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.”
We at Holt were recently inspired by a Holt adoptee’s creative efforts to help find families for children. Every Wednesday, broadcast journalist Michelle Sherwood hosts a TV news segment featuring a local child in foster care. She also encourages viewers to repost the Wednesday’s Child stories on their blogs, Facebook pages and other sites. Since May, this community effort has already helped six kids find permanent homes!
Inspired, we’ve decided – thank you Michelle! – to copy Michelle’s idea. Every Tuesday, check Holt’s blog and Facebook page for photos, stories and even videos of a different child in the Waiting Child program. Our goal is to create a vibrant profile of every child so a potential family, browsing through, might see a spark – make a connection.
Even if you don’t make a connection, someone you know might. Help the Waiting Child of the Week go viral! Forward the stories to friends and family. Share every week at church or a community group. And repost to your own blog, Facebook page and company site. With the simple press of a button, you can change a child’s life forever!
So, without further ado, we introduce Ben – Holt’s first Waiting Child of the Week.
We met Ben this summer at an orphanage in Wuxi, a city in southern China. He seemed shy at first, but began to relax and smile during the interview and, at the urging of his caregivers, eventually stood up to demonstrate a headstand.
His caregivers seemed very fond of him and talked about how helpful he is around the orphanage, where he came into care at just a few days old. He likes to help care for the younger children, especially feeding the babies, but he tells us what he would really love are older siblings. Though he has many good friends, Ben misses his pals from the orphanage who’ve joined families through adoption. But when asked how he would feel about being adopted, his eyes immediately brightened.
“Are you at all worried about the language difference?” we asked.
“No problem,” he said. “I can learn.”
Now 8, Ben is in the 2nd grade. He’s a fast runner, loves basketball and also enjoys art projects and origami. He’s doing well in school and hopes to grow up to be a policeman – a point he reinforced for us with a straight-backed salute!
After entering care, Ben progressed well in the institution but was found to have slow motor development. Laboratory reports also noted that he is a Hepatitis B carrier. Ben would do best in a family with older child adoption experience and access to good medical resources.
In honor of National Adoption Month, parenting e-zine SixSeeds.tv is featuring several Holt adoptive families, including the Groces, the Johnsons, the Dalrymples, the Osburns and the Blumenthals. For every comment posted on their stories, SixSeeds will donate to one of many wonderful causes.
Post about the Blumenthals’ story and SixSeeds will donate $2 to Holt!
The Blumenthals brought their daughter Etagegn home from Ethiopia in June. In the SixSeeds Q&A, the Blumenthals describe their adoption experience, their advice for other families considering adoption, and the wonder of watching their daughter “grow into a joyful little girl who absolutely sparkles.”
Thank you to all the Holt families who shared their stories and thank you, SixSeeds, for giving in service of orphaned, abandoned and vulnerable children!
To read the Blumenthals’ story, click here.
Through candid (and often funny!) observations and heartwarming personal stories, a Holt adoptive mother shares the challenges and joys of parenting adopted children
For the past three years, Holt adoptive parent Jane Ballback has shared her adoption stories with families waiting to bring their children home. An adoptive parent for 24 years, Jane speaks at parent training classes led by Holt Social Worker Mike Guinn. Mike offers the formal training. Jane presents the personal experiences relating to the issues being discussed.
“I provide the stories that bring the theories alive and help new parents figure out what they are about to face,” says Jane. “Everyone loves a good story, and mine are real, relatable and memorable. Adoption concepts are rather abstract and hard to explain until you understand how the theories play out in real life.”
Starting today, Jane will share her thoughts and stories on Holt’s blog once a week. The theories and issues discussed will be relevant to new adoptive families as well as families who have had their children home for some time. Our hope is that Jane’s blogs will serve as an educational tool for adoptive parents and also as a catalyst for candid, meaningful discussion.
Feel free to comment on Jane’s blog entries with your own suggestions, questions and personal stories as they relate to the topic being discussed.
Jane’s daughter, Stacee, will also occasionally be joining her mother as a guest blogger.
The following is a message from Jane:
Hello, my name is Jane and I am one of the luckiest women in the world. I have been married forty years to the “boy” I met in high school, I’ve had a fascinating and rewarding career as a Human Resource Consultant and Career Coach, and now that I’m retired I get to do volunteer work for non-profits whose missions are near and dear to my heart.
The best part of this story, though, is that along the way my husband and I adopted three children from Korea, who are now young adults. Being a parent was the hardest job I’ve ever done, and watching them grow and develop has been the experience of a lifetime.
I’ve always been an intensively curious woman and learning to be an adoptive parent was one of my greatest endeavors. Determined to be the best parent I could, I talked to adoption experts, read everything I could find about parenting adoptive children, and when I was “in over my head”, I worked with a gifted child psychologist, who is herself, adopted.
I was, by no means a “perfect” parent. Along the way I stumbled, survived, learned and laughed. The idea for this blog came out of the volunteer work I do for Holt International. For three years now I’ve been working with the Southern California social worker, helping to train parents who are waiting for their new arrival. He does the formal training and introduces the adoption theories and ideas – I provide the stories that bring the theories alive, and help new parents figure out what they are about to face. Everyone loves a good story, and mine are real, relatable and memorable.
I thought my first story would be about my daughter, Stacee who is now twenty years old and a junior in college. I want to introduce Stacee to you because she will periodically be blogging with me. I have often been asked how it is possible to love a child that is not your own. I understand the question — it’s just difficult to answer, so I often tell this story.
I actually did forget once, that I was not my daughter’s “real” mother. When Stacee was three she had a persistent fever and was turning bright red. After a few days of trying to figure this out, my pediatrician told me to drive directly to the Children’s Hospital and get her admitted. He suspected, rightfully so, that she had Kawasoki’s Disease. This is an unusual disease, common among Asians with just these symptoms. It’s a very treatable disease, but time was of the essence and the result of not treating it was the possibility of permanent damage to Stacee’s heart.
As I sat in the admitting department, with this hot, bright red child on my lap, I was distraught to say the least. The nurse began getting a history from me, Read More
In honor of National Adoption Month, Holt adoptive mother of 2-year-old Zoey (shown in the video) and adoptee Kimberly Williams Shuck created a video of children who came home to their families through the journey of adoption! She hopes that it will inspire others to consider adoption as a wonderful way to build a family.
I reached out to thirty or so of my friends from the adoption world and they provided me with a picture of their children and families brought together through adoption! I knew that anyone considering adoption had to see the faces of the children who had found their families, making one less orphan in the world.
I will do everything I can to be a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves and spread the word about the miracle of adoption.
Adoption has its struggles, financially and emotionally for all involved, but just know that in the end God has a clear- cut plan for where each and every person’s path meets.
I hope that you will watch the video and pass it along, unknowing of who it may inspire and ultimately lead to new adoption journeys.
Start your adoption journey today!…Click here to learn more.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. (Psalm 46:1-3)
Following the January earthquake and a recent cholera outbreak, Hurricane Tomas is the third natural disaster to hit Haiti this year.
At the Holt Fontana Village, the child care center Holt supports in Haiti, staff on the ground have been preparing for the coming storm for the past week – stockpiling a month’s worth of food and water and checking medical supplies.
“For the families in the Fanmi Ansanm program in Montrouis and Jacmel, since it is hurricane season, the families have all received trainings on hurricane preparedness,” says Sarah Halfman, Holt’s director of programs in Latin America, Haiti and Romania. In addition to nutritional and educational support, the 234 families in Holt’s family preservation program receive weekly family wellness trainings. Different topics are discussed, including disease prevention and hurricane preparedness.
Mansour Masse, Holt’s Haiti director, reports that families in our family preservation program are safe.
This weekend, Holt asks that you keep the people of Haiti in your prayers. Pray for ongoing safety for the children and families in our care and strength and courage for all Haitian people as they struggle through yet another tragedy.