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”

Congratulations to Holt’s 2018 Adoptee Scholarship Winners!

Congratulations to Suzy Allen, Sarah Carlson and Jill Cuzzolino — our three 2018 Adoptee Scholarship winners! This year, we asked applicants to submit a creative work framed around the prompt, “To My 10-Year-Old Self Re: Adoption…” Suzy, Sarah and Jill each won a $500 scholarship.

Jill Cuzzolino

Slam Poem

I decided to write a slam poem about one of the most life-changing experiences I’ve ever had with my mom regarding my adoption. She wrote a book about me when I was 4 years old so I decided the best way to allude to her work was to write something back. She gave me her love through words so I wanted to do the same. I wanted to specifically highlight an instance of me as a child to represent how our relationship has transcended as well as how it will stay that way. My family means the world to me and this was my gift back to them, a letter of love you might say, before I left for college. Continue reading “Congratulations to Holt’s 2018 Adoptee Scholarship Winners!”

Country Singer Amy Corey Goes Back to Holt Adoptee Camp

Holt adoptee Amy Corey is fast becoming a country music star. Signed with Grammy-nominated producer Kent Wells — as well as the publicity firm Derailed Development — she now lives in Nashville where she works as a recording artist and songwriter. But long before Nashville, Amy was a Vietnamese Adoptee growing up in a small town in Oregon. And every summer from age 9 to age 17, she attended Holt Adoptee Camp — an experience she describes as the highlight of her every summer.

I was born on May 28, 1997 and was adopted six months later from Da Nang, Vietnam. My older sister, who is two years older than me, was adopted from China. I was brought to America and lived in Cleveland, Ohio until 2000. Our family then moved to Ashland, Oregon, where I grew up and lived until I was 18. Three months after graduating high school, I moved to Nashville, Tennessee to pursue my music career. I’m still living in Nashville where I am now a recording artist and songwriter.

My parents told me at a very young age that I was adopted. They began telling me when I was 3; they never hid it from me or my sister. They helped me understand it all throughout the years. Being 6 months old when I was adopted, I don’t remember much and I obviously didn’t fully understand everything until much later. Continue reading “Country Singer Amy Corey Goes Back to Holt Adoptee Camp”

Adoptee & Actress Danielle Lyn Travels to the Philippines

Actress Danielle Lyn (Queen Sugar and The Divergent Series: Allegiant) is a Filipina adoptee using her platform to advocate for orphaned children and kids in impoverished communities. Below, she shares about her first trip to the Philippines since she came home to her family in the U.S.,  and what it meant to her to reunite with her caregivers and see the continued outreach of Kaisahang Buhay Foundation, Holt’s partner agency in the Philippines.

Danielle with Marilyn Manuel, executive director of Kaisahang Buhay Foundation, Holt’s partner agency in the Philippines.

We tell story by choice, chance and experience in life. To mark 2018’s New Year, I penned my first piece for Holt seven months ago. Sharing then my hopes to receive what family is, far away beginnings for children awaiting theirs, and offering the wonder for what would come of it all. In the time that has passed, a lesson has grown nearer to me: the most touching stories are the ones we touch ourselves, they are the ones we ourselves live. Continue reading “Adoptee & Actress Danielle Lyn Travels to the Philippines”

Torn Pages Made Beautiful

Adoptee Lily Daniels shares how the sad stories of her family’s lives became one big beautiful story of restoration, tinged yet strengthened by loss.

Lily’s senior portrait.

I want to tell you a story that is really about how a lot of different little, sad stories became one big, beautiful story.

The setting is June 17, 2001. Two stories collide and become one. In my mind, it was always about two groups of characters whose lives mirrored each other. There were the parents who lost their unborn children. They tried many years, traveled many miles, and faced the unknown. Then, there was the newly born baby girl who lost her parents. She, too, waited long, traveled far, and faced the unknown. They both needed something — family. And so, it became a beautiful story of restoration, tinged yet strengthened by loss. Continue reading “Torn Pages Made Beautiful”

Dream Come True – Holt Adoptee Reunites With Her Birth Parents in China

With the help of local police, media, volunteers and Holt staff in China, adoptee Kylee Bowers becomes the first Chinese adoptee placed through Holt to reunite with her birth family using DNA testing. This story has been translated from the original Chinese version written by Holt’s staff in China and published in Chinese media. 

Kylee with her biological father, Liang Hua.

On the morning of July 1, 2018, accompanied by her adoptive mother, 18-year-old adoptee Kylee (Liang Jing Lang/Zhong Feng Min) reunited with her birth family at Guangzhou Baiyun airport. There to witness this exciting and emotional moment were Holt’s vice president for our China Program, Ms. Jian Chen, local police officers, members of the media and volunteers from the Chinese NGO Bao Bei Hui Jia. Continue reading “Dream Come True – Holt Adoptee Reunites With Her Birth Parents in China”

Share Your Citizenship Story!

“Susie” on her citizenship day

I was born in Korea and named Hong Soon Keum. When I was 5 years old, I was adopted and came to the U.S. Here, I became Susan Gourley. I also became a daughter, sister, cousin, and a part of the community that was now my home. I did not have American citizenship by birth, but through adoption, I acquired both a family and the nationality of my adopted country. Continue reading “Share Your Citizenship Story!”

The Father You Didn’t Have To Be

Holt adoptee and child sponsor Sally Feldmann shares a piece she wrote for her dad this year for Father’s Day. 

Sally with her dad, Dan.

Father’s Day is the one day of the year that is solely dedicated to recognizing the love and devotion that fathers around the country show their children. A father’s love is unending and one of the strongest forms that exists. But today, on this national holiday honoring fathers, I want to talk about one type of father in particular. The type of father who made the ultimate selfless and caring choice to step up and be a father for a child who did not have one. Continue reading “The Father You Didn’t Have To Be”

That Felt Like a Mother’s Love

After traveling to meet their former foster mothers in Korea, adoptee siblings Emma and Isaiah Perron finally understand what their parents always told them — “You were greatly loved in Korea.” This post written by Lisa Perron — Emma and Isaiah’s mom — originally appeared on catholicfam.org

Emma meets her foster mom for the first time since she left Korea to join her family.

The first night our Korean-born son arrived home, he cried for his foster mother. Less than thirty-six hours before, he had woken up in the only home he had ever known, been brought to the Holt International Adoption Services offices, handed to a stranger, and traveled around the world to be placed in our arms. He had never seen us before and had no idea what was happening. After a very stressful first introduction to our dear son, we arrived home late from the airport. Soon the family was all sleeping peacefully in their beds — all except Isaiah and me.  Continue reading “That Felt Like a Mother’s Love”