At Her Point of Greatest Need

After her husband died, Shabnam and her five children were grief-stricken and without options. But then, sponsors brought hope.  

He was a river diver. In the Yamuna, the most polluted river in all of India, he dove below the surface to collect metals — copper, silver, gold if he was lucky. But one day, his foot got caught.

His wife and five children waited for him to come home, but he never did…

Continue reading “At Her Point of Greatest Need”

2 Things We Try Before International Adoption

Do you know that Holt does more than adoption? Learn more about how our child-centric model drives our work, which includes programs to strengthen families!
Holt does more than adoption?!

A misconception we often hear is that Holt International is only an adoption agency. This probably stems from our long history in international adoption, but in truth, Holt serves far more children through programs that help them stay with their families.

At Holt, we in fact consider international adoption to be the last, best option for children. Holt’s model of adoption is child-centric, meaning that we uphold the needs of the child as our number one priority. Through this model, international adoption is the final effort we make to ensure that every child has a loving and secure home.

We believe, first and foremost, that every child deserves to grow and thrive in the loving care of their family, whenever possible.

To that end, we strengthen families who are on the edge and need just a little assistance to stay together. We do this through nutritional, financial, health, education and counseling services, which provide the tools and resources families need to independently care for their children. These programs would not be possible without our generous child sponsors!

Do you know that Holt does more than adoption? Learn more about how our child-centric model drives our work, which includes programs to strengthen families!Read about how Holt’s family strengthening program helped single moms in Haiti like Julia be able to provide for her family!

Unfortunately, and far too often, children are unable to stay with their birth family for a variety of reasons. While we strive to reunite children with their families when this happens, many children remain growing up in orphanages. When that is the case, our goal is to find a family through domestic adoption — which gives a child the opportunity to grow up in the country and culture of his or her birth.

Do you know that Holt does more than adoption? Learn more about how our child-centric model drives our work, which includes programs to strengthen families!

Finally, if the child is still waiting, then we begin to look at international adoption as a way to find a permanent and loving family. We understand the challenges that come with a child being adopted into a new country and culture, and so when international adoption becomes our only choice, we work very hard to make sure that the parents are as prepared as possible to care for the child. We have systems in place to prepare and support both the family and the adoptee — from the moment they apply to the moment they come home, and again when they need support, at any time throughout their lives.

Do you know that Holt does more than adoption? Learn more about how our child-centric model drives our work, which includes programs to strengthen families!Read about how international adoption gave Rini a chance at life.

Each child’s journey to a loving and secure home is different. But when you are matched, rest assured that every option was explored, and that international adoption was the best option for your child.

 

Learn more about what we do!

 

Hurricane Matthew Relief Update

How Holt’s staff in Haiti is using your donations to help children in orphanage care, as well as single mothers, their children and their families to recover and rebuild.

Matthew - Flooding in the South
Flooding in southern Haiti following Hurricane Matthew.

The worst humanitarian crisis to strike Haiti since the country’s devastating earthquake on January 12, 2010.

That is how the United Nations described the impact of Hurricane Matthew, a category-5 tropical cyclone that ravaged the southern coast of Haiti in early October 2016.

As torrential rain and 145-mile-per-hour winds downed communications systems, we lost all internet contact with our staff in Port-au-Prince. Two days later, we received a very brief email from our country director: “Lots damaged. I am in tears. We need donations and volunteers.”

In the aftermath of the hurricane, we were relieved to hear that the children and families in our programs were safe. But the destruction to homes and orphanages left them more vulnerable than ever and immediately, we began collecting donations from our supporters — raising over $40,000 to help repair the damage. Continue reading “Hurricane Matthew Relief Update”

I Will Never Abandon You

How one woman in Vietnam used a small donor-funded investment to grow her business, build her confidence and create a safe and stable home for her grandson.

img_2989
Lai holds her grandson, Binh, in front of her food cart.

Lai wraps her tiny frame and arms around her shy, chubby grandson, Binh. She bounces him playfully, jutting her hip out to help support his weight. Her eyes are soft-hearted and sparkling, her face radiant with joy. She has the energy of someone half her age.

Behind Lai, an open garage door leads to the main room of her street-side apartment — a small and sparsely decorated space that empties onto a bustling sidewalk in Danang, Vietnam. Her sidewalk is set up like a small café — with little tables and chairs strategically filling the space. On the curb, Lai’s wheeled kitchen cart is filled with fruit and blenders, juice and straws — ready for customers. Continue reading “I Will Never Abandon You”

With Hope In Sight

In the Philippines, children and adults with even common disabilities, like blindness, face stigma so great that it affects every aspect of their life, including their ability to find jobs, educational opportunities or even safe, adequate housing. Some families, like single father Romy and his two Holt-sponsored children, live in isolation from their broader communities — out of sight and out of mind. But Romy is smart, savvy and motivated to build a better life for his children. Learn how $100 and just a little support from his community has given Romy and his sons greater hope for the future.

IMG_1749
Children living in Romy’s neighborhood play under a tarp-covered walk way during a rainstorm in February 2016.

Romy de Luna is a tall, slender man with a kind, soft face. It’s raining hard in Manila today, and Romy huddles under a ripped white tarp that’s draped from the cinderblock doorway of his storefront — a wide set of steal bars painted bright blue and covered by thick grated wire to keep passersby from reaching through. The 10×12-foot space behind these bars serves as both his business, and his home. On one wall a computer — the only computer in Romy’s neighborhood — sits behind a plexiglass case. It’s coin operated, so any user can pay one peso, or about 2 cents, for five minutes of Internet use. Currently, a teenage boy stands at Romy’s computer, scrolling through his Facebook feed.

Romy is one of 51 families from his neighborhood in urban Manila, Philippines enrolled in a Holt-funded program intended to help keep vulnerable children in school and help struggling families learn the skills to increase their incomes. With the help of Holt donors and child sponsorship, Romy’s children receive support to ensure they are successful in school by providing supplies, lunches and other necessities, including a community development advocate who visits with the family regularly. Romy attends monthly meetings with the other families from his neighborhood, and they discuss common hardships, share advice, discuss business success and receive lessons from Holt’s partner staff on such topics as good hygiene practices, financial planning and raising strong, healthy children. Like Romy, all 51 families in the program have school-aged children living in their homes and all run a sari-sari — or “assorted goods” — store. As a part of the program, they can access small, low-interest loans, which they use to expand their product offerings or grow their business. They repay the loans, interest free, in small, weekly payments. Then, they can borrow again. Continue reading “With Hope In Sight”

Sponsorship = Healthy Children, Stable Families, Strong Communities.

If we ever wish to see a world where every child has a permanent, loving family, then keeping families on the verge of separation together is critical.

In Cambodia, this concept is absolutely central to Holt’s programs.

With the generosity and commitment of sponsors like you, Holt’s on-the-ground partners are empowering women to combat some of the biggest threats to family stability — migration, trafficking, poverty, poor job opportunities and food shortages.

By training moms in diversified sustainable agriculture (a fancy way of saying farming and ranching), they are able to generate enough income to provide for their families without migrating for work. This helps to keep children safe. By creating women’s self-help groups and community loan programs, women are learning to save money and also have access to low-interest loans. This helps ensure children’s basic needs are met. And, by providing children with school supplies, teachers, advocates and education-based leadership opportunities, children are staying in school longer and staying safe from exploitation, abuse and trafficking. And, children share what they’ve learned with their parents, too.

All together, these efforts mean healthier, happier children, stable families and stronger communities.

And it’s all because of you, because you provide the support to ensure these programs are possible. By sponsoring a child, you are giving a voice to the voiceless and preventing child abandonment, and not just in Cambodia but everywhere Holt has programs.

In early February, Holt staff had the opportunity to visit children and families in Cambodia, and we hope you will take a minute to see how sponsorship is transforming the lives of children and families in two of the poorest districts, Prey Veng and Kampot.

You can read more about Holt’s programs in Cambodia here.

Top 15 Stories of 2015

The year 2015 was an excellent year in stories on the Holt blog — so much so that we expanded our Top 10 list to a Top 15 of the year!

In 2015, Holt’s creative lead, Billie Loewen, and I traveled to India, where we witnessed the incredible impact of Holt’s child nutrition program, gained new understanding on how Holt’s local partners are helping some of their country’s most vulnerable children and families, and met profoundly inspiring young women who refuse to accept the gender inequities that are far too common in their native India. In 2015, China announced major changes to their one-child policy — inspiring an essay by Chinese adoptee Lillian Schmaltz — and significantly expanded options for single applicants such as Vicky Baker, whose story of opening her heart and home to a son was among the most viewed of the year. Perhaps what’s most exciting this year is that a number of submissions from adoptees topped the list. In fact, the top four most viewed blog posts of 2015 came from Holt adoptees! 

Without further ado, we are so excited to share Holt’s Top 15 Most Viewed Blogs of 2015, including five adoptee stories, five adoptive family stories and five stories about efforts to strengthen families and uplift orphaned and vulnerable children in our programs around the world. — Robin Munro, Managing Editor Continue reading “Top 15 Stories of 2015”

Happy, Healthy and Dry

Six-year-old Sokha and his family live in the most impoverished region of Cambodia where many families are forced to migrate or make their children work to earn extra income. But now, with help from Holt and the Child and Life Association, they have hope. Equipped with resources, education and support, Sokha and his family can now escape poverty and transform their future.

When it rains in rural Cambodia, 6-year-old Sokha* and his family have little hope of staying dry. The wind and water easily make it through the palm leaf walls and deteriorating steel roof of their small home. They do their best to dodge the drips and drops, but eventually end up drenched.

Continue reading “Happy, Healthy and Dry”

MYTH: Most children in Holt’s sponsorship program need adoptive families

Adoption-Myth-Sponsored-ChildrenWe love — and I mean, whole-heartedly celebrate — when Holt supporters join together to find a family for a child who has waited far too long to feel the loving, nurturing attention of doting parents and siblings.

When an orphaned or abandoned child gets a second chance at a family, that’s a truly amazing and miraculous event. It’s worth getting excited about.email1-Reaching-the-most-vulnerable-375x44

But, at the heart of adoption is a simple, but heartbreaking truth. Adoption is God’s way to redeem traumatic, life-changing loss. Every adopted child has endured the loss of his or her birth family. And while adoption is beautiful and wonderful, we want to help avoid the pain and trauma of abandonment, whenever possible.

That’s why so much of Holt’s mission is focused on preventing child abandonment and keeping families together. When we meet a struggling family vulnerable to separation due to illness, poverty or other factors, we work with child sponsors to provide ongoing support and resources — enough to help families overcome hardship and create a stable, healthy home for their children to grow and thrive.

For every child who joins a loving family in the U.S. through adoption, child sponsors help thousands more children to stay or reunite with their birth families. Continue reading “MYTH: Most children in Holt’s sponsorship program need adoptive families”