To the Warm-Hearted People

After her father died, Hyeon Ji relied on Holt child sponsors to help her finish school. Now, she has a message — and an update — to share with them. 

In early 2012, at 13 years old, Hyeon Ji began receiving support from sponsors to help her stay in school.

After Hyeon Ji’s parents  divorced, her mom left — and never tried to reconnect  with her.

But her dad was loving and kind and devoted to his daughter. He struggled to find work, but when he had the money he would take his daughter out for sushi dinners. When Hyeon Ji was in her early teens, he began working nights as a taxi driver — leaving Hyeon Ji home alone. She always felt safe, though — knowing he would eventually come home.   

When her father got sick, Hyeon Ji took care of him as best she could. For a while, he got better. Then, he got worse. When he passed away, Hyeon Ji was just 15. Continue reading “To the Warm-Hearted People”

From Ashes to Beauty

Given the strength to overcome her own struggles, child sponsor Karis Feezell strives to help others overcome theirs. 

Hello, my name is Karis Feezell. I am a determined, strong and compassionate 19-year-old artist who has struggled with physical issues all my life. I have cerebral palsy, Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, and birth defects in my hands and feet. When I was born, the umbilical cord was wrapped around my neck, resulting in lack of oxygen for eight minutes until I was revived. During this incident, my cerebellum was injured, causing constant, shaky tremors. The tremors make it a struggle to control my hands, particularly opening them.

That I have these issues, and can still draw and paint, is proof to me that God is still working miracles today. Continue reading “From Ashes to Beauty”

Jun Jun Urgently Needs a Cleft Lip Surgery

In China, children with special needs who are living in orphanage care often go without — or wait too long for — the medical care they need. These are children like Jun Jun…

Jun Jun is a child with special needs who is living in an orphanage in China.

Jun Jun’s cleft lip should have been repaired months ago. Most babies born with cleft lip and palate get their first surgery at 3 to 6 months old. But Jun Jun is nearly a year old.

His orphanage can’t afford the procedure. Continue reading “Jun Jun Urgently Needs a Cleft Lip Surgery”

Instant Family: A Review From Foster Siblings

Instant Family.

 

As “Instant Family” hit the big screen, there’s been a lot of buzz in the adoption community — is this an accurate view of adopting from foster care? What do adoptees, kids in foster care, adoptive parents, adoption social workers and birth parents think about it? There are many roles to take into account, and we’ve enjoyed the conversation about it! Caitlin Howe, our adoptee programs coordinator, along with her brother — formerly in the foster care system — both watched the movie and wanted to share their thoughts. Continue reading “Instant Family: A Review From Foster Siblings”

Holt Sponsors Send Kids to School, Provide Free Lunch in Haiti

In one coastal community in southern Haiti, many parents struggled to feed their children and send them to school before sponsors began supporting them three years ago.

Jayson and his family live in a small fishing village off the southern coast of Haiti. His dad works as a fisherman, and every day, he nets his catch in the sparkling, azure blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. What he catches, he sells.

But he almost never brings home any fish for his family.

Instead, they eat spaghetti. Or corn. Or rice imported from the U.S. Some days, they eat almost nothing.

“Fish is expensive,” explains Gustave Richard, a Holt social worker who works closely with families in sponsorship. “If they have it, they’d rather sell it.” Continue reading “Holt Sponsors Send Kids to School, Provide Free Lunch in Haiti”

I Have Them, They Have Me: Empowering Single Moms in Chicago


A single mother in Chicago — alone and suffering from a traumatic past — Nina thought placing her three children for adoption was her only option. Then she heard about Holt-Sunny Ridge, and their new program to empower single moms in Chicago. 

The breaking point.

This is where Nina says she was right after her third child was born. A single mother of three living in Chicago, she was alone with no family or friends for support. Anxious, depressed and unable to work, she considered doing the one thing that broke her heart the most.

Was it ever a possibility that your family wouldn’t be able to stay together? That you’d place your kids for adoption? Sitting in Nina’s top-floor apartment on a warm day in August, we ask her this question.  

“Yeah,” Nina says.

Continue reading “I Have Them, They Have Me: Empowering Single Moms in Chicago”

Favorite Five Adoptee Stories

At Holt, we continue to learn from the diverse experiences and perspectives of adoptees, and adoptee stories continue to be some of the most popular content on our blog! Of all time, these are the five most popular adoptee stories ever to appear on the Holt blog. 

Courtney Young with her family.

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. Continue reading “Favorite Five Adoptee Stories”

Adoptee Perspective: A New Meaning to November

Adoptee Mai Anh Boaz had never heard of National Adoption Month before she started interning at Holt. Now, the month of November holds new meaning for her, and has inspired her to reflect on her own adoption story.  

Mai Anh Boaz.

During my first few weeks interning at Holt International, I remember sitting in the office and planning Instagram posts when I saw an article about National Adoption Month. Then, I remember asking, “There’s a month just for adoption awareness?” As an adoptee, I never knew people associated November with adoption. I loved the idea, but I was surprised I had never heard of National Adoption Month until this year.

Once I looked into previous posts and articles, I was intrigued by the multitude of stories from adoptees and adoptive families about what adoption meant to them. They were moving, inspiring and fun. Yet, reading other people’s stories made me realize that I never took time to reflect on my story. What does my adoption mean to me? How has this aspect of my life shaped me into who I am today? What would my life look like if adoption was not a part of the story? Continue reading “Adoptee Perspective: A New Meaning to November”