16-Year-Old Adoptee Launches GoFundMe For His Sponsored Child

After his sponsored child, Munkh, is seriously burned in an accident, 16-year-old adoptee Zack Myers launches a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for Munkh’s hospital costs. He’s not sure he’ll meet his goal. But as more people read Munkh’s story, his Go Fund Me goes farther than he expects!

Zack with his sponsored child, Munkh (center), and Munkh’s brother in the Seattle Seahawks cap that Zack gave them when they met during the Mongolia Heritage Tour.

The relationship began at the Red Stone Informal School during Holt International’s heritage tour to Mongolia last summer. The school is located in the poorest district of Ulaanbaatar, and provides education, meals, hot showers and other supports for about 40 children, ages 6-12, each year. For these kids, the school is a welcome refuge from the many challenges of growing up in deep poverty. Continue reading “16-Year-Old Adoptee Launches GoFundMe For His Sponsored Child”

EVERY Child Deserves a Birthday

For some reason, the children with HIV stuck with him the most.

David Choi with kids at the donor-supported HIV group home in Nanning, China. The children’s faces have been blurred to protect their identities.

Last summer, when David Choi traveled to see Holt’s programs in China, he visited orphanages, special medical foster homes for babies, and group homes for kids with special needs.

But something about the children with HIV in the Nanning Group Home project — children who lost their families and now live together in a three-story apartment, hoping to be adopted — those kids touched his heart the most.

“Maybe God highlighted those kids,” says David, a Southern California-based IT professional who began supporting Holt programs last year. Continue reading “EVERY Child Deserves a Birthday”

Watching Her Grow Up

Linda and Jim Vail have sponsored You Jun since she was 9 years old. Now 18, You Jun wants to say thank you for supporting her all these years.

When Linda and Jim Vail first “met” their sponsored child — when they received her photo in the mail and first read about her life — she was 9, and in crisis.

You Jun’s mother hadn’t been in her life for years, her father struggled with substance abuse and died the year before, and not long after, her uncle passed away too. She and her grandmother were the only ones left.

“The little girl and her granny depend on each other,” her social worker wrote in a sponsor report from 2009. “They lead a hard life.”

You Jun and her grandmother live on less than one acre of land near the Chinese border with Burma. They grow rice to feed themselves — selling any surplus to pay for necessities. But it has never been enough to afford school for You Jun. Continue reading “Watching Her Grow Up”

My Heart is Awake

For Courtney Hohenlohe Langenburg, Holt’s development officer, working on behalf of orphaned and vulnerable children around the world is personal. And nowhere was she reminded of this more than in Mongolia… 

It started in 2015. After a meeting, Paul Kim came to my desk and said, “You know, we should totally do a donor team to Mongolia.” I replied with what I can only imagine was a very blank stare, “Why?”

He sold me on the idea and two and a half years later a team of us were off. I didn’t know a lot about our programs in Mongolia. I just knew it as a small program that Paul had talked about from time to time and that I had a few donors specifically interested in. I left for Ulaanbaatar with an open heart and an open mind.

I want to highlight one day — a day that was particularly hard. After we went to visit the Red Stone School, we went out to visit families who were living near the landfill. The staff in Mongolia took us to find families who needed help — and hope. These families were literally living among the trash of the landfill. In on ger, they were surviving on moldy bread they had found in the garbage.

As an adoptee, it’s impossible not to see yourself in every child who seems to have a less fortunate outcome. That day I found myself asking, “Why me, God? Why was my outcome so different?”

One of my donors, a mother of two children from Mongolia, once told me that the hardest part for her was looking at the ones who would be left behind. The ones who would not go home with a family.

I understand so clearly that I’ve been blessed with the privilege to speak up for those who did not get to go home. And those who do not have anyone to advocate for them. After that I week I understood why Paul, for years, had been pushing me towards Mongolia. He knew that if he could get people to see the program we would understand the need. My heart is awake and ready to answer the call for these kids!

Courtney Hohenlohe Langenburg | Development Officer

Learn more about Holt’s work in Mongolia. 

Holt’s 2017 donor team in Mongolia.

You Made Last Christmas So Special!

Every year, because of the generosity of sponsors and donors, children in Holt’s global programs receive a special surprise: the gift of Christmas!

For most children living in impoverished communities or orphanages, Christmas is just another day. No gifts, not treats, no special meals or extra time with loved ones.

We think sharing Christmas with orphaned and vulnerable children is one very special way to celebrate the true meaning of the season and share the love of Jesus with children in need.

We are so grateful to sponsors and donors who give $25 per child to make this day possible!

Because of sponsors and donors, children receive hand-picked, wrapped gifts — items they want or need chosen by their on the ground advocate. They also receive special, festive meals, often for their entire family, and a day of games, arts and crafts, field trips, visits from Santa or other fun activities!

For each child, Christmas is a day they remember and cherish all year.

Want to join the fun this year? You can donate $25 to provide Christmas to one child here!

Check out just a few of the photos from last year’s Christmas celebrations around the world …

Caregivers in India celebrate with the youngest children at the orphanage.

Continue reading “You Made Last Christmas So Special!”

A Day-in-the-Life of a Sponsored Child: Wei’s Story

Just before Chinese New Year at the end of January, Holt staff and child sponsorship advocates in Nanning, China, visited Wei’s rural village.

Here, Wei lives with his mom and two sisters in a small home. Wei was excited to spend time with his advocate, Mr. Pan, who is the man in the leather jacket throughout this video. Wei showed staff his house, favorite fishing spot and the lush farmland that surrounds his home.

See what a day is like in Wei’s life and how sponsorship is helping him to stay in school — a luxury that his older sisters can no longer afford.

Thank you for the continued support of your sponsored child. We can’t emphasize often enough the very real difference your commitment makes in the lives of the children in Holt’s programs. Because of you, children are safer, healthier and staying in school longer. They feel loved and confident knowing their U.S. sponsor cares for them.

As you watch Wei’s story, consider how life may be similar or different for the child you chose to sponsor.

*As a note of authenticity, the voice in the video is not Wei’s, but it does accurately convey Wei’s responses during our recent visit and interview with him.

Merry Christmas, From Aynalem to Degefech

p1b2n85snlp061h3nmd81t3i1tf83Six-year-old Aynalem was adopted from Ethiopia five years ago. One way she and her family stay connected with her birth culture is by sponsoring a child in Ethiopia — a girl named Degefech! This year, in her family’s Christmas card to Degefech, Aynalem — with some typing help from her parents — included a special note just from her.

Hello Degefech, my name is Aynalem. I am 6 years old and I live in Oregon, USA. I am in first grade, in elementary (your primary) school. I play soccer (your football) on a team called Fútbol Club Portland. I like to dance and sing, and I really like to draw. Continue reading “Merry Christmas, From Aynalem to Degefech”

Sponsors in China Become Friends, Mentors and Change-Makers

When a group of professionals from Beijing began sponsoring children in their own country, they soon learned that their impact could go far beyond a monthly gift. What ensued was a genuine relationship with their sponsored children and the possibility of changing China’s culture of philanthropy. 

On a cold winter day in a rural community in northwestern China, an unlikely group of people gather together. Ten of them are deemed among China’s most successful professionals from Beijing — businessmen and women, bankers, university scholars and government officials. The rest of the group, numbering about 30, are made up of 12-to-16-year-olds — most of whom have grown up in critical poverty.

They pull their chairs into uneven circles and sit facing each other — the young students listening intently to what the professionals have to say. And the professionals just as eagerly listen to the teenagers. Although they have never met before, the group bonds quickly over a mutual care and interest in each other’s lives. This connection transcends their differing backgrounds, ages and ways of life.

This group is made up of Holt-sponsored children and their sponsors —meeting for the first time.

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Here, two exciting and groundbreaking things are taking place. For the first time, Chinese sponsors living in China are sponsoring children in their own country. And as these sponsors and sponsored children meet and talk, they begin to build a deep, lasting, in-person relationship. Unlikely events, both. But perhaps even more unlikely is how it all came about.

Continue reading “Sponsors in China Become Friends, Mentors and Change-Makers”