms. He had never seen us before and had no idea what was happening. After a very stressful first introduction to our dear son, we arrived home late from the airport. Soon the family was all sleeping peacefully in their beds — all except Isaiah and me.  Continue reading “That Felt Like a Mother’s Love”

2018 Holt Adoptee Scholarship Contest

We are excited to announce the second annual Holt International Scholarship contest!

Three adoptees will each win $500, thanks to the generous contributions of donors.

This opportunity is open to any adoptee who is a 2018 high school graduate planning to attend higher education, or any adoptee currently enrolled in a university, trade school, technical training program or other eligible educational pursuit.

To apply, please send your contact information to Holt International, along with an artistic expression of the following:
Continue reading “2018 Holt Adoptee Scholarship Contest”

Doing Right By My Son

When adoptee Cat Stubbs becomes a mom for the first time, she wonders how she will share her adoption story with her son — and if it will be enough for him. But then she thinks of her own late father, and has an ah-ha moment that brings her peace.

I never thought I would be a mom. Not because I was adopted, but because I never had that particular dream. As a little girl I never played house or pretended my baby dolls were real. But one day, I met my husband, and everything changed. For the first time, I saw a future greater than just myself — and I wanted that future filled with the laughter and happiness that only a family could provide. Continue reading “Doing Right By My Son”

Going For More Than Gold


A skating coach for Olympic hockey players, Kim Muir knew there was no way she’d miss this year’s Winter Olympics in Seoul. But as a Korean adoptee, the trip was about even more than gold medals…  

When I found out that that the Olympics were being held in South Korea and that I had five hockey students competing, I contacted Holt. As my athletes’ technical skating coach, I knew I wanted to travel to Korea to see my students compete. But I’m also an adoptee, so I knew that traveling back to Korea for the first time would be a meaningful and significant experience. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I’d be able to meet with the agency in Korea and potentially see my orphanage or an orphanage. Through reflection, it became a priority that I come and share my life story with my children. My life has been amazing, and I was eager to learn more about my beginning.

Continue reading “Going For More Than Gold”

Waiting For So Long

As 16-year-old Van Dai prepares to meet his adoptive family, and his adoptive family prepares to meet him, they share what they’re nervous about, what they’re excited about, and why they are so eager to finally meet one another.

­­­­Van Dai is 16 years old. He likes math, soccer and computer games, and is naturally good at things that require problem solving and forethought. He’s a bit shy and introspective, and doesn’t show a broad range of emotion. But when you catch his eye and smile, he will return your smile a thousand-fold. His smile is absolutely radiant.

It’s a hot and humid January afternoon in the south of Vietnam, but cooler where we sit inside on wooden furniture, beneath a blowing fan. In the background, we can hear the sounds of children playing, the occasional squeak of metal swings.

“How are you feeling right now?”

Van Dai’s eyes gleam and glance around the room. He smiles.

“’I’m so happy to meet my parents,” he says. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long.” Continue reading “Waiting For So Long”

Top Stories of 2017

2017 was full of stories of inspiration, strength, compassion, generosity, love and family. Over the past year on the Holt blog, adoptees shared their hearts and life experiences — some even traveled to their birth country and processed their adoption in a whole new way. Holt sponsors and donors empowered children and families around the world to help them stay together. Some of our biggest stories of the year came from Mongolia, when generous Holt donors traveled across the world to meet children living in “a place no child should ever be.” Children from around the world united with their permanent, loving adoptive families — and adoptive families went on a journey, both literally and metaphorically, to bring their beloved children home.

While it’s impossible to sum up the entire year, here are your most viewed, most favorite adoptee, sponsorship and adoptive family stories of 2017! If you didn’t read or watch them the first time — or you want to be inspired all over again — be sure to take a look! 

Continue reading “Top Stories of 2017”

Divergent Series: Allegiant actress, Holt adoptee advocates for kids in need

Actress Danielle Lyn (Queen Sugar and The Divergent Series: Allegiant) is a Filipina adoptee using her platform to advocate for orphaned children and kids in impoverished communities. Here, she shares her hopes for 2018. 

We embark into a New Year, another holiday season come and gone. Festivities fading with the Christmas tree adorned in lights and memories captured in the ornaments we care for year after year. As we pack away the decorations, there is quiet again, where just days ago the sounds of family and friends filled our homes. Continue reading “Divergent Series: Allegiant actress, Holt adoptee advocates for kids in need”

In Service of Others

When adoptee and physical therapist Kayla Covert travels to Ethiopia as part of a medical mission trip, she discovers the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself.

Kayla (center) teaches staff at the Shinshicho Primary Hospital how to use a pulse oximetry monitor.

We are constantly surrounded by privilege — the comfortable couch where we watch movies, the luxury cars that take us to work, and the gorgeous kitchens where we cook too much for Thanksgiving dinner. This realization came clear to me as I reflected upon my upbringing and current lifestyle. A Korean adoptee adopted through Holt International in 1988, I was raised by a kind and generous family in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, PA. My childhood was filled with dance classes, soccer tournaments and homework that eventually produced a doctorate in physical therapy. I spent 28 years of my life enjoying every benefit that the middle class provided, including the ability to travel and explore other cities and countries.

Traveling nowadays has become a status symbol and, for the most part, a common way tobecome “cultured.” It’s easy to visit tourist attractions, lay on white sand beaches, or take big bus tours that offer you a front-seat glimpse of the country. While these trips can be rejuvenating and enlightening, they are not the kind of trips that shatter your reality and open your eyes to a completely different world. Continue reading “In Service of Others”

11-year-old adoptee publishes her first book

Juliese Padgett was adopted through Holt in 2008 from Guangzhou, China when she was three. Now, as an 11 year old, she is sharing her first published book — a children’s story that encourages all kids to respect the differences in each other. And, she is donating all the proceeds to Holt to help children who are waiting for families. Here, Juliese shares what inspired her to write The Newest Flower. 

When I was in second grade, my class was doing a study on Martin Luther King, Jr. We were talking about different skin tones, and my teacher held up a fan of colored construction paper: black, brown, tan, beige, white, and some other primary colors. Then, the class came up and held their hands to the paper; the point of the lesson was to show us that skin tones are not “black” or “white”. Because everyone in my class was Caucasian, my Asian-colored skin looked even darker and was pointed out by a classmate. This experience made me feel like an outcast, and eventually, my parents decided that it would be better for me to finish out the year being homeschooled with my two brothers. Continue reading “11-year-old adoptee publishes her first book”