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.”
Holt Director of Social Services for Haiti, Mike Noah, Vice President of Adoption Services, Lisa Vertulfo and Director of Programs for Africa, Bruce Dahl, arrive in Haiti
Members of Holt staff arrived in Port-au-Prince Wednesday morning (January 27th), and traveled directly to Holt Fontana Village to provide assistance and support to Holt’s dedicated and caring Haiti staff.
“Over the next few weeks, Bruce Dahl (Africa Program Director) and Holt Haiti Director, Mansour Masse, will be assessing and determining what role and task Holt will have next in helping the children and families in Haiti,” said Holt Senior Vice President, Phil Littleton.
Holt is currently waiting for the Haiti Prime Minister to sign off on the visa paperwork that will allow the majority of children at the Village, matched with families prior to the earthquake, to travel to the United States and be united with their adoptive families. From there, Holt hopes to be able to provide care to more children who lost their families in the earthquake.
Winter Jam 2010, a concert tour featuring Christian artists like: Newsboys, Third Day, and hosted by Newsong, continues to be a major force in raising awareness and support for orphaned, abandoned and vulnerable children overseas.
The tour, so far, has seen many generous and caring people make the decision to help a child through Holt International’s sponsorship program, and the tour still has 2 full months of touring dates left. Speaker, Tony Nolan, has offered hope and helped pave the way for orphaned and abandoned children to be given the assistance they desperately need.
A recent newsstory from Urban Christian News reports on Winter Jam 2010’s record-breaking start. Also, see locations and venues for remaining concerts and sign up to volunteer to help concert-goers as they select children to sponsor.
Following the first six dates, Christian music’s largest annual tour, the Winter Jam 2010 Tour Spectacular, has kicked-off with the highest average attendance in its 15-year history. Launching January 8 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Winter Jam has seen nearly 63,000 attendees to date, an average spike of more than 9% from last year, making history for the Tour franchise. Concerts at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida, each drew crowds in excess of 13,000. In addition, Winter Jam has facilitated 1,401 sponsorship commitments to adoption and child welfare organization Holt International, to help meet the needs of orphaned children around the world. Read More
Holt is assisting Children and Families affected by the devastating Earthquake
The 7.0 magnitude earthquake that hit Haiti on Tuesday saw children and families, already starving and impoverished, left with nothing. Holt is now in Haiti helping to assist the children and families who are struggling to survive in this broken country.
Although communication with our staff in Haiti continues to be difficult and there are still many unknowns, we have learned from Holt-Haiti Director, Mansour Masse that the 30 children being cared for at Holt Fontana Village are “OK.” Holt has been in Haiti since 2004 and the Village, located about 40 miles North of Port-au-Prince, is home to children waiting to go home to their permanent families in the United States.
“We are profoundly grateful the children and staff in our center are safe,” said Holt President and CEO, Kim Brown. “We still do not have an assessment of the 120 families in our Family Preservation program, and we are doing all we can to determine their safety.”
Christian music group and Holt advocate, Julian Drive, was in Haiti on a humanitarian trip when the earthquake hit. The group has now safely made it home to the United States.
“As we flew away and looked over the devastated city,” said Shane Bowers. “I could not help but have a huge burden in my heart for those left behind that are now forced to try and reassemble a life that was already so broken to start with. God help the people of Haiti.”
Before departing Haiti, the group did whatever they could to help in this dire situation and be an encouragement to the frightened children at Holt Fontana Village. They put on a concert for the children in the Village and the surrounding community and brought a little brightness into the lives of the families who have lost so much. Read More
The children, many of whom have lost one or both their parents to AIDS, received school uniforms, shoes, school bags, supplies and nutritious school meals. In some areas the children were also provided with health insurance and mosquito netting to prevent malaria.
Initiated in March 2007 as a way to expand services to children and families at risk due to poverty or impacted by HIV/AIDS, the Longchuan project works in partnership with local schools and teachers. The goal is to provide children with the opportunity to remain with their families and continue their education. Because of generous Sponsors, Holt has helped 325 children in the Longchuan project.
Adopting a Waiting Child
by Brett Foley
My wife Cheryl and I adopted our sons, Alexander and Benjamin, from South Korea, and in 2006 we decided to adopt through Holt International’s China program.
Cheryl had wanted to adopt a daughter from China since at least 2004, and she had an ally in our daughter, Leah, who had been praying for a little sister for quite some time. They finally got me on board, and we got started on the long road of adoption again. When we received and scanned over the big red book that explained Holt’s China adoption process we were a little overwhelmed. Adopting from China looked a lot more difficult than adopting from Korea.
We started in the standard China program but also decided to be in the Waiting Child program simultaneously. It proved to be a good choice. If we had only been in the standard program, we would still be waiting (possibly years) longer for just a child referral. So our road wasn’t as long as it might have been.
We traveled to China to receive Jenna in 2007 when she was 3 years old. Born with a cleft palate and large birthmark on the right side of her face and neck, Jenna had been abandoned in Shennong Park when she was 1 month old. The cleft palate had already been surgically repaired in China before we received her. Read More