A Heart Surgery in China Saved Tristan’s Life

For children in China with a heart condition, immediate heart surgery is often their only hope. Adoptive mom Andrea shares about her son, Tristan, and how early intervention saved his life. 

As the mother of four children born in China with congenital heart disease , I am intimately familiar with the critical need for early medical intervention — often in the form of heart surgery — for children with heart conditions.

My eldest son, Tristan, was the only one of my children to receive heart surgery while still in China, and this saved his life.

 

Tristan before receiving heart surgery in China.
Tristan before receiving heart surgery in China.

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Given in Faith

When sponsor Jenna Curtis got an unexpected check in the mail, she prayerfully considered how to use it. Deciding to give it to her sponsored child in Haiti, she then watched in astonishment as its impact rippled far beyond what she could have imagined. 

Jenna during one of her trips to Haiti.
Jenna travels to Haiti regularly, so she knew she wanted to sponsor a child from this country that, she says, had already stolen her heart.

Halfway through the concert, the music stopped and someone took to the stage. There with a group of high school students from her church, Jenna Curtis — a college student in her last semester — knew what was coming. She had heard this before, and already knew what she had to do.

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Bringing Us Together With Love

Allison holding up her artwork at Holt International's office.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.”

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Journey of Hope: TBRI Adoptive Family Camp

This summer, Holt International in Oregon will host its inaugural TBRI camp for adoptees and their parents!

This two-day family camp is designed around the Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI)® parenting curriculum for domestic and international adoptees and their families. Even years after their adoption, some children may struggle with behavior regulation, attachment and social skills. With specialized assistance from TBRI practitioners, this camp will equip families with tools and strategies they can use to help their child learn self-regulation skills and deepen family attachment. Other activities include fun sensory games, art, nurture and movement groups and a visit from FETCH Eugene therapy dogs!

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On Her Darkest Day

The day Erika left her two sons at an orphanage felt like the end of her world. But when generous donors gave her a way to pick up the pieces of her life, she started a path forward that led her back to the light — and back to her kids.

 Last year Erika was accepted to a vocational training program that is helping her earn enough income to give her kids a stable home.
Erika, 23, blow-dries a client’s hair. Thanks to sponsors and donors, last year Erika was accepted to a vocational training program that is helping her earn enough income to give her kids a stable home.

Erika’s stained clothes draped loosely off her already tiny frame. Her hair was snarled and knotted — her skin dirty.

She held one little boy in one arm and clutched another’s hand. Both boys, like their mom, were thin and messy.

They dipped through the doorway of a two-story building on a street stacked with single-room homes in southern Bogotá, not far from the hilly area where Erika grew up. Continue reading “On Her Darkest Day”

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”