The Story of My Life

Growing up without a stable family in the Philippines, Konny Dela Cruz struggled to stay on track — and eventually left school early to work in a garment factory. Then she learned about Holt’s  independent living and educational assistance (ILEA) program — a donor-funded program that helps institutionalized and disadvantaged teens to attend college and learn independent living skills. 

Konny Dela Cruz in her graduation gown.

The story of my life is so beautiful with a lot of learnings.

I was born in 1997. I grew up with a family with whom I have no blood relationship. I was only 2 years old when my mother entrusted me to the care of the landlady of the boarding house where we used to stay because she went to Korea to work.

When I was growing up, I was wondering why there is no name of my father on my birth certificate. I asked the landlady, whom I have been calling grandmother “Lola,” to explain “why I have no father on my birth certificate,” but she would just tell me it is only your mother who can answer your question. And my mother kept ignoring my question, too.

I could not approach any relative because I don’t know anyone — and maybe nobody knows about me, too. Continue reading “The Story of My Life”

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Sending Aid to North Korea

Do you want to send aid to North Korea, but want to make sure your donation actually helps kids in need? You may wonder if it’s even possible. For 19 years, people like you have sent aid to children and orphans in North Korea through Holt International — winter weather, emergency food and disaster relief aid that saves children’s lives.

Want to learn more? Here are ten things you might not know about sending aid to North Korea.

Continue reading “10 Things You Didn’t Know About Sending Aid to North Korea”

Holt’s Child Nutrition Program Partners With the Philippines Government

Local caregivers and staff in the Philippines proudly hold their certificates showing they graduated from Holt’s child nutrition program!

In July 2017, the Philippines became the sixth country where Holt has implemented our child nutrition program (CNP).

In tandem with our long-time local partner, Kaisahang Buhay Foundation, we provided trainings for caregivers and staff at two new government-run care centers. The trainings were filled with lots of learning, dancing — a beloved pastime and popular ice-breaker activity throughout the country — and meaningful hands-on opportunities. Continue reading “Holt’s Child Nutrition Program Partners With the Philippines Government”

So Much More Than Food

Holt’s feeding specialists have traveled the world training caregivers in nutrition and feeding best practices — and sometimes, something as simple as a spoon can make all the difference.

Several months had passed since Holt’s Child Nutrition Program team’s last trip to Ethiopia — to help lead a nutrition training at Sele Enat orphanage. And now, Rae Miller, an occupational therapist who specializes in feeding — a skill particularly helpful in her work with the child nutrition program — was there to evaluate how things were going. Already, rates of anemia had decreased and children looked healthier — and happier!

But still, one issue stood out: aspiration.

Continue reading “So Much More Than Food”

Back to School, Because of You

On August 28, 2017, Holt Haiti partnered with organization Education Works to throw a first annual Back to School Kickoff for children from impoverished communities and those living in orphanage care in Haiti.

The kick-off was a great success! And, it was all made possible because of the generous gifts of sponsors and donors!

Many parents in Haiti struggle to afford the high cost of school fees, uniforms, books and other supplies for their children. Sometimes, these costs alone are more than they might make in a week, month or longer. But when children don’t have the supplies and uniforms they need, they can’t go to school.

Children living in crèches (Creole for ‘orphanage’) are even more unlikely to receive their very own backpacks and school supplies.

During the Back to School Kickoff, more than 110 children from one northern crèche and school received backpacks, notebooks, pencils, crayons and other school supplies — all lovingly provided by Holt donors and Education Works! Continue reading “Back to School, Because of You”

The Story of My Life

Through the Independent Living and Educational Assistance Program in the Philippines, young adults aging out of institutional care gain the skills to live successfully on their own. Marlon Cruz was once an ILEA scholar. This is the story of his life, as told by Marlon. 

I was 5 years old when I got lost in the market of Marikina City and never found my parents again. That was the start of my struggles in life. I did not know where I would stay and how I would eat. I came to the point that I was sleeping anywhere I could. To survive, I started to carry baskets and bags of goods for people in the marketplace so I could get money for food. When authorities learned that I had no parents, they put me in an orphanage and they started to look for my parents.

But nobody was found and nobody came back to claim me.

The barangay authorities sent me to Boys Town Complex in Markina City, an institution for children without parents. I was admitted in Mahay, a section in the institution where children like me are housed. I had mixed feelings, happy but sad. Happy because there were people who would care for me and there was food, so I did not have to wonder how I would find food to eat. Happy that I would not experience again what I had been through, I experienced playing again. I focused my attention on playing to avoid thinking of my lost parents and continuing to wonder why I no longer have parents. Continue reading “The Story of My Life”

2 Things We Try Before International Adoption

Do you know that Holt does more than adoption? Learn more about how our child-centric model drives our work, which includes programs to strengthen families!
Holt does more than adoption?!

A misconception we often hear is that Holt International is only an adoption agency. This probably stems from our long history in international adoption, but in truth, Holt serves far more children through programs that help them stay with their families.

At Holt, we in fact consider international adoption to be the last, best option for children. Holt’s model of adoption is child-centric, meaning that we uphold the needs of the child as our number one priority. Through this model, international adoption is the final effort we make to ensure that every child has a loving and secure home.

We believe, first and foremost, that every child deserves to grow and thrive in the loving care of their family, whenever possible.

To that end, we strengthen families who are on the edge and need just a little assistance to stay together. We do this through nutritional, financial, health, education and counseling services, which provide the tools and resources families need to independently care for their children. These programs would not be possible without our generous child sponsors!

Do you know that Holt does more than adoption? Learn more about how our child-centric model drives our work, which includes programs to strengthen families!Read about how Holt’s family strengthening program helped single moms in Haiti like Julia be able to provide for her family!

Unfortunately, and far too often, children are unable to stay with their birth family for a variety of reasons. While we strive to reunite children with their families when this happens, many children remain growing up in orphanages. When that is the case, our goal is to find a family through domestic adoption — which gives a child the opportunity to grow up in the country and culture of his or her birth.

Do you know that Holt does more than adoption? Learn more about how our child-centric model drives our work, which includes programs to strengthen families!

Finally, if the child is still waiting, then we begin to look at international adoption as a way to find a permanent and loving family. We understand the challenges that come with a child being adopted into a new country and culture, and so when international adoption becomes our only choice, we work very hard to make sure that the parents are as prepared as possible to care for the child. We have systems in place to prepare and support both the family and the adoptee — from the moment they apply to the moment they come home, and again when they need support, at any time throughout their lives.

Do you know that Holt does more than adoption? Learn more about how our child-centric model drives our work, which includes programs to strengthen families!Read about how international adoption gave Rini a chance at life.

Each child’s journey to a loving and secure home is different. But when you are matched, rest assured that every option was explored, and that international adoption was the best option for your child.

 

Learn more about what we do!

 

I truly believe your kindness has created miracles …

We are excited to share that little Liu — now Penelope Lian — is home with her family in New Jersey!

Penelope with her mom, Lauren.

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 …”