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.”
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
The group, along with Holt Director of Donor engagement, Kris Thompson, was in Haiti on a humanitarian trip when the 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit. In the days that followed, they did whatever they could to reach out to the Haitian children and families in the local community who were devastated by this terrible tragedy. This included spending some time at the Holt Fontana Village, where they were able to play with and comfort the children in care there.
The group also put on a concert for the children in the village and the surrounding community, bringing a little brightness into the lives of the families who have lost so much.
The team made it to the airport on Friday and witnessed many pallets of relief products being unloaded from planes.
“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.”
Kris Thompson, Holt’s Director of Donor Engagement, was in Haiti along with Christian music group, Julian Drive, when the 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Tuesday afternoon. The following is Kris’ account of that day.
By Kris Thompson, Director of Donor Engagement
Monstrouis, Haiti—We are 40 miles from Port-au-Prince so we really felt the quake, and the aftershocks have been very intense. There is major panic amongst The Haitians, as they have never experienced anything like this before. Our group had just gotten out of our vehicle at the hotel when it hit. The car was shaking in all different directions, and I am amazed that the wall we were next to didn’t come down. As we looked up at the mountains, we witnessed major rockslides in the area we were supposed to travel to that day.
We could tell it was a major earthquake, and Eric and I both said we thought it was a 7 or 8 magnitude. We told everyone to try their cell phones and go online to get word to the families that we were OK. As soon as the send button was pushed we lost all access.
Most of the people in our hotel slept outside last night, and we all stayed in our rooms with evacuation plans. The last major tremor I felt was at 12:15 a.m. actually strong enough to get me out of bed. The hotel and Holt Fontana Village survives on generators so our access to TV, computers etc. are limited, and the phones were not working.
The Holt Fontana Village in Montrouis didn’t have any damage, and Holt-Haiti Director, Mansour Masse, reported that the beautiful children are all OK and took it in stride. The caregivers stay at Holt Fontana Village during the week to care for the children and then go home to Port-au-Prince. Please pray for these ladies, as they are so worried and have not heard from their families.
Mansour Masse’s life changed yesterday as so many children became orphans last night. Mansour will be their Hope through Holt. Well…as I am typing this we hear loud cries…one of the care providers just found out two of her family members died last night…it just breaks my heart.
We had great prayer time with the Holt Field Director, and we have already had many prayers answered. Mansour is doing an incredible job taking care of everyone.
Shane Bowers, along with other members of Christian music group, Julian Drive, was in Haiti on a humanitarian trip with Holt Director of Donor Engagement, Kris Thompson, when the 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit. The following is Shane’s recap of the day’s events and the devastating aftermath….
By Shane Bowers, Julian Drive
Montrouis, Haiti—We had been here for a few days visiting the Holt Fontana Children’s Village and loving on the kids. As we arrived at our hotel yesterday and stood there recapping the day we had with the beautiful children, the ground beneath our feet began to shake sideways and up and down. We all froze in fear and didn’t know what to do. The car we had just gotten out of was shaking up and down like a toy, and a concrete wall next to us swayed back and forth. The quake felt like it lasted a minute or two. In reality it was closer to 35-40 seconds.
Holt Fontana Village Director, Mansour Masse, said he’d never experienced anything like this quake in all his years in Haiti and was just as startled as we were. We knew that the earthquake must have done serious damage to the city of Port-au-Prince, and we were heartbroken for the people there. I uttered prayers for those who might have been in much worse situations than we were. Fortunately we were able to get a quick message out to our families before we lost all communication. Read More
Holt is deeply saddened to learn of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that devastated Haiti’s capitol of Port-au-Prince yesterday afternoon. We have been in contact with Holt Fontana Children’s Village Director, Mansour Masse, and he informs us that the children and care providers are safe.
Communication with our partners in Haiti has been difficult. We will keep you informed about the children in our care and the 120 families in our family preservation program as we receive more information throughout the day.
Holt is assessing the situation and is prepared to do everything we can to bring relief to the children and families we serve as we learn more information about what the needs are.
We hope that you will join us in praying for the children and care providers at Holt Fontana Village, the families in our family preservation projects, and the hundreds of thousands of people in Haiti who have been affected by this unimaginable tragedy.