On this blog, we share stories and updates about our work around the world. With reporting from Holt staff in the U.S. and overseas as well as contributions from adoptive parents, adoptees, sponsors and supporters, we strive to represent the heart, life and experiences of our extended “Holt Family.”
Contemporary Christian music group NewSong, founder of Winter Jam, is currently traveling in India to view Holt’s childcare programs there. Here, Holt’s creative services director, Brian Campbell, describes their visit to BSSK – a model childcare and social service center founded by Holt in 1979.
by Brian Campbell
Pune, India – The children line at the window. For the last few weeks, they’ve eagerly anticipated the arrival of the four performing artists who make up the Christian band NewSong. They’ve prepared songs and dances for Eddie, Russ, Matt and Billy, and can’t wait to do a little performing themselves.
When the vans pull up and the guys step out, the children squeal with excitement. As Newsong begins to climb the stairs, the children call out “Mama, mama!” – the word for uncle in Marathi, the main Indian dialect used here in the city of Pune, India. A BSSK staff member hands the guys a guitar, brought from home. The children beg them to sing Jingle Bells and Old MacDonald, and the guys proceed to belt them out with great gusto. But their biggest hit requires audience participation: “If you’re happy and you know it.” The children catch on quickly, and begin to sing along, mimicking the guys’ clapping, stomping gestures. When the song ends, the children cry, “Encore!” Not to disappoint their fans, the guys repeat “If you’re happy,” this time picking up the pace and challenging the children to sing faster.
The next stop on NewSong’s tour of BSSK is a room full of toddlers. This audience isn’t quite so immediately sold on the four rockers who enter their room. Staring at the strangers, they warily move toward their caregivers. But it’s not long before the guys are on the floor, playing with the children, now friendlier and more at ease. The guys each hold several of the little ones. “This is amazing,” Matt Butler says to his bandmate, in a near whisper, as a child grabs the end of his nose. “Look at all these little faces.”
Before too long, the guys lead a siege of youngsters to the playground. They push swings. They catch children at the bottom of slides. They spin the merry-go-round. Laughing, Matt, Eddie, Billy and Russ play as naturally as the rest of the kids.
As they pile back into their van at the end of the day, Russ Lee smiles. “What a blessing to be with those kids,” he says.
By Brian Campbell, Director of Creative Services
Pune, India— Before the first call of birds, the morning is greeted by the beeping of horns. Little auto rickshaws and scooters buzz through the streets of Pune, and vendors – selling all sorts of goods – prepare their services for the day.
Outside his tidy, modest home, *Sanjay arranges green pears on his cart. A smile breaches his face as he talks about his family and his small, successful fruit stand – the stand he utilizes to keep his family together and his children in school. His daughter, *Ahsha, stands beside him in her crisp, clean uniform ready to start her school day. She stands tall and proud, practicing a few common English greetings and beaming with satisfaction at our group’s approval. A smile and a glow of pride overtakes Sanjay’s face.
Today, Sanjay’s family, thanks to Bharatiya Samaj Seva Kendra (BSSK), is thriving.
Just a few months ago, however, this scenario didn’t seem likely.
The family struggled under economic pressures. Sanjay’s future as a truck driver was uncertain, and his children, in order to put food on the table, almost had to quit school and join the workforce. Identified by community input and social workers from BSSK, Sanjay was provided with a micro loan to start a fruit stand business.
Today, long-term stability is a reality for this family. Sanjay looks forward to growing his small business and even plans on purchasing a motorized truck for selling and buying fruit. His son plans to graduate and become a police officer, and his daughter is looking forward to completing the 5th grade.
The fruits of family preservation and child sponsorship.
*names have been changed
A family’s faith-filled answer to a common adoption question
Almost three years ago when our baby boy was born in China’s Hunan Province, his parents-to-be hadn’t even started their adoption journey. When our son was celebrating his first birthday with his loving foster family, we were putting the final touches on our home study. We had answered so many questions along the way. Which country? What age? Then, as our social worker met with us for our home visit, she asked us the strangest question: Which gender?
As a childless couple who would joyfully have accepted any child at any point in our marriage, the question took us aback. The answer was obvious. We were open to either a boy or a girl. We didn’t choose China because we wanted a daughter. Our reasons were varied. We were going to China because the Chinese adoption program was straightforward and established—and because of their special needs option. We were immediately drawn to a program that would match us fairly quickly with a child who had minor, manageable medical needs. A mom told me their medical conditions checklist had “a lot of no’s,” indicating that they weren’t willing to accept many medical conditions, but they were still matched swiftly and successfully with their son. Beth Smith, Holt’s China director of services, inspired confidence. And, to be honest, we had a gut feeling that our child was in China.
We were right. Read More
Over 50 years ago, in the aftermath of the Korean war, faith and compassion motivated Harry and Bertha Holt to adopt eight Korean children. Today, their legacy lives on in the stories of others whose Christian values also moved them to build families through international adoption. Stories like that of the Kirkham family, mentioned in the following news article. Inspired by scripture, the Kirkhams decided to adopt two Ethiopian boys from Holt’s Waiting Child program.
“We felt we had the opportunity as a family to help children who could not help themselves and do what the Bible says, to care for orphans and widows,” Justin Kirkham told a reporter for the Decatur Daily, an Alabama newspaper. To read the full article, click the following link:
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Adopting From China Webinar
In this live, interactive online seminar, we will share about the three ways to adopt from China — the Standard Process (generally, to adopt a healthy infant female); the China Child of Promise option, an expedited process to adopt an infant or toddler, boy or girl, with a treatable or manageable, identified physical condition; and the Journey of Hope for older children or children with more involved special needs. Focusing on the Child of Promise option, we will explain how families indicate the physical conditions to which they are open, and how we work closely with families to make a match within that range of conditions. We explain time frames to complete each process, the steps involved, travel and costs. You will also hear from a family who completed the Child of Promise option and be able to ask questions throughout. All webinars begin on Pacific Time. Click here to join a China webinar.