What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Colombia?
Is it Pablo Escobar or the drug cartels? If so, you aren’t alone. Colombia is a country with a brutal history. But there’s another side to Colombia — a side that is passionate, resilient and full of kids who embody these traits, and who are waiting for permanent, loving families to call their own.
What makes a family the right family for an older adopted child — meaning a child who will arrive home at 5 years or older? Two adoption experts weigh in on the characteristics they look for in families for older children …
Abbie Smith is a licensed clinical social worker whose specialty is working with adoptees and adoptive families. She has been working with adopted and fostered children and their families for 27 years. She is also the mother of a now 27-year-old whom she adopted at age 7.
Flexibility is the number one characteristic I look for in a parent who would be successful parenting an older child. Parents of older children need to loosen up so they can bend and flow with whatever comes their way. They may also need to be able to stretch to keep their nose above water.
I look for parents who can laugh at themselves and whatever life brings. In international adoption, bringing an older child into your family who speaks a different language, has a different religion, looks different, and doesn’t know how to use a fork and knife or a western toilet can provide some unique experiences. All of this will go down much easier with a hearty dose of laughter.
Mindfulness is the ability to think about your feelings as you are feeling them. It’s also the ability to stay present and think about how to respond to your terrified, but belligerent, child — and not just simply react.
Parents of older kids need to have a willingness to try new things — some of which you never thought you would do. This might be giving piggy back rides to your 14-year-old, singing lullabies to your 16-year-old or spoon feeding your 10-year-old. This might also look like celebrating his first English word, first bite of pizza, first time touching snow or first day of school.
Creativity! Parents of older adopted kids need to use different parenting approaches with each of their kids. One size does not fit all! Try a lot of different approaches with each of your kids and note who responds to what. Don’t get complacent though! What works on Monday may be a disaster on Tuesday.
Adoptive parents need to be good at relay races, or at least knowing when to pass the baton to their partner when their efforts are not effective. None of us can be on top of our game all the time, and good teamwork gets everyone further.
I like lousy housekeepers! Older adoptive parents will need to value being with the kids over the sparkling appliances. Family movie night on Friday might look like a heap of blankets and snacks crumbs come Saturday morning because you were having too much fun spending time together to get everything cleaned up.
Parents of older kids need to be playful, no matter what your child’s age. The wrestling, the snowball fights, swimming at the lake, tag and rolling in the leaves — these are all key to bonding.
Parents need to be able to just be quiet and listen to your child’s breathing, or reach out and hug him for no reason.
Providing the best possible experience for families and children in our adoption programs is of the utmost importance to us. Our high quality, hands-on services and support consistently makes us the top-rated adoption organization in the country and families give us a 99 percent satisfaction rating.
We always strive to keep our costs below average. However, to continue to provide high quality services and care for the children in our adoption programs, we will be slightly adjusting our fee structure and increasing the Application Fee and the U.S. Processing Fee.
This is the first time we’ve raised the fees since 2014, and we apologize for any inconvenience this causes you or your family.
On September 1, the application fee will increase from $300 to $350. With the increase, we still remain at or below the average application fee of other adoption agencies.
Additionally, in order to spread out costs for families, we plan to split our U.S. Processing fee into two separate charges. We are increasing this fee in order to ensure we can provide quality, personalized support and services to your family prior to homestudy approval.
In the infographic above, you can see the direct comparison between the old structure and the new structure, along with a timeline of when each fee will be due.
We appreciate your understanding as we continue to always do what is best for children who need families.
For a more detailed look at Holt’s fees and additional costs related to adoption, please visit our website.
Lisa H. Vertulfo, LMSW
Vice President of Adoption Services
Note: These new fees are only for applications received on or after September 1.
We are excited to share that little Liu — now Penelope Lian — is home with her family in New Jersey!
Earlier this year, sweet Penelope was living at Peace House, Holt’s very special, donor-supported medical foster home in Beijing. Because Penelope was born premature and experiencing global delays, Peace House offered a more nurturing alternative to orphanage care. At Peace House, Penelope received 24/7 attention from a dedicated caregiver and she grew and developed rapidly in a short time. Continue reading “I truly believe your kindness has created miracles …”
Holt’s Korea program continues to be one of our most stable and predictable adoption programs. While they wait for adoptive families, most children in Korea live with foster families, which provide the attentive, nurturing care they need to reach developmental milestones. Families in process to adopt also receive excellent medical information and frequent updates about their child. Most of the children who need families in Korea are younger with minor special needs. There are more boys than girls, and a family will need to be open to either gender. Could a child be waiting for you in Korea?
This past year, our organization celebrated 60 years of serving orphaned and vulnerable children and families in countries across the globe. Over these six decades, our work has touched the lives of thousands of people — people whose lives collectively tell the story of who we are as an organization. Their stories are the story of Holt International. And in 2016, many of these people once again graciously shared their life experiences with our readers.
For the first time, we held an adoptee essay contest, asking adoptees to share how adoption shapes or has shaped their identity. We received a number of thoughtful submissions, and featured the winning essay by Noel Hincha in our annual adoption magazine. I am happy to share that the essay penned by one of our runner-ups in the contest is among this year’s top most-viewed blogs of 2016!
Following last year’s trend, stories written by and about adoptees once again topped the list — receiving thousands of views on Facebook and the Holt blog. Among them is a letter one adoptee wrote to her late birth mother, grieving the fact that it was too late for them to meet; a story about a first-generation adoptee reuniting with the man who cared for him in Korea; and a piece by an adoptee from China who describes what the adoption experience was like for her.
Among our Top 16 Blogs of 2016, we also included five stories about our overseas programs — from a story written by a trailblazing woman in our unwed mothers program in Korea to a story about a boy who learned how to express himself for the first time at the Yesus Mena Deaf School that we support in Ethiopia.
And of course, stories by and about adoptive families are always popular among our readers — particularly among families new to the process who appreciate the insight and wisdom that veteran families have to offer. This year, six adoption stories had the most impact on our readers, including, at the top of the list, a heartfelt piece written under a pseudonym by an adoptive mom who wanted to share the truth about raising children with HIV. As more and more families adopt children with more involved and complex special needs, the experiences of these families become increasingly influential — inspiring other families to adopt children with HIV, congenital heart disease or, as one of our top stories explores in detail, Thalassemia.
As we reflect on the year 2016, and on the last 60 years, we thank the many, many adoptees, families, sponsors, donors, staff members, partners and children and families in our programs for your willingness to share what can be very personal and sometimes heart-wrenching experiences. You moved us. You inspired us. And perhaps most importantly, you instructed us. Every year, we continue to learn and grow from what you share with Holt staff and supporters. And we are so, so grateful for your being a part of our story, the Holt story. — Robin Munro, Managing Editor
Over the summer, Holt adoptee Krista Gause traveled on the Holt Heritage Tour to Korea. Before her departure, she wrote an honest and heartfelt letter to her birth mother, sharing about her life and grieving the fact that it was too late for them to meet. Continue reading “Top 16 Blogs of 2016”
We are now seeking families for children in India! We are accepting applications for:
Children 4 and older, especially boys, with many children older than 8 with and without special needs waiting for families
Children with moderate to major special needs
We are seeking Non-Resident Indian (NRI) families open to adopting children of all profiles, including infants and older children (4-8+) with and without special needs (NRIs must have current Indian citizenship)
Your adoption journey has come so far. Can you believe that soon you will travel to China to unite with your child? We are so excited for you, your beautiful kiddo and the incredible adventure you are about to embark on to welcome your child home.
It isn’t Holt’s biggest or most well known country program, but it is unique and might just be the perfect fit for your family! And right now, we are in urgent need of loving adoptive families for children waiting in Thailand.
Recently, the wait time for families in the Thailand program dropped to just 18-30 months from application to placement!
Most of the children who need families are younger, about 2 years old at time of placement, and healthy or have manageable/minor special needs. Also, many are living with a foster family that provides a stable environment for them to grow, the one-on-one attention they need to reach developmental milestones, and the healthy attachments that will help them transition more easily to a permanent adoptive family.
The minimum age for adoptive parents is 25, which makes this program a great choice for younger couples. They also accept families with up to one child in the home. However, these requirements can be flexible for families considering a child on the waiting child photolisting.
These children need the stability and sense of belonging that only a permanent family can provide. If the Thailand program sounds like it would be a good fit for your family — or you would like to learn more about children waiting for families in other country programs — contact us! We would love to help you begin your journey toward welcoming a child into your heart and family. If you have any questions or want more information, you are always free to contact Emily Lund, Holt’s adoption counselor, at email@example.com.
Younger couples, married for at least three years, ages 27-45, with less than three children.
Families strong in their Christian or Catholic faith. A 5-year church attendance letter is required.
Families who are open to a child of either gender.
Single applicants open to a child age 6+.
Families open to children ages 2-5 with minor special needs.
Families open to older children, siblings or children with more profound special needs.
Does this sound like your family? If so, we’re excited to hear from you!
Email Holt’s adoption counselor, Emily Lund, at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can reach her by phone at 541-687-2202.