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.”
When adoptive mom Cindy Lamb visits with students at the Yesus Mena Deaf School in Ethiopia, her fluency in sign language helps her communicate. But it’s another language that creates the most soulful connection.
This past October, my husband, Steve, and I had the rare privilege of participating in the perfect intersection of a lifetime of interests and passions when we traveled to Ethiopia on a medical mission trip with Holt. Holt helped build and still supports Shinshicho Primary Hospital and also supports Yesus Mena Deaf School in the same town. Steve is a family practice physician and I am an RN with a graduate degree in deaf education. Twenty-two years ago, we adopted a 4-year-old daughter through Holt who is deaf. So, when we were asked to participate in a medical mission trip to Shinshicho with an opportunity to also be involved with the deaf school, we were immediately determined to be a part of the adventure. Read More
What do chicks, fish, a food cart and a garden all have in common? For one family in Thailand, it’s anything but luck.
“She’s a smart woman,” says Jintana Nontapouraya, the executive director of Holt’s longtime partner organization in Thailand. “Just unlucky.”
Rada’s life was going well. She had graduated from technical school and was pursuing a university degree when her whole life changed. In the second year of her accounting program, her father passed away.
Today, 37-year-old Rada sits on the floor of her home, sharing about this difficult time in her life. She wears a zebra-striped jumpsuit and tendrils of her black hair, blown loose by the fan on this hot day, wisp across her face.
“After my father died, a family member who was a fortune teller told me that I had to come home and become a Buddhist nun,” Rada says, “or else I would die.”
Feeling like she had no other option, that’s what she did. After several days of serving in the Buddhist temple, she got a job selling brand-name shoes in one of Bangkok’s largest shopping centers.
“During that time, when I was around 18 or 19,” says Rada, “I met the children’s father.”
She became pregnant with their first child, and they moved in with his parents.
“He usually didn’t work,” Rada says about the children’s father. “He depended on his own mother and father and I worked most of the time. And he was very jealous when I would go work.” His jealousy turned violent.
Levi was born 14 weeks early, weighing just 2.87 pounds. But in spite of his difficult start he is moving forward like a champ! He was diagnosed with left ventricle dilatation and right closed-type schizencephaly, which causes the right side of his body to be weaker than his left.
However, with the help of some physical therapy, Levi has learned how to walk, climb, stand on one foot and much more! Now, you can find him playing on the playground and going down the slides. Read More
Juliese Padgett was adopted through Holt in 2008 from Guangzhou, China when she was three. Now, as an 11 year old, she is sharing her first published book — a children’s story that encourages all kids to respect the differences in each other. And, she is donating all the proceeds to Holt to help children who are waiting for families. Here, Juliese shares what inspired her to write The Newest Flower.
When I was in second grade, my class was doing a study on Martin Luther King, Jr. We were talking about different skin tones, and my teacher held up a fan of colored construction paper: black, brown, tan, beige, white, and some other primary colors. Then, the class came up and held their hands to the paper; the point of the lesson was to show us that skin tones are not “black” or “white”. Because everyone in my class was Caucasian, my Asian-colored skin looked even darker and was pointed out by a classmate. This experience made me feel like an outcast, and eventually, my parents decided that it would be better for me to finish out the year being homeschooled with my two brothers. Read More
Wow, what a fantastic National Adoption Month it has been! Thanks for following along and advocating for children with special needs!
In the month of November, 172 families requested adoption information, 55 families submitted their adoption application, and 10 children from our waiting child photolisting were matched with permanent, loving families! We’ve also had a much higher than normal number of inquiries, specifically about children with Down syndrome! (And three of the children we matched this month have Down syndrome!) This is a direct result of your advocacy!
National Adoption Month may be over, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop advocating for children with special needs! In case you missed anything, below are links and a summary of all of our National Adoption Month posts — de-mystifying some of the most common or misunderstood special needs, and raising awareness about children who need families.
Read up, share them with your friends, and be an advocate all year long!