The Meaning of TeTe

When Tamara and Lex Price brought home their daughter, Maya, from China, they did not understand why in her grief she kept screaming “TeTe.” Finally, years later, they discovered the meaning of these two syllables — and why they meant so much to Maya. This story originally appeared on Tamara’s blog, thelittlestprice.com.

Reunited foster siblings Maya and Thomas stand smiling together.

“TeTe! TeTe!” From the minute we left the children’s welfare office in Wuhan, our sweet girl screamed for “TeTe” with panic and terror and total heartbreak in her eyes, often until she made herself sick or until she was exhausted and fell asleep. We will never forget her seeing the elevator doors close as her favorite social worker left before we did, and hearing her scream “TeTe” as she tried to pry the elevator doors apart with her delicate little fingers. The look in her eyes as she screamed for him and tried to leave the hotel to go find him, while I, the awful stranger she didn’t even understand blocked the door, will haunt me for the rest of my days.

TeTe. Continue reading “The Meaning of TeTe”

Dream Come True – Holt Adoptee Reunites With Her Birth Parents in China

With the help of local police, media, volunteers and Holt staff in China, adoptee Kylee Bowers becomes the first Chinese adoptee placed through Holt to reunite with her birth family using DNA testing. This story has been translated from the original Chinese version written by Holt’s staff in China and published in Chinese media. 

Kylee with her biological father, Liang Hua.

On the morning of July 1, 2018, accompanied by her adoptive mother, 18-year-old adoptee Kylee (Liang Jing Lang/Zhong Feng Min) reunited with her birth family at Guangzhou Baiyun airport. There to witness this exciting and emotional moment were Holt’s vice president for our China Program, Ms. Jian Chen, local police officers, members of the media and volunteers from the Chinese NGO Bao Bei Hui Jia. Continue reading “Dream Come True – Holt Adoptee Reunites With Her Birth Parents in China”

Cleft Lip and Palate: Before and After

If you’re considering adopting a child with cleft lip and/or palate, you probably have questions: What is a cleft? Can clefts be repaired? What are the medical procedures? And what does a repaired cleft look like?

Many of the parents of the children below had the very same questions at the beginning of their adoption process. Now that their children have been home for a while, they are delighted to share what they’ve learned about the treatment process. While each child with a cleft lip and/or palate is different, and will require different procedures, the families of these five —  Naomi, Joey, Willa, Micah and Hannah — want to share about their experiences!

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A Meeting that Changed My Life

In a post originally on their blog, We the Lees, Lee Fritz shares about he and his wife’s trip to Korea, and the unforgettable afternoon he spent with Molly Holt. 

Exactly one year ago, I had the distinct opportunity of meeting a woman whose life work was dedicated to helping orphans and abandoned children – a work that has had a direct impact on my life. She has always put the needs of others ahead of her own and is such an inspiration. There were probably times when she struggled to keep going and was under so much pressure that it would have been easier to quit and do something else. She, of course, did not quit, but continued building an organization that has helped thousands of children around the world. Her name is Molly Holt.

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Why All Adoptees Need a Certificate of Citizenship

Holt adoptee Susan Cox highlights the importance of securing a certificate of citizenship, and urges all adoptees and adoptive parents to take this critical step. Susan also serves as Holt’s vice president of policy and external affairs. 

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A childhood photo of Susan Cox holding her certificate of citizenship after joining her family through adoption from Korea.

When I was adopted in 1956, I came to the U.S. with a Korean passport and a U.S. visa. I did not have a birth certificate then, and still don’t. The day I became a naturalized citizen was a big day and my parents impressed upon me how important it was.

To get a work permit as a teenager, I had only my certificate of citizenship (naturalization papers) and Korean passport. Because those two documents could not be replaced, we made the trip to the nearest immigration office and presented the documents in person so that they would never be out of sight.

I’m grateful that my parents took this responsibility seriously and took the necessary steps to provide me with the protections granted by U.S. citizenship. I’m keenly aware that many adoptees did not have the same experience and that some of them are vulnerable without a certificate of citizenship as adults. Continue reading “Why All Adoptees Need a Certificate of Citizenship”

The Story Behind The Photo: Adoptees Grow Up Too

When most people think of adoption, they picture children. But adoption is a lifelong experience. And just like everybody else, adoptees grow up too.

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In our focus to serve children and families, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that being adopted doesn’t stop at age 18. Adoptees grow up. They become husbands and wives, doctors, teachers, businessmen and women, parents and grandparents. They work, travel and play. And, sometimes, they have questions they can’t answer without assistance.

Part of my job at Holt is to help adult adoptees discover their background. I speak with and email hundreds and hundreds of adoptees from many different countries now living in the U.S. I provide them with file copies, citizenship assistance, historical and cultural information, and for some, I help determine if a birth search is possible. It’s a part of my job that I enjoy tremendously. Continue reading “The Story Behind The Photo: Adoptees Grow Up Too”

IKAA Korean Adoptee Conference in Seoul

This past August, Holt’s director of adoptee services, Steve Kalb, attended a gathering in Seoul, Korea with over 700 other Korean adoptees. Together, they made meaningful connections and looked toward the future.

They came from Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, France and the United States to celebrate and learn about the one thing they all had in common — that they were all Korean adoptees.

The International Korean Adoptee Associations (IKAA) is an organization that connects Korean adoptees with each other to form community, learn about their roots and make a stand together on adoption-related issues. Each of these countries has their own IKAA group, but every three years, Korean adoptees from all IKAA groups gather together in Seoul, South Korea. Last month was the three-year mark for this gathering, bringing over 700 Korean adoptees to the country of their birth.
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Empowered by Adoption

At the end of the 2016 Holt Heritage Tour to Korea, adoptee Kora Hanson spoke with the tour group about her personal perspective on adoption. Here is what she said:

UnknownAfter hearing some of the adoption stories from the older adoptees, I felt compelled to share my experience with adoption, since I am one of the youngest adoptees here.

My mom is an adoptee herself; both my mom and dad are actively involved with Holt on the Board of Directors and have traveled around the world on Holt missions; I have attended Holt picnics, auctions, and Holt Korea trips since grade school; and more recently I’ve witnessed my mom’s nonprofit organization, Love Beyond the Orphanage. I have grown up with adoption being a daily topic around the house.

With that being said, I have pretty much always viewed my adoption as empowering. As a child, I always had a fun fact to share about myself during show and tell. As an athlete, I stood out not only for my talent but for my distinctive features. And now as a young adult, I feel it is empowering to experience moments like these with other adoptees and their families, watching everyone see Korea and embrace our beautiful culture.

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Standing Up For Their Rights

Holt adoptive mom Annelise Pierce shares her “been-there-done-that” cheat sheet for how to advocate for older adopted children at school — ensuring they receive the English language education they deserve.

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Put yourself in the shoes of your recently adopted child. With no English language skills, you can’t explain to your new parents how scared, hungry or overwhelmed you feel in your new home. You begin classes at your new school, but you can barely understand the instructions to line up, sit down or raise your hand. The kids are welcoming and try to make friends with you, but unable to understand their words or comprehend their body language, you isolate yourself to stay safe — and soon, the kids stop trying. Continue reading “Standing Up For Their Rights”