Every year, we receive the most powerful, inspiring stories from adoptees, sponsored children and families, sponsors, donors, adoptive families and birth parents to share on our blog. 2018 was no different. The stories — and the people behind the stories — show a tremendous sense of strength, love, hope, generosity and family. During 2018, adoptees reunited with family members, reflected on their stories and wrote letters to their ten-year-old selves. Adoptees and adoptive families reflected on the challenges, the joys and the special moments they shared with one another. Sponsored children and families expressed their gratitude to the sponsors and donors who support them, and opened the door to share their stories of perseverance and success.
Each story from 2018 is full of empowerment, inspiration and hope. Here are some of your most viewed, most shared and most favorite adoptee, adoption, family strengthening and orphan care stories of 2018!
During a visit to Eugene last summer, adoptee Allison visited the Holt International office where she was able to learn more about the adoption process. This, paired with her own adoption story, inspired her to create an art piece for the Holt office as a way to say “thank you.”
“If you look on the very top of the globe where there are three people, there’s two that look larger [than] the smaller one in the middle,” Allison says, describing her piece of artwork that now hangs in Holt’s office in Eugene. “I was creating it to represent a family.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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!”
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”
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.
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”
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.
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”
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.
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”