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.”
Brian Campbell, Creative Services Director
An excerpt from Brian’s Travel Diary while in Ethiopia.
Durame, Ethiopia—The washboard, gravel roads from the only hotel in Durame jostle our team along the way to the Holt Shinshicho Clinic. The clouds are beginning to break as the sun comes up and rain from the night before has created a shimmering lushness to the surrounding hillsides. All along this road can be seen people making their way to work. Bundles of firewood, donkeys carrying grain or coffee, women with containers of water share the road with us. To the side of the road, children can be seen in their well-worn school uniforms heading to classes. Other children remain behind, long switches in hand, tending to a couple of cows or a small flock of sheep and goats.
A youth group sponsors a child at a Winter jam concert
In order to reach kids with the Gospel in this day and age, you have to do it on their level. That’s why I love taking our group to Winter Jam each year. It features the greatest Christian artists of our day with a message that glorifies God. Our kids have such a great time, and it’s great to see how it changes their lives as they draw closer to God and make right decisions.
This year started off no different, but, as we were enjoying the show, God was working in the background. The earthquakes in Haiti had just taken place a few days prior, and I used it as a discussion in our classroom to point out that we aren’t promised tomorrow so we need to do what we can to reach those around us today. Then Newsong came out and presented the ministry of Holt International. As they were presenting, I looked around and saw the compassion in our group. When we had the opportunity we went down and found a little baby from Haiti.
His name is John Peter, but our group calls him “Lil’ H”, for little Haiti. It’s a term of endearment to these kids. We raise the money for the sponsorship independent of regular offerings, and the response has been great! One particular Sunday, a preteen girl gave her entire piggy bank full of change. That same day, another kid gave his whole allowance. When I ask for prayer needs, they are constantly reminding me to pray for Lil’ H. I’m overwhelmed on how God is teaching our kids to invest in the lives of others. We live in a selfish society where people are asking, “what can you do for me?”, but thanks to the opportunity given to us by Holt International, they are truly learning what it means to serve God by serving others.
A message from Jennifer Goette, Holt’s Director of Programs for South and Southeast Asia
Holt International has touched the lives of thousands of children and families in India since 1979, providing permanency services for orphaned, abandoned and vulnerable children. In 2009 more than 3,000 children benefited from counseling, medical support, nutrition services, educational sponsorship, foster care and other services. A total of 30 children were reunited with their birth families, another 30 children were united with permanent families in the United States and approximately 160 children were placed in permanent homes in India.
Children who come into care are nurtured in child care centers, where they receive tender care by nurses, child development workers, caretakers, therapists and pediatricians, or are placed with foster families until they are adopted or reunited with their birth families. All Holt partner agencies in India have onsite neo-natal nurseries, which have specially trained staff and are equipped to stabilize the health of children who are admitted with immediate medical needs. All children receive regular well-baby checks, quarterly health checks, appropriate immunizations and lab tests including hepatitis B and HIV tests.
Many children in India need loving, nurturing families. Because of Holt’s long history and extensive programs serving children in India, we have a successful history of placing children from India with adoptive families in the United States. Holt welcomes Indo-Americans (born in India) as well as non Indian applicants to adopt from India. Adoptive families are especially needed for toddlers, preschoolers and children with medical or developmental needs.
a family adopts their precious daughter, Gauri, from India
by Kali VanBaale
I’m often asked what made us decide to adopt internationally and, moreover, what the adoption process has been like. I grapple to find the right adjectives, to give a straight, easy answer. Every family’s decision and journey to adoption is different. Ours was certainly filled with plenty of twists and turns. The summer of 2005, with two healthy biological boys, my husband and I decided to try for a third. Boy or girl, we didn’t care. We just knew we wanted one more to properly fill out the craziness of our household.
But heartbreak and disappointment resulted with two miscarriages, my third overall. It was an agonizing decision, but I couldn’t go through it again. I was done trying. We’d be a family of four. Only…we didn’t feel like a family of four. It was a nagging sense, like an unfinished sentence about our lives. After a time, my husband and I started to talk about how, in the early days of our marriage, we’d both mentioned how much we’d like to adopt a child. I generally don’t like to discuss our three lost pregnancies, but I did, in that moment, have a strange sense that maybe we’d suffered those losses in order to find the child we were meant to have, wherever he or she was. We quickly settled on international adoption, Read More
The following are thoughts from Holt adoptive mother, Rebecca Moore, whose daughter, Nephtalie, was one of the 21 children who came home to the United States from Holt Fontana Village.
by Rebecca Moore
“You came.” Those were Nephtalie’s first words to her big sister, Martine.
Martine had come home to us from *Haiti in April 2008. When her sister, Nephtalie, needed a permanent family, we were already two years into the process of adopting Martine and because of this, the two sisters would not be able to come home together. When we left Haiti with Martine, we promised Nephtalie we would return for her.
The two sisters were reunited on February 3rd. Nephtalie told Martine how much she had missed her and how long she had waited. Later that day another child from Holt Fontana Village also told Martine how Nephtalie had been waiting for her.
The separation of siblings is one of the tragedies of children without parents to care for them. Martine and Nephtalie are together now, but the two-year wait was obviously heart wrenching for a 6-year-old to remember a promise given two years before. We felt frustration here, while she was longing over there…too young to understand why she had to wait.
I am thankful for the wonderful care my girls received at Holt Fontana Village. I know many other children, now home, who were living in far less than ideal conditions before they arrived at Holt Fontana Village. However, even good food, shelter, and competent, loving caretakers do not make up for a family. We had at least one year to go before Nephtalie would have come home.
God, in his mercy, used this horrific event, which took so many lives, to bring these sisters back together and many other children to their forever families.
Holt will continue to update our blog about our plans for the children and families in Haiti who are still in need of our care and support.
*Holt’s Haiti program is currently closed to new adoption applications, but we invite you to research some of Holt’s other country programs where thousands of children are waiting to belong to a permanent family…..click here to learn more