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!

 

Blow out the candles and make a wish.

Kids and birthdays go together. Need proof? Just watch the video above, where we ask kids why birthdays are the best day of the year.

Birthdays are a great day to remind children how special they are, how much we love them and that they are making the world a better place, simply by being themselves.

Send you sponsored child a special birthday card!

But children living in an impoverished place or facing a difficult hardship, like the child you sponsor, may rarely have a chance to hear that they are valuable, precious and worthy of celebration.

That’s why International Day of the Child is so fun! On June 1, because of you and your generosity, your sponsored child just gets to act like a kid.

They eat special treats, play fun games, spend time with their families and friends and open a present just for them.

But, it’s only because of kind and compassionate sponsors that this special day is possible. Continue reading “Blow out the candles and make a wish.”

Stigma and the Unwed Mom

Why does the distinction between children who have lost their parents through relinquishment or through family death or abandonment matter? It matters because if we hope to create a world where every child has a loving, secure home, then we need to understand how and why women choose to relinquish their children — and work to remedy those reasons.

Relinquished.

Take that word and roll it around.

Can you feel the pain it carries? The questions it leaves unanswered?

It’s sharp and clinical.

What it hides is the pain — the pain of the woman losing her child; the pain of the child losing his or her family.

It also masks the complex and surprising reasons why a woman may choose to relinquish her child.

Saanvi* was 24 years old when she became pregnant with her son. At the time, she had already earned a master’s degree in computer science. She liked reading, dancing and cooking. She’d known the father of her child since she was a child herself, and they loved each other very much.

However, Saanvi and her boyfriend weren’t married, and the weight of their pregnancy hung heavy on her heart. She knew her options were limited in India. Continue reading “Stigma and the Unwed Mom”

Holt Philippines Partner KBF Celebrates 40 Years of Serving Children

 

In December 2015, Holt’s long-time partner in the Philippines, KBF, celebrated 40 years of service to orphaned and vulnerable children!

Holt actually helped to establish KBF – the Kaisahang Buhay Foundation, or Working Together Foundation, in Manila — in 1975.  With Holt providing funding and technical assistance, a local team of professionals developed and staffed KBF. Though not a child care center, KBF became a resource for the many orphanages around the country. The staff worked to improve care conditions while also encouraging institutions to move children into permanent families.

In the 1980s, KBF broadened its outreach, establishing a medical sponsorship program, a day care center and a program to house street children. Through a family rehabilitation and outreach program, KBF also helped numerous other agencies increase their services to children.  In 1984, KBF introduced a model foster care program to provide attentive, loving care for children awaiting adoption. After a temporary stay in foster care, many children reunited with their birth families or joined  local or international adoptive families. Continue reading “Holt Philippines Partner KBF Celebrates 40 Years of Serving Children”

How Nutrition Changes Lives

Holt International’s Child Nutrition Program has seen amazing success since it began 3 years ago in India, China and Vietnam. But even more amazing are the stories of individual children whose lives and health have dramatically changed with better nutrition and feeding methods. 

Ajay* is a sweet young boy whose potential and personality were long unrealized. He lives in a care center in Pune, India and has cerebral palsy in addition to other physical and mental disabilities. He is almost 4 years old, but appears small and skinny for his age — a result of malnutrition. Ajay’s days are pretty uneventful: he lies in his crib and when he is fed, also while lying down, he is barely able to choke down his food.

Ayush with his care giver-2
Ajay, being fed by his caregiver.

But one day was different. On this day, he sat up in a chair for one of the first times ever. Although he can’t speak, the expression on his face and the light in his eyes seemed to clearly shout: “Hello world, here I am!”

Continue reading “How Nutrition Changes Lives”

Inspired Ideas, Generous Hearts

We’re always amazed by how truly talented and entrepreneurial so many of our supporters are in how they raise money and give to Holt. The people below are no exception. Read about what their creative and inspired ideas to provide for vulnerable children and families around the world. Thank you for your creativity, hard work and generosity!



 

Paige2

For her senior project, Holt adoptee Paige Worthington hosted a game night and sent out letters to raise money for children who need cleft lip and palate surgeries.

Holt adoptee Paige Worthington is a rock star when it comes to making a difference for kids in China. Back in 2008, when she was a third-grader, we featured Paige’s photo on our blog because she gave a presentation to her classmates about raising money for earthquake victims in China.

Now she’s a senior in high school and still doing big things to help abandoned and vulnerable children in China!

As she began to think about her high school senior project, Paige knew she wanted to use it as a fundraiser to support children in China through Holt.

Holt and the Holt China program have a special place in Paige’s heart. Not only is she herself a Holt adoptee from China, but so is her younger sister. She also has two cousins who are Korean adoptees through Holt. Continue reading “Inspired Ideas, Generous Hearts”

On Orphan Sunday, Raise Your Voice

Today, there are an estimated 132 million “orphans” in the world.

But did you know that 90 percent of these children actually have at least one parent who is alive, or an extended web of grandparents or family members?

In the United States, we would never consider the child of a single parent an orphan.

The same should be true for every child around the world. Although many children have endured the trauma of losing one parent, they still have family that love and care for them.

But even though their families love them, in far too many cases children end up abandoned or displaced — especially if they have already lost one parent. Or, too often, children and families survive without proper nutrition, clothing and other necessities that are essential for their wellbeing. Children are at constant risk of losing their families due to poverty, illness or other hardships. They are, in other words, at risk of becoming orphaned or abandoned.

Together, we can prevent that from happening…

On Sunday, November 8, churches across the globe will observe Orphan Sunday as a time to recognize the world’s most vulnerable children. As we recognize their great needs, we must back our sympathy with action. Continue reading “On Orphan Sunday, Raise Your Voice”

In Booming Bangalore, Children with Special Needs are Left Especially Vulnerable

In the progressive tech capital of India, jobs and work are plentiful — and while this is good news overall, some of the adverse side effects from rapid urbanization and an increasing migrant population make caring for orphaned and abandoned children with special needs particularly challenging. During a visit to partner program Swanthana in April, Holt Creative Lead Billie Loewen met the children and caregivers most affected by these challenges.

16-year-old Alyssa lives in a care center for children with special needs in Bangalore, India. Alyssa says she would like to be a teacher some day.
Sixteen-year-old Alyssa lives in a care center for children with special needs in Bangalore, India. Alyssa says she would like to be a teacher some day.

A pair of deep, brown eyes peer curiously around the corner of a dark hallway. Pushing herself through a doorway, a small girl with short hair and a long purple dress appears in an old, metal wheelchair. She keeps her head low, her eyes shielded behind a red headscarf. Her short hair is held back with a barrette and a bindi decorates her forehead.

Alyssa is 16 years old, and she is paralyzed from the waist down. Abandoned by her family years ago, likely due to her disability, Alyssa has lived in a home for children with profound special needs for three years. She is one of the few residents at her care center who is able to express her thoughts verbally. Her voice is quiet, but in English she will tell you about her dreams.

Alyssa wants to be a teacher, someday, and teach little children how to dream big. She wants to live independently.

Sadly, at the moment, Alyssa’s dream is just that — a dream. She doesn’t receive any life skills training because her caregivers are too busy for that kind of one-on-one attention. She never travels beyond the very limited borders of her care center. She is stuck in a world that has forgotten her, and it isn’t her fault. Continue reading “In Booming Bangalore, Children with Special Needs are Left Especially Vulnerable”

Anh’s Story

Anh* loves the color pink. She looks for it everywhere. In pictures. On toys. In the basket of colorful bouncy balls the children play with at her care center in northern Vietnam. So when her caregiver asks her to select a pair of shoes from the cupboard, her eyes naturally fall on the hot pink heels peeking out of the pile. Anh slips her feet into the pink sandals and practices walking along the balcony and up and down the stairs — her heels click-clacking on the hard ceramic tile.

For Anh, walking in heels is more than playing dress-up. For Anh, learning to put on shoes, walk down stairs, take off shoes and put them back in the cupboard is part of the occupational therapy she receives every Monday-Friday. With each step, she is learning a new skill.

Hanoi 2014 202
Anh in June 2014 with Holt’s in-country Vietnam director, Hang Dam.

A 6-year-old girl with short silky black hair and milky skin, Anh is the only child with special needs at her care center. Found abandoned at about 3 years old in the streets of Hanoi, she was diagnosed with autism shortly after coming into care. Anh cannot speak, but she engages the world in other ways. She does not hesitate to jump in your arms or sit in your lap, and easily takes the hand of her therapist or responds in kind to a “high five” — raising her arms and gently mirroring the gesture. Continue reading “Anh’s Story”

So Every Child Can Grow and Thrive

In one southern province of Vietnam, an alarming number of children are born with special needs — especially cerebral palsy. To help address the growing need for services, Holt is working alongside one local orphanage to provide daycare and vocational training for children with medical and developmental needs who are living with their families.

With the vocational skills she’s learning in orphanage care, Lan may one day be able to live an independent life.

Lan* rests her foot on the peddle and pauses a moment before pulling the next piece of thread through the loom. This task requires concentration and dexterity. But she has repeated these same steps enough times now to feel confident in her skills. It’s unusual that the orphanage has a few visitors on this overcast Saturday morning, and they observe her now as she carefully demonstrates how to make the colorful woven bags that they admired earlier in the glass case at the front office.

Lan learned to loom as part of a vocational training program for older children with special needs at the Binh Duong orphanage in southern Vietnam. This orphanage is also her home, and will be until she turns 18. Lan and her classmates keep all the profits from the bags they weave, which they sell to customers in the community. Weaving is a fun activity that provides Lan with a little spending money — especially during Christmas and other holidays, when local companies order in bulk. But more than that, the vocational skills Lan is learning can help her to support herself and possibly go on to live a fully independent life when she leaves the orphanage.

The vocational training program teaches the children how to weave these colorful bags, which local companies order in bulk during holidays.

The Binh Duong Child Welfare Center has provided vocational training for many years — often with support from Holt. In the late 1990s, Holt worked with Microsoft to donate computers and provide skills training to youth living in the orphanage. As a result, over 500 children went on to get jobs that required computer skills. The textile training program began about ten years ago. Programs and services like these are vital to helping young people succeed when they leave institutional care, and they are helping to address a growing need in the community. In recent years, this region has seen an alarming increase in the number of children with special needs, especially cerebral palsy. As a result, the orphanage has also seen a large influx. By 2013, a quarter of all children in care had some kind of special need.

Although the cause of this increase is unknown, the orphanage director points to one explanation during our visit.

This little girl came into care severely malnourished. With more outreach to pregnant mothers in crisis, the director believes that fewer children will be born premature, malnourished or with special needs.

Continue reading “So Every Child Can Grow and Thrive”