Tomorrow I Will Meet a Biological Family Member for the First Time in My Life

In searching for her birth mom, Holt adoptee Krista Gause meets her first biological family member — though not the one she expected. This post originally appeared on Krista’s blog, Adopted and Korean

A few weeks ago it was January 17, the first time in my life that I recognized and memorialized my birth mother’s death. It was quiet and it was sad, but it went on like any other day of my life. And then a couple weeks later I went to a doctor’s appointment.

“No husband today?”

“Nope just me, his sister is getting married tomorrow so he’s super busy at the office preparing for the day off.”

“That’s so exciting, how is he doing? Only a few weeks away!”

“He’s doing good! Taking care of me really well…he’s a little nervous.”

“That’s normal, how about you?”

“Me? I’m doing really good. A little nervous too, but mostly just excited.”

“What are you most excited about?”

“Well you know…I’m adopted… Continue reading “Tomorrow I Will Meet a Biological Family Member for the First Time in My Life”

Top 16 Blogs of 2016

This past year, our organization celebrated 60 years of serving orphaned and vulnerable children and families in countries across the globe. Over these six decades, our work has touched the lives of thousands of people — people whose lives collectively tell the story of who we are as an organization. Their stories are the story of Holt International. And in 2016, many of these people once again graciously shared their life experiences with our readers.

For the first time, we held an adoptee essay contest, asking adoptees to share how adoption shapes or has shaped their identity. We received a number of thoughtful submissions, and featured the winning essay by Noel Hincha in our annual adoption magazine. I am happy to share that the essay penned by one of our runner-ups in the contest is among this year’s top most-viewed blogs of 2016!

Following last year’s trend, stories written by and about adoptees once again topped the list — receiving thousands of views on Facebook and the Holt blog. Among them is a letter one adoptee wrote to her late birth mother, grieving the fact that it was too late for them to meet; a story about a first-generation adoptee reuniting with the man who cared for him in Korea; and a piece by an adoptee from China who describes what the adoption experience was like for her.

Among our Top 16 Blogs of 2016, we also included five stories about our overseas programs — from a story written by a trailblazing woman in our unwed mothers program in Korea to a story about a boy who learned how to express himself for the first time at the Yesus Mena Deaf School that we support in Ethiopia.

And of course, stories by and about adoptive families are always popular among our readers — particularly among families new to the process who appreciate the insight and wisdom that veteran families have to offer. This year, six adoption stories had the most impact on our readers, including, at the top of the list, a heartfelt piece written under a pseudonym by an adoptive mom who wanted to share the truth about raising children with HIV. As more and more families adopt children with more involved and complex special needs, the experiences of these families become increasingly influential — inspiring other families to adopt children with HIV, congenital heart disease or, as one of our top stories explores in detail, Thalassemia.

As we reflect on the year 2016, and on the last 60 years, we thank the many, many adoptees, families, sponsors, donors, staff members, partners and children and families in our programs for your willingness to share what can be very personal and sometimes heart-wrenching experiences. You moved us. You inspired us. And perhaps most importantly, you instructed us. Every year, we continue to learn and grow from what you share with Holt staff and supporters. And we are so, so grateful for your being a part of our story, the Holt story. — Robin Munro, Managing Editor

Top Five Adoptee Stories

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Krista in Korea: A Letter to My Birth Mother

Over the summer, Holt adoptee Krista Gause traveled on the Holt Heritage Tour to Korea. Before her departure, she wrote an honest and heartfelt letter to her birth mother, sharing about her life and grieving the fact that it was too late for them to meet.  Continue reading “Top 16 Blogs of 2016”

A Story I Won’t Stop Sharing

For most of her life, Holt adoptee Molly Martin viewed her adoption as something that just “happened.”  But after traveling to Thailand to meet her birth mom, she developed a completely different outlook — and a deeper understanding of how loved she truly is. Molly’s story was a finalist in Holt’s 2016 adoptee essay contest. 

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For someone who was adopted at a young age, being adopted seems, for lack of a better word, normal. For as long as I can remember, except for a few blurry memories, being adopted is all that I have known. I don’t really remember what it was like not to be adopted, so being adopted has always seemed somewhat natural and definitely not really anything worth talking about. However, at the same time, being adopted isn’t normal. While I can’t speak for all kids that have been adopted, I think a lot of us, at some point or another, have entertained the thought that our situations aren’t normal. Surely, not looking like my family wasn’t normal and the thought that my biological family did not want me was always in the back of my mind. But those aren’t exactly things that most kids want to talk about. Continue reading “A Story I Won’t Stop Sharing”

Never Give Up

After Holt adoptee Emily Thornton’s search for her birth mother came to an inconclusive end in 2014, she thought that was it. Then she learned about a search tool that has brought some success to other adoptees — restoring her hope, and inspiring her to launch a second search.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetOver a year has passed since my initial, inconclusive search for my birth mother. Although my life is plenty full — a new home, full time work and a near part-time hobby (photography) — not a day goes by that I don’t think about who she is. Whether it is a fleeting drop of disappointment or an entire night wrapped in my husband’s arms grieving, I press on — trying not to let it eat away at my heart. I miss her without even knowing her name. Deeply and inexplicably, I miss her.

Continue reading “Never Give Up”