140 Children, Forever Loved From Korea

Together, Mrs. Yang and Mrs. Kim have fostered over 140 children in Korea. Last month, they visited Holt families in Oregon — an experience they, and the adoptees and adoptive families they met, will never forget.

Mrs. Yang sat in a room at Holt’s international headquarters in Oregon — sobbing.

She clutched the glossy photobook to her chest then set it down to cover her face with her hands. The photobook was sent to her by a Holt family, and full of pictures and descriptions about how their son was doing. Her shoulders rose and fell with emotion and a Holt Korea social worker and translator, who was helping me with the interview, put an arm around her. “Separation is not easy,” she said to me. Continue reading “140 Children, Forever Loved From Korea”

Why One Adoptive Mom Volunteers at Winter Jam

Holt adoptive mom Angie Lewis shares why she and her family volunteer every year to help sign up new child sponsors at Winter Jam and other Holt events.

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Nicole volunteering at a sponsorship table during Winter Jam!

In January 2012, my husband and our three oldest children attended Winter Jam in Atlanta. They all came home that night so excited about the concert. My husband handed me a picture of a child whose packet he picked up that night to sponsor. And he said to me that the difference with these children is that while some of them live with their birth families, some of them are waiting to be adopted. My heart melted at that moment because God had been moving me towards adoption. The next morning, I started researching Holt International, and within a few weeks, God also moved on my husband’s heart. By March, we started the adoption process for our daughter Nicole.

After our daughter came home, we began serving as Holt volunteers at Winter Jam and during Christian artist group NewSong’s Very Merry Christmas tour. These events have always been a great way for our family to enjoy great music while advocating for orphaned and vulnerable children by helping to sign up new child sponsors. We enjoy the chance to try to make a difference for kids and families. Continue reading “Why One Adoptive Mom Volunteers at Winter Jam”

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.
Continue reading “IKAA Korean Adoptee Conference in Seoul”

Holt’s 60th Celebration in Photos

Two weeks ago, Holt staff from across the U.S. and around the world gathered in Eugene, Oregon to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Holt International. More than 35 child welfare and orphan care experts from 12 countries — including Cambodia, China, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Korea, Mongolia, Philippines, Thailand, Uganda, Vietnam, and from around the U.S. — came to share wisdom, ideas and inspiration as we continue seeking a world where every child has a loving and secure home.

It was a wonderful week, full of passion, inspiration and hope for creating a better world for children. Here are some highlights from our time together.

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Continue reading “Holt’s 60th Celebration in Photos”

Celebrating 60 Years

60th-Anniversary-BLOGThis week, Holt staff from across the U.S. and around the world will gather in Eugene, Oregon to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Holt International and to share wisdom, ideas and inspiration as we continue seeking a world where every child has a loving and secure home.

This coming week, Eugene, Oregon will welcome more than 35 child welfare and orphan care experts from 12 countries — including Mongolia, China, Korea, Cambodia, India, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Uganda, Haiti and from around the U.S. — each bringing passion, inspiration and hope to create a better world for the children of their country.

What’s the occasion? Throughout this week-long international summit, Holt staff will celebrate Holt International’s 60th anniversary of serving children and families. It was 60 years ago this year that Harry and Bertha Holt, two farmers from a small town in Oregon, decided to adopt eight children orphaned by the Korean War. In doing so, they paved the way for international adoption and began an organization and legacy that today, along with its global partners, serves nearly 100,000 orphaned and vulnerable children across 13 different countries.

Continue reading “Celebrating 60 Years”

In Honor of Judy

When Holt adoptive mom Angie Ledbetter decided to sign up new sponsors for children as a volunteer at Winter Jam, she knew it would be a wonderful way to honor Judy Young — her family’s adoption social worker and Holt’s Arkansas/Kansas/Missouri branch director who recently passed away. She never expected the beautiful confirmation of her decision that came next.

Our family feels Winter Jam is such an amazing event and is very proud to be a part of the Holt International family that sponsors it. It’s a night spent worshiping the Lord along with ten of the best Christian bands who are sharing the word through music, promoting adoption and getting sponsors for children. We first volunteered at Winter Jam several years ago while we were waiting for our daughter, Lauren, to come home. We were at the point in our adoption where we had all the paperwork finished for the time being and were waiting to be matched with our daughter. Everyone who has adopted knows that is one of the hardest times… to wait. We felt volunteering would be something we could do to feel productive while we were sitting idle in the adoption process.

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Angie Ledbetter first volunteered at Winter Jam while waiting to be matched with her daughter, Lauren, from Thailand.
I admit, the first time we volunteered, it was partly for selfish reasons. I wanted to have the opportunity to see all the faces of the children who needed sponsors, hoping that somehow I would see my daughter’s face. I suppose I had hoped for some divine intervention, considering I didn’t even know who our daughter would be at the time. I had hoped to see a precious baby girl and just know that she was my daughter. Needless to say, that didn’t happen, but we were able to sign people up to sponsor some of the children who were in need and enjoyed an amazing concert. Continue reading “In Honor of Judy”

First-Generation Holt Adoptee Reconnects With His Past

When Larry Gray, one of the first Holt adoptees, attended a Holt photo exhibit in Washington D.C. in November 2013, he was amazed to find a photo of himself as a child in Korea — the only photo he had ever seen of himself before he was adopted at age 5. Little did he know something even bigger was in store. 

Two years ago, two Holt adoptees walked into a photo exhibit on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. to see a very special collection of photos.

Adoptees Larry Gray and Kim Lindenbaum were hoping to see a photo, or read a caption, or make a connection with someone — anything that would help them know more about their past. Larry and Kim are among the first generation of adoptees from Korea who joined families in the U.S. through Holt International. In November 2013, 57 years later, they came together at this photo exhibit documenting life for children left orphaned or abandoned in the wake of the Korean War, as well as the humble beginnings of Holt International. Continue reading “First-Generation Holt Adoptee Reconnects With His Past”

The Family We Always Dreamed Of

Holt adoptive mom Emily Jasman reflects on family, adoption and life as an empty-nester.

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Nick Jasman, 23, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2014 and Abby Jasman, 20, attends South Dakota State University.

This week, I am experiencing something that I haven’t been able to for seven months! My son is home on leave from the Navy and my daughter is home from college. Things are once again right in the world when my two children are under the same roof. Where did the time go? Flash back 23 years ago when my husband and I welcomed a 5-month-old baby boy from Korea. Three years after that, we were blessed with a baby girl from Korea. Now these memories sustain us through the empty nest months. Nick, now 23, and Abby, now 20, became our forever family and I truly believe that God worked in our lives to put all of this in place. It is a rollercoaster ride from the time you get that picture of your child to when they come to you on a plane or you go to pick them up in their countries. In fact, for years my kids thought that babies came on planes. My son asked his preschool teacher what type of airline she came on: TWA or United? Continue reading “The Family We Always Dreamed Of”