A Language We All Share

When adoptive mom Cindy Lamb visits with students at the Yesus Mena Deaf School in Ethiopia, her fluency in sign language helps her communicate. But it’s another language that creates the most soulful connection. 

This past October, my husband, Steve, and I had the rare privilege of participating in the perfect intersection of a lifetime of interests and passions when we traveled to Ethiopia on a medical mission trip with Holt.  Holt helped build and still supports Shinshicho Primary Hospital and also supports Yesus Mena Deaf School in the same town. Steve is a family practice physician and I am an RN with a graduate degree in deaf education. Twenty-two years ago, we adopted a 4-year-old daughter through Holt who is deaf. So, when we were asked to participate in a medical mission trip to Shinshicho with an opportunity to also be involved with the deaf school, we were immediately determined to be a part of the adventure. Continue reading “A Language We All Share”

July Under the Eternal Blue Sky

Holt adoptive mom Karen Myers shares about Holt’s first Mongolia Heritage Tour and her 15-year-old son Zack’s experience visiting his birth country for the first time since he came home to his family.

Karen and Zack attend the festivities for Mongolia’s annual Naadam holiday celebration.

In July 2017, my son and I had the opportunity to join five other families from across the U.S. on Holt International’s inaugural Mongolia Heritage Tour. I adopted Zack in September 2003 when he was a year and a half, and this trip would be our first time back in Ulaanbaatar — UB. So many questions flooded my brain as I packed for the trip. How would my Mongolia-born, all-American-boy respond to the unanswerable and confusing questions that the trip would inevitably bring up? And most of all, would he want me to come with him? Continue reading “July Under the Eternal Blue Sky”

Thank You For Seeing My Life

Before leaving on Holt’s inaugural Mongolia Heritage Tour this past summer, John Clark and his family donated the funds to build a new ger — a new home — for a vulnerable family living beside a garbage dump in Ulaanbaatar. Below, John shares what inspired his family to give, followed by a radio interview with the family who received a new ger. 

Standing in front of the brand new ger they built, the Clark family poses for a photo with the family who received this new ger. From left: Ariana Clark, Carver Clark, Enkhjargal, her husband and three children, and John and Janette Clark.

The most memorable time for me on the Mongolian tour was being able to help a family in need of permanent housing in Ulaanbaatar.

Before we left for our tour, I was moved by the Holt video showing how others had donated funds to help build gers for needy families. I didn’t consider the expense. I felt we should do this. Continue reading “Thank You For Seeing My Life”

Saying Thank You in Korean

While traveling on Holt’s 2012 Adult Adoptee Heritage Tour of Korea, Kim Buckley met the foster family that cared for her before joining her family in the U.S. This piece originally appeared in The Daily Nebraskan, the daily newspaper of The University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Kim with her foster mom and her foster sister, who also helped care for Kim while she was waiting to join her adoptive family in the U.S.

I found out why there is a stereotype of Asians being bad drivers during a trip to South Korea this summer. As it turns out, narrow streets and speeders make for impatient drivers who narrowly avoid accidents.

But that wasn’t the only thing I discovered in Korea. Continue reading “Saying Thank You in Korean”

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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Continue reading “A Meeting that Changed My Life”

Why Is It Important to Have a Special Needs Heritage Tour?

In October of this year, Jordan Love traveled to Korea as part of the Happy Together tour for adoptees with special needs. This was his second time traveling on the Happy Together tour. And this time, he brought back with him some fresh insight about the experience, including a deeper understanding of why it’s so important to have a birth country tour just for adoptees with special needs. 

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Jordan with Dr. Cho, the long-time resident doctor at the Ilsan Center in Korea.

At the end of October this year, I had the great opportunity to travel to Korea on the Happy Together tour. This tour is designed specifically for Korean adoptees who have a special need — giving them the opportunity to experience the Korean culture in a variety of activities and also have opportunities to explore their adoption. I first traveled on this tour back in 2011, which was also the first time I returned to Korea since I was adopted at 4 and a half years old. Looking back on my trip in 2011, the whole week seemed like a whirlwind of new experience and discovery. This trip, I felt a lot more comfort and was able to be more relaxed as I knew what to expect.

Upon reflection, I think there are two main things I brought back with me from the Happy Together tour to Korea. Continue reading “Why Is It Important to Have a Special Needs Heritage Tour?”

Adoptees Travel to Korea on Happy Together Tour

On October 19th, four adoptees will travel to Korea on the Happy Together Tour,  a trip designed to give Korean adoptees with special needs the opportunity to return to their country of birth.  While there, the adoptees will tour Holt-supported programs, take part in popular sightseeing activities, and some may be able to reconnect with caregivers.  “The trip was amazing! A true blessing to experience going with a group of other adoptees,” Holt adoptee Misty Rasmussen says of her trip in 2014.  “To share what each of us adoptees have in common was amazing. It was also a little emotional for me. I didn’t get to meet my birth family like I was hoping, but I still loved i14628267_10153966024447688_831016696_nt and think it’s very beneficial for other adoptees!”

In 2011, adult adoptee and Holt employee Jordan Love also went on the Happy Together Tour, and will be traveling on the tour again next week. Continue reading “Adoptees Travel to Korea on Happy Together Tour”

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”

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.

Continue reading “Empowered by Adoption”