Thank You, David Kim

On January 25, 2018, we said a heartbroken goodbye to Dr. David Hyungbok Kim, who alongside Harry and Bertha Holt pioneered the modern practice of international adoption. He lived 86 extraordinary years.

Earlier this year, as summer turned to fall, Holt leaders and donors came together to create a tribute to our founders in the lobby of our building in Eugene. Along one wall we would hang framed photos of Harry and Bertha Holt above a glass case holding pieces from our history as an organization. Medals and awards, flight logs and newspaper clippings. A copy of the original Holt Bill allowing Harry and Bertha to bring home eight children from Korea. A pair of pink Korean silk shoes that Bertha once wore.

But along one wall — a wall that runs the full length of the room — we would create a mosaic with pictures of children who have come home to families over the years. Pieced together, in shadow and light, these individual photos would capture the image of one person whose legacy is truly bound to every child who has ever came home to a family through international adoption. A person who, with a deep Christian faith, devoted his whole life to advocating for orphaned and homeless children.

Truly, whenever and wherever you see a child in the loving care of a family to which they were not born, you see the beautiful heart and the incredible, enduring legacy of Dr. David Hyungbok Kim. Continue reading “Thank You, David Kim”

A Stork Bound for South Jersey

Twenty-two years ago, William Davis wasn’t just adopted by a family. He was adopted by a region. Now, he aims to give back to the community that gave him a love for baseball, and a place to call home. William’s essay was a finalist in Holt’s 2016 adoptee essay contest. 

White Coat
William with his parents at his medical school’s “white coat” ceremony.

I don’t remember my parents ever telling me that I was adopted. I certainly knew at an early age; I remember responding to another child’s, “Do you know that you’re adopted?” with an off-handed, “Of course,” when I was 7 or so. I wasn’t that perceptive, though, as apparently my parents had told me when I was even younger, showing me videos of me coming home from Philadelphia International Airport and pictures of my brief time in South Korea from time to time.

I think that molded how I thought of adoption. From my (very basic) understanding of cognitive development, really young children’s brains aren’t entirely convinced that something has actually happened if they don’t experience it firsthand. That meant that being adopted was just a word, something that might not even exist, especially compared to all the hugs and kisses and band-aids and bedtimes from Mom and Dad. Continue reading “A Stork Bound for South Jersey”

No Fairytale Ending

Courtney Young, an adoptee and member of Holt’s marketing and development team, met her birth mother during her first trip to Korea with Holt. Here, she discusses family, culture and the complexities of adoption.

Courtney Young (center) with her biological aunt (far left), grandfather, mother and another aunt.

My niece’s recent obsession is playing princess. She’s 4, inspired by a recent trip to Disney World and the movie “Frozen,” and she reenacts the climatic fairytale over and over again. We all indulge her and it’s probably the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen.

When I was 4, I would pretend to live in fairytales too. It was more along the lines of “Anastasia” — a little girl relinquished by her birth parents who later discovers that she belonged to a royal family. One day, if I ever reunited with my birth parents, I thought they too would be some kind of royalty or something. Of course, in my head I knew that wasn’t true, but the imagination has to start somewhere, and I had a pretty solid base for my fantasy.

Continue reading “No Fairytale Ending”

A Selfless Act of Pure Love

A mom learns of the extraordinary kindness and generosity of Holt sponsors.

by Amy Lafler 

My husband Barry and I started the adoption process for our first son, Evan, in July of 2007. We were matched with him in August of 2008 and brought him home in December of that year. Best Christmas present ever! Evan is a smart, handsome and thoughtful little boy who loves to build. We are positive that he will be building or designing something when he grows up. He started kindergarten this year, and is doing very well academically.

Shortly after we came home with Evan, we knew we wanted him to have a brother or sister and almost immediately began the adoption process again. We were matched with our twin daughters in March 2012 and traveled to Korea to bring them home that November. Kassandra and Addison complement each other very well, but are still developing their own interests. Kassi is very interested in anything her big brother is doing, and Addie loves to sing and dance. They have only been home for a year, so we are still seeing their personalities emerge.

During the wait for our girls, the rules changed in Korea. This gave adoptive parents a chance to connect to each other and support one another during the wait. Several Facebook groups were set up to encourage one another when the waiting days seemed endless. Additionally, it gave waiting families the opportunity to cheer for each other when one of us was finally united with our child. Today, we are all learning from each other, helping to raise our kiddos together and supporting each other through the journey of parenthood. We have such an amazing connection in our group. We just “get each other.”

It was in this group that I learned of Holt child sponsorship, and its connection to our family.

Continue reading “A Selfless Act of Pure Love”