Their Greatest Strength is Love

When Vieng’s husband got sick and could not work, their family quickly fell into crisis. But they had inherent strengths as a family that held them together. And when a donor sent them a much-needed Gift of Hope, they were able to build on those strengths — empowering them to overcome any crisis they faced, now or in the future.

Hung climbs behind his mom and dangles his arms around her in a big bear hug. She grabs his hands and laughs — smiling up at him. Hung is 4, dressed in a plaid golfer’s cap and puffy coat on this cool, 60-degree morning in Danang, Vietnam. He looks like a miniature version of his mom — with round, dimpled cheeks and warm, dark, shining eyes that shine even brighter when he smiles.

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Special Needs Adoption Fund: Bringing Home Shelby

Every day 2-year-old Shelby Jane spent in an orphanage in China, she grew weaker. She needed to come home to her adoptive family — and fast — but finances stood in the way. That’s when a Holt donor stepped in to help.

Two-year-old Shelby Jane had a hole in her tiny heart, a blood condition called thalassemia and chronic cases of pneumonia and bronchitis that caused her to be hospitalized just about every month of her 24-month life. She could not speak, could not crawl and could not chew food. Every day she spent in an orphanage in China, she grew weaker.

Her adoptive parents, Michelle and Adam Campbell, needed to bring her home — and fast.

“We knew we needed to go get her because she wasn’t getting the care she needed. Waiting,” Michelle says, “wasn’t an option.”

Shelby at her orphanage in China before coming home to her family.
Shelby at her orphanage in China before coming home to her family. While living in the orphanage, Shelby spent part of every month in the hospital due to pneumonia or bronchitis.

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It Takes a Village: Holt Sponsors Change Lives in Ethiopia

Shinshicho — a district capital in southern Ethiopia.

Ten years ago, Holt sponsors began supporting children and families in the impoverished community of Shinshicho — a district capital in southern Ethiopia where goats and cattle still roam the unpaved roads that lead through town, few homes or businesses have electricity or running water, and donkeys are the primary mode of transportation.

Here, as throughout Ethiopia, years of civil war and drought have robbed many families of their livelihoods, while famine and illness have robbed many children of their parents. Most families in rural Ethiopia subsist on what they can grow on small plots of land, which is often just barely enough to feed their families. But in 2008, when Holt began working alongside local leaders and community elders, life began to change for many children and families in Shinshicho. Continue reading “It Takes a Village: Holt Sponsors Change Lives in Ethiopia”

Holt International & WACAP Merge to Strengthen Resources, Impact for Families Worldwide

Phil Littleton, president and CEO of Holt International, shares about the merger of Holt International and World Association for Parents and Children (WACAP). 

Today, we are making an exciting announcement that will better position Holt International to do the mission-critical, child welfare work at the heart of our organization. Holt will merge with World Association for Parents and Children (WACAP) — a highly respected international adoption and child welfare agency — under the name Holt International Children’s Services on April 1, 2019.

Holt International first pioneered international adoption in 1956 and today remains the global leader in adoption. Founded in 1976, WACAP has united thousands of children with families in the U.S., and has also developed strong foster care and foster care adoption programs in the state of Washington. But while both Holt and WACAP have remained leaders in international adoption, the recent downward trend in adoption has called for a different strategy—one that creates a united front and a merging of efforts to ensure every child has a loving and secure home. Continue reading “Holt International & WACAP Merge to Strengthen Resources, Impact for Families Worldwide”

Surely, All of Us Can Learn — The Migrant Daycare in India

 Life can be harsh for migrant families in Bengaluru, India. But for 330 young children and their families, this Holt-supported daycare brings education, development, community and hope.

Three-year-old Dipika walks through the door, clutching her mother’s hand. After getting signed in, she walks wide-eyed down the hall where her mom gives her a hug before dropping her off in the classroom. Within seconds, Dipika’s eyes brim over with tears, joining a roomful of other bawling 3-year-olds.

This sound coming from the 3- and 4-year-old room is in sharp contrast to the colorful walls, toys and smiling staff throughout this building.

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Circle Back: A Program by Adoptees, for Adoptees

Designed for Adoptees, by Adoptees, Holt’s Circle Back program strives to help youth Adoptees build a positive identity. Co-creator Caitlin Howe explains how.

Caitlin (center) with youth Adoptee campers at last year's Holt Adoptee Camp.
Caitlin (center) with youth Adoptee campers at last year’s Holt Adoptee Camp. Feedback from campers in many ways informed and guided the development of Circle Back.

“Hey, what are you doing right now?” I said, laughing.

“Oh, I’m just making a sandwich real quick — but don’t worry, I’m still listening!”

I watched with amusement as Aya set the phone down and went from fridge to kitchen counter gathering ingredients. My fascination grew as she threw a sandwich together in 10 seconds. We had started our video chat just as she had arrived home from school, and before I knew it, she was settling into her living room couch and eating as we talked. She shared about her current classes and also her hopes to be a camp counselor next summer. And we traded stories about being in high school and getting ready for whatever comes next. As we chatted, early evening light spilled into her apartment in Chicago as the sun broke through the clouds here in Oregon. Continue reading “Circle Back: A Program by Adoptees, for Adoptees”

Return to Hong Kong: One Adoptive Mom & Daughter Look Back

As Holt reestablishes an international adoption program in Hong Kong, adoptee Amy Banta and her mom, Julie, reflect on their lifelong journey together — and the orphanage in Hong Kong where they first met nearly 26 years ago.

Julie (left) and Amy in a recent photo at home.

A Beautiful Mess

My knee-jerk reaction to inquiries regarding my life is to respond with how simple and relatively ordinary it is. Yet in looking back on my 29 years, I am reminded of how my odds-defying early life ultimately shaped who I am today. I was 4 years old when my mom and Grandma “Lo” came to Mother’s Choice in Hong Kong to bring me home to America. While the actual adoption required no work on my end, I am humbled and deeply thankful for every person who fought on my behalf.

I grew up in Colleyville, Texas as one of seven children and I highly recommend the large family life. Organized chaos becomes a reality when your mom is a teacher. I truly cannot imagine life without my sisters or brothers and their individual impact on me. Continue reading “Return to Hong Kong: One Adoptive Mom & Daughter Look Back”