Monkey in the Middle

Monkey in the Middle

The sun is beating down on us, and if it weren’t for the straw hat they gave me I would probably be a puddle. Of course, the kids aren’t content just sitting in the shade drinking from a fresh coconut, so what are we doing? Running around playing soccer and trying to avoid the sharp metal hiding in the grass. I’m the “monkey,” so I am in the middle trying to intercept the ball as they kick it around the circle laughing. I tell myself I am going easy on them, but like I said, it is quite hot and they are much more used to the heat than I am.

As we play, my mind leaves the game and starts to realize the significance of this moment. These aren’t just any kids in SE Asia. They have no idea who I am, but I recognize these kids the moment I see them. Continue reading “Monkey in the Middle”

Because of You, Phal and Her Siblings Have a New Home

Poverty is complicated.

It’s never the same from one family or child to another.

And, while it can be defined by not having enough — material goods, resources, support, opportunities — there are no perfect, broad solutions that help every child escape.

Keeping kids in school helps. Providing advocacy helps. Giving food and medical care helps. And for some families, that support is enough.

But some children need more. They need the individual attention, love and willingness to go the extra mile that parents usually provide.

Poverty also has some ugly, horrible cousins: abuse, neglect, loss.

But every child deserves the chance to reach their full potential. Every child deserves the love of a family to help them grow and reach their dreams.

Phal when she was 10. I received this photo in a sponsorship update on Phal, and it broke my heart.

I want to tell you about Phal. We shared her story in December in an urgent plea for help. And you responded so generously. I finally have a happy update.

Phal is the saddest child I have ever met. Continue reading “Because of You, Phal and Her Siblings Have a New Home”

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”

Hey Moms, Share Your Story to Advocate for Waiting Kids!

“What if we get to be a part of not only the story of our own children finding families — but the story of many, many more children finding families! How exciting would that be?”

This Mother’s Day, advocate for the motherless, share your story and be a resource for families who are considering adoption.

Use #MomsForAdoption to tag your stories on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter — and wherever else you share about the things that matter to you — and let’s see how many kids we can find families for!

Realizing Her Potential

Widowed at 38, and supporting six children, Sao Yien struggled to make ends meet. But when she received a Gift of Hope to build a small business, she realized how strong and independent she truly could be.

Thoa Bui (left), Holt’s vice president of programs in South and S.E. Asia, hugs Sao Yien as she cries on her shoulder during their recent visit.

When Sao Yien said goodbye to Thoa, she buried her head in Thoa’s shoulder and cried. She didn’t say anything. She just cried. And so did Thoa.

Thoa Bui is Holt’s vice president of programs in South and Southeast Asia. Sao Yien is a woman in our family strengthening program in Battambang, Cambodia. A widow, Sao is the sole support for seven members of her family, including her own child, her sister’s five children and her 90-year-old grandmother. Until two years ago, when Holt’s social work team in Cambodia began working with Sao, she and her family were living in extreme poverty.

“At that moment before we parted,” Thoa says, “she was crying — and I was crying too to be honest — and I said I have a lot of feelings because I totally understand what you have gone through, and I understand the burden of responsibility that you continue to carry for these children and your family.” Continue reading “Realizing Her Potential”

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”

The Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Had To Do

Fifteen years after placing her son for adoption, Gina Ledsma got in contact with Holt earlier this year.  When we asked her if she was open to sharing her story, her response was an enthusiastic “yes.” While the environment and circumstances are different from country to country and individual to individual, Gina’s domestic U.S. adoption story is one that may resonate with any birth mother. And understanding stories like hers is important for everyone who is touched by adoption.

Gina will never forget the three hard, precious days she had with her son.

“I just counted all the toes and fingers,” she says, remembering those days in a hospital bed in Eugene, Oregon. “I looked at every little piece and part — and said my goodbyes.”

Twenty-nine years ago, Gina chose adoption for her son. Continue reading “The Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Had To Do”