To and Be Loved And Be Part of a
Honoring Molly Holt
in this issue 4
The Woman With Miraculous Tears
July-August 2013 vol. 55 no. 3 Our Vision A world where every child has a loving and secure home.
Holt President Emeritus Dr. David Kim shares some of his favorite memories of working alongside Molly Holt in Korea in the 1950s and ‘60s.
Adoptees Today Holt adoptee and former Holt board member Steven Stirling reflects on Molly Holt’s many years of service to children.
Post Adoption Through play therapy, a Holt adoptive mom helps her daughter overcome anxious attachment.
From the Family How Molly Holt impacted the lives of two boys while in her care at the Ilsan Center in Korea.
FRONT COVER: Molly Holt with children in care at the Ilsan Center in Korea, 1973. Today, at 77, Molly continues to help care for Ilsan’s more than 300 residents — all of them with mental or physical special needs.
Dear Readers In this issue of Holt International magazine, we pay special tribute to Molly Holt – daughter of Harry and Bertha Holt, and board chairperson for Holt Children’s Services of Korea. For nearly 57 years, Molly has lovingly cared for homeless children in Korea, primarily at the Ilsan Center for children and adults with special medical and physical needs. In that time, Molly has served as foster mother, nurse and champion to literally thousands of children – many of them now adult adoptees like former Holt board member Steven Stirling, whose story appears on page 11. Although Steve was adopted in 1966, many of his friends have grown to adulthood at Ilsan, where they have had the opportunity to receive rehabilitative therapy, special education and vocational training to help them live as independently as possible. It is programs like these that make the Ilsan Center a world-class model of care for people with disabilities. And it is through the efforts of Molly Holt – who holds a Master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling and special education – that Ilsan came to implement many of them. It is not uncommon to hear Molly referred to as the Mother Teresa of Korea, nor is it an overstatement. But among the residents of Ilsan, Molly is known simply as “Unee,” or big sister. To them, Molly is family. And she would have it no other way.
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Although I have written many stories for the Holt magazine over the past three years, this is the first issue for which I have served as managing editor. In this role, I feel a tremendous responsibility to advocate as best I can for orphaned, abandoned and vulnerable children. And it seems fitting that the first magazine I produce would highlight the extraordinary contributions of a woman who serves as a role model to all who seek a more compassionate world for children. Molly Holt is truly an inspiration – to me, and to all of us at Holt. I hope you enjoy the stories featured in this issue, starting with a wonderful piece by Holt President Emeritus Dr. David H. Kim. David was the first employee Harry Holt hired in
In 1955 Harry and Bertha Holt responded to the conviction that God had called them to help children left homeless by the Korean War. Though it took an act of the U.S. Congress, the Holts adopted eight of those children. But they were moved by the desperate plight of other orphaned children in Korea and other countries as well, so they founded Holt International Children’s Services in order to unite homeless children with families who would love them as their own. Today Holt International serves children and families in Cambodia, China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Nepal, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea (South Korea), Thailand, Mongolia, Uganda, the United States and Vietnam. President & CEO Phillip A. Littleton Vice-President of International Programs Dan Lauer Vice-President of Finance & Administration Kevin Sweeney Vice-President of Adoption Services Lisa Vertulfo Vice-President of Development Jack Wharfield Vice-President of Policy & External Affairs Susan Soonkeum Cox Vice President, Asia Programs David Lim Vice President, China Programs Jian Chen Holt International magazine is published by Holt International Children’s Services, Inc., a nonprofit, Christian, child welfare organization. While Holt International is responsible for the content of Holt International magazine, the viewpoints expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the organization. Creative Services Director Brian Campbell Creative Services Manager Laura Mathews Managing Editor Robin Munro Writer/Editor Ashli Keyser Writer/Editor Billie Loewen
Subscription Orders/Inquiries & Address Changes Send all editorial correspondence and changes of address to Holt International magazine, Holt International, P.O. Box 2880, Eugene, OR 97402. We ask for an annual donation of $20 to cover the cost of publication and mailing inside the United States and $40 outside the United States. Holt welcomes the contribution of letters and articles for publication, but assumes no responsibility for return of letters, manuscripts or photos. Reprint Information Permission from Holt International is required prior to reprinting any portion of Holt International magazine. Please direct reprint requests to editor Brian Campbell at 541/687.2202 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Copyright ©2013 by Holt International Children’s Services, Inc. ISSN 1047-7640
Korea, and for many years he worked side-by-side with Molly caring for children in Korea. I hope, as you read, that you also feel inspired to stand alongside us in advocating for orphaned and abandoned children and children with special needs – for Molly’s children.
Robin Munro |
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directions In Honor of Molly Holt Paying tribute to the woman who taught us that every child can love, and be loved, and be part of a family. to introduce me to the children in care. I will also never forget Molly’s smile – a smile in which you can truly see the love of Jesus. Throughout her life, Molly has worked tirelessly to advocate for children with mental and physical disabilities. Because of Molly, many of these children have received the specialized care they need to join loving families of their own. Today, hundreds of families adopt children with special needs every year from countries around the world. But long before it was common, Molly actively sought families for the children who others considered “unadoptable.” Like her parents before her, Molly helped change the culture of adoption by showing that every child is equally worthy of love and acceptance. That every child can love, and be loved, and be part of a family. Molly has taught me to put my faith into action. She shows such love, compassion and respect to every resident of Ilsan – from the children who pass briefly through her care before joining adoptive families, to the long-term residents who live out their lives at this world-renowned facility for the disabled that Molly helped create.
Since the Ilsan Center was founded in 1961, Molly Holt has lovingly cared for children and adults residents of the care center. In October 1956, Harry and Bertha Holt’s 20-year-old daughter Molly arrived for the first time in Korea – fresh out of nursing school, and ready to help her parents care for the children left orphaned and abandoned in the wake of the Korean War. While in Korea, Molly had a vision for her future. As she once said, “I felt that this was where the Lord would have me be for the rest of my life.” Nearly 57 years have passed since Molly first came to the country where her parents founded Holt International. In those years, Holt has grown and changed in countless ways – building on our roots in Korea to become the largest international adoption and child welfare organization serving children and families in countries around the world.
Give to the Fund Molly Holt With for Children ds! Special Nee
I first met Molly on a Christmas trip to Korea in 2004, when I was a new staff member at Holt. I will never forget how excited she was to show me around Ilsan and
Although many more children joining adoptive families today have special medical or developmental needs, many others continue to wait – and not all of them in homes as nurturing as the Ilsan Center. And not just children with moderate to severe needs wait for families. In Korea, recent changes to the adoption process have made it increasingly difficult to find families for children with even the most minor needs. In honor of Molly, please pray for children with special needs. If you are considering adopting, read about the children featured in the Waiting Child section of this magazine – or the many more children on Holt’s online photolisting. And if you are uncertain about adopting from Korea during this time of change, I ask you to consider that many children in Korea still need loving families – and still come home to families every year. Finally, please pray for Molly, who has been seriously ill. It is an honor to serve alongside Molly in pursuit of a world where every child has a loving and secure home.
Phillip Littleton | President & CEO 3
H olt I nt e r n at i on a l .or g
Through it all, and because of her belief in God’s calling, Molly has remained in Korea, caring for homeless and disabled children at the Ilsan Center. Here, Molly has not only carried on the legacy of her parents; she has helped to realize their vision of a nurturing, long and short-term care home for children with special needs.
We hope the heartwarming stories shared in this issue of the magazine help to show our love and appreciation for Molly. But perhaps the best way to truly honor Molly is not with praise or recognition. Molly has always believed that she is merely doing the work she has been called to do. Perhaps the best way to honor Molly is by continually seeking new and innovative ways to serve orphaned and vulnerable children, especially those so close to her heart – the children with special needs.
As Holt has grown and expanded through the years, Molly has provided guidance to our staff and partners as they developed programs for children in countries around the world. But since she first arrived in 1956, her heart and home has always been — and always will be — with orphaned, abandoned and vulnerable children in Korea.
The WOMAN with
H olt I nt e r n at i on a l / July/August 2013
In March 1956, Harry Holt hired a young Korean man named David Kim to help him build a child care and adoption program in Korea. The following October, Harry’s daughter Molly joined her parents in Korea – where, for many years, she worked alongside David caring for orphaned and abandoned children. Here, David Kim shares some of his favorite memories from the early years in Korea working with his wonderful colleague and friend, Molly Holt. In 1957, we were in dire need of our own childcare center, as the majority of our children came from other orphanages scattered all around the city. Because of the distance between the orphanages and our office, it was very difficult for us to prepare children for adoption processing. With inadequate public transportation, we wasted a great deal of time commuting back and forth to these orphanages. We were all very happy when Mr. Holt completed our new childcare center for incoming babies and children at Hyo-chang Park, and we were no longer dependent on the other orphanages for their care. As the days passed, more children were admitted to the new facility – many from orphanages, and others directly from the
birth mothers or relatives of the children. This influx at our newly built childcare center necessitated additional staff to care for the children, as well as to handle the continually increasing workload at the office. The most pressing need was to have someone knowledgeable to prepare accurate child reports in English, as well as to assist with the care of the children. We had enjoyed the assistance of a few volunteers from the United States, including a registered nurse. But she contracted hepatitis and had to return home. Fortunately, Molly Holt traveled to Korea to join us in the summer of 1957. She had just graduated from nursing school, and it was a wonderful relief and welcome news to all of us. Molly was immediately immersed in the daily chores of the children’s care
RIGHT: Molly in 1959, placing a baby in her adoptive mother’s arms after a long journey from Korea to the U.S. RIGHT CENTER: Through the years, Molly has helped make the Ilsan Center in Korea a world-class model of care for children and adults with disabilities. BOTTOM RIGHT: The Holt staff in Seoul, Korea in 1957. Molly sits in the center, beside her father. David Kim sits in the same row, second to the end on the far right.
at the center, and her nursing and other skills were invaluable. I was very happy not only to have her assistance, but also her friendship. We worked together well – readying the children for adoption – and a strong bond soon developed between us. Molly has been a wonderful friend and colleague, as we have served homeless children together during these past 57 years. During those early years in Korea, there were many unforgettable events we experienced together and of which I have fond memories. I remember that Molly was not only busy with her responsibilities as a nurse, but also served as a midwife for the mothers who delivered their babies at Hyo-chang Park. She was a great help when meeting and talking with the mothers and relatives who brought their babies or children to us for adoption. When Mr. Holt was back in Oregon, Molly was the only person who could drive our station wagon – transporting sick babies to the hospital, or purchasing groceries for the children at the care center. During the Korean War, many American soldiers fathered children out of wedlock with single Korean women. Fatherless and born of mixed race, these children always faced the greatest prejudice in Korean society. I remember driving around the country with Molly as we looked for mixed-race children near the military camps, visiting homes, and other orphanages to bring the children back with us to our center. When these children came into our care, we did all we could to place them in loving homes. Molly and I also travelled by train. We frequently rode together on the all-night train from Busan to Seoul, transporting as many as a dozen babies at a time. Periodically, Mrs. Hwang at the Isabella orphanage in Busan called to ask us to take babies who had been admitted to her orphanage during the past week or two. Some of these abandoned babies were weak and sick, due most of the time to long exposure to the elements at her orphanage gate, severe malnutrition, or illness. She was happy to have these babies adopted into new homes in the United States, where they would have a much better chance at life.
We usually purchased an upper and lower berth, to lay five or six babies on each bed. Molly and I each stood on either end of the berth, watching the babies all night. The train would depart Busan at 8 or 9 in the evening, arriving in Seoul early the next morning. It was almost a 10-hour trip, but we had to stay awake to prevent the babies from falling from their beds at sudden stops or departures. The babies would usually sleep during the trip, due to the rocking motions of the train, but sometimes they would wake up crying of hunger, or because of a soiled diaper or other discomfort. When one baby cried, the other babies would also wake up and cry at the same time. The crescendo of a dozen babies crying in unison would fill the car, deafening our ears, as well as waking the other passengers. We felt sorry for them, but by and large the other passengers were very sympathetic toward the babies, especially when they learned that they were orphans bound for overseas adoption. Molly and I traveled to any place at any time, wherever there were babies who needed a family. Our travels together during those early years were not limited to the ground. Molly was a great addition and comfort for me when we escorted children on charter flights to the United States, and she flew on most of them. We needed a medical doctor or several nurses on each of our charter flights to look after the sick babies during the long trip across the ocean. I could not imagine flying with more than 80-100 babies and older children on each 28 to 40-hour flight to the United States without nurses or a doctor. The majority of our babies and children were weak and sick to begin with. Often, the sudden changes in environment and cabin temperature, as well as the drinking ABOVE: Reconnecting with Molly, a child adopted from Ilsan shares photos of her life in the U.S. during a 2004 donor team trip to Korea.
water, induced diarrhea. The cold draft in the airplane cabin and inadequate heating systems on some of the planes caused the babies to catch colds, or even pneumonia. We needed someone knowledgeable about how to treat these conditions. Each escort was responsible for eight to ten babies and older children during the flight, feeding them and changing their soiled diapers. Molly and I were most often responsible for additional babies and children when any of the other escorts became airsick or incapacitated during the flights. At each refueling stop – in places such as Wake Island, Hawaii, or Semiya in the Aleutian Islands – Molly and I would be busy cleaning the used bottles, and preparing new ones for the next leg of the flight. These chores, physical labor, and fatigue we could happily endure. More difficult for us both was the emotional stress of constantly worrying about the babies and children’s health and wellbeing. The vast majority of the children arrived safely into the arms of their waiting adoptive parents. Not all did. One of the most heartbreaking and indelible memories that Molly and I shared was the death of a baby during one of the flights. She was very weak and often sick at the center before the flight, but we thought the best possible solution for her survival would be to unite her with her new parents at the earliest day possible. We
were very happy when she was cleared for air travel. Tragically, during the flight she contracted pneumonia. Molly was holding this baby on her lap and I was incessantly pumping oxygen to her mouth from a manual oxygen bottle, but it was to no avail. Despite our efforts, she succumbed to her illness. Our inability to save a little baby crushed our hearts. It is an aching that remains with us both to this day. My fondest memory of Molly however, is not of her nursing skill, or her compassion, or her tireless work, but of her propensity to cry, and of the time those tears brought us a miracle. Behind all the changes, growth and development at Holt came a new experience of growing pains. It would be unimaginable to operate a childcare center with more than 200 children and 70 staff without an effective communication system. However, that was our situation when we moved into our new Nokbundong facility. We had successfully brought in electricity, found a water source, and created plenty of space for the children while they awaited departure to the United States. But the lack of a telephone created inconveniences beyond description. It was like working in the dark ages, shipping goods by oxcart. Since the new center was located at the outskirts of town, we had to walk a couple miles to even use a public telephone. One of our staff members had to practically be
Although through the years Molly has taken on leadership positions at the Ilsan Center in Korea, she has always kept a hands-on role with the children and adult residents at the center — providing a nurturing touch and constant reminder that every child is wanted and loved.
a liaison person between our office and the public telephone. We did not realize the absence of a phone would create such havoc.
UPPER: Molly surrounded by her siblings and extended family at Holtâ€™s 50th anniversary celebration in Eugene, Oregon. LOWER: Molly at Holtâ€™s 50th anniversary with Lata Joshi, former executive director of BSSK, one of Holtâ€™s legacy partners in India.
We contacted the telephone company to transfer our former phone service from the Hyochang Park Center, but they said it could not be done because no telephone lines had been installed in our area. The nearest telephone line was at the quail farm, several blocks from us. I made several trips to the telephone company, begging for a line to be installed to our center. I told them of our dire need for a telephone. We not only had a childcare center with hundreds of children, but also operated a clinic and a hospital. We needed the phone for emergency situations. They reiterated that their hands were tied. It was beyond their control, they said. They were unable to install any new telephone lines because they were already operating at maximum capacity. A telephone was the most critical item for us next to electricity and water. Somehow, we had to bring in telephone service to our new facility. Of course, this was not the first time we encountered a seemingly unsolvable predicament. God had always delivered us in the past. I knew, somehow, there would be an answer to our efforts and prayers. I decided to pay a visit to the Ministry of Communications to appeal our case, as telephone and communication matters were under their jurisdiction. Molly and I went together. As a foreigner, it was easier for her to get an appointment with a high ranking official, especially as the daughter of Mr. Harry Holt. We first went to see the director general of a bureau that oversees installation
I kept telling Molly that the tears at Minister Lee’s office were some of the most precious and timely tears she’d ever shed. They were the tears that saved the lives of hundreds of children. of telephone lines, but they weren’t able to help us. They gave the identical answer we heard earlier from the local people. We then made a formal request to meet with the minister himself, but our request was not granted – not immediately. First we had to talk with others below him. They all assured us it would be useless to meet with the minister. He would be unable to do anything about the basic shortage of telephone lines in the country. But we persisted, and we managed to see him at last! The minister was a retired army lieutenant general named Lee, Eung-joon. He was a kindly old gentleman who seemed happy to see us. I explained our unusual circumstances and the predicament we were in. I pointed out to him that the quail farm just a few blocks away was blessed with telephone service, but a charity organization caring for hundreds of war orphans had to go without. While I was pleading with Minister Lee, Molly sat next to me wiping her tears. At times, the minister’s attention was directed more toward Molly’s tears than my pleas. He kept looking at Molly each time she wiped her cheeks. He had never seen an American woman crying before him and he seemed quite concerned. He had heard about the millionaire lumberman from Oregon who came to Korea to help our war orphans. It was a wonderful humanitarian service. He summoned his secretary to his office and ordered him to install a new telephone line to our center! Molly and I were ecstatic at the sudden windfall of good fortune.
RIGHT: Molly’s house at Ilsan is the last remaining structure that Harry Holt built in the 1960’s. Today, it serves not only as Molly’s home, but in many ways as the heart of the center.
I had begun to believe it was an impossible mountain to move. We kept saying, “Thank you, Minister Lee. Thank you very much, Minister Lee.” Molly’s tears were streaming down her cheeks. Her voice of gratitude cracked with obvious emotion. Minister Lee told us they were releasing one of the phone lines reserved for emergency use. On our way home, Molly and I offered our thanks to the Lord for delivering us again from an impossible situation. On several occasions, I noticed Molly cried easily. I was always concerned, thinking I might have done something wrong or hurt her feelings. But I found out she cried for no particular reason — tears for all occasions. I kept telling Molly that the tears at Minister Lee’s office were some of the most precious and timely tears she’d ever shed. They were the tears that saved the lives of hundreds of children. The next day, crews from the local telephone office came to our center and installed a new telephone line, temporarily using the electrical poles until a permanent facility was installed in the area.
Dr. David H. Kim |
Holt President Emeritus
adoptees today The Woman Who Blessed a Thousand Children Before he joined his adoptive family in the U.S., Holt adoptee Jordan Love stayed for a time in Molly Holt’s care at the Ilsan Center in Korea – a time for which he will always be grateful. When I was asked to write about Molly Holt, I felt honored. Molly is a special woman who has dedicated her life to the Ilsan Center in Korea – helping to improve the lives of those who have mental and/or physical disabilities, and hopefully, placing them with adoptive families. She has changed the lives of so many children through the years. Molly has had a big influence on my life as well.
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At Ilsan, I was fortunate to be one of those children cared for by Molly Holt. I came into care when I was about 4 years old, after I was found wandering the streets alone. I was placed in the “Love Home,” where Molly was my housemother. She cared for me for the next 6 months, bridging the gap between my birth mother and my parents. Although too young to remember much from my time in Molly’s care, our paths would cross again when I started working at Holt International. While visiting from Korea, Molly came into the office one afternoon about five years ago. Seeing me, the first words out of her mouth were, "Gosh, you’re short." Having dwarfism and only standing three feet tall, I’ve heard that statement a lot – but was still a little shocked that Molly started the conversation that way. Taken aback, I replied, "Why yes, I guess I am." She went on to say that she was my housemother and she distinctly remembered me from Ilsan. When asked how she remembered me out of all the children she had cared for – especially since 16 years had passed since we last saw each other – she bluntly said, "Well, there aren't many people that short who come into the orphanage." Even though I was caught off guard by Molly's first comments, I look back on it with great fondness. I think it really shows Molly's character. She doesn't hide behind what’s politically correct, but addresses those unique differences and then warms your heart because she sees them as a special quality about you. I was really struck by how she remembered me out of all the children who had come through Ilsan. That conversation was one of the first times I had ever thought about my time in Korea. It brought up some emotions, as Molly gave me a couple of pieces to my early life in Korea.
I don't think I fully knew the impact Molly had on my life and the lives of so many children until I traveled to Korea on a heritage tour in December 2011 – my first trip back since my adoption in 1990. Throughout the week, I saw bits and pieces of my time at the orphanage. I visited with my physical therapist, my doctor and my teachers. To reconnect with these amazing people made me realize what a blessing it was that I stayed at Ilsan. During the tour, I got to see the remarkable facilities for the residents at Ilsan. I also got to observe Molly in action. Molly knew every single child and treated them with so much love. During the visit, I watched and listened as she would ask how this or that child was doing, and then shift gears to tell us about another child who had a major medical condition she was praying would be cured. As I listened to Molly talk about these children, I could easily put myself in their place – because I was exactly in their place 22 years ago. You could really see that these children – children who are outcasts in their society – are Molly's life and passion. Like me, these children are often referred to as "special needs" children. But I don't think Molly sees any "need" in the children at Ilsan. I think all she sees is the special part of every child. So what does Molly Holt mean to me? I think everyone knows what a special woman Molly Holt is, and how she has dedicated her life to the mission her parents began over 57 years ago when they founded Holt International. But I want to tell you what this wonderful human being means to me. Molly Holt will always be the woman who gave me love when I was at my weakest. She provided me with nurturing care while I waited for my forever family. I truly believe there are not enough kind words to express how sincere and special Molly Holt is. As thousands of children who have passed through – and still remain – at Ilsan can attest, Molly provided unyielding love to all of us. But it goes beyond just children in the care of Molly Holt. All parents of children at Ilsan – by both adoption and birth – owe Molly Holt a huge thank you. She was their children’s mother during the time they were in her care. Molly could have chosen an easier path to follow, but she let her heart guide her. The heart of Molly Holt has blessed thousands upon thousands of the most at-risk children in Korea. She has etched herself in my heart, in my life, and I will be eternally grateful for the love of Molly Holt.
Jordan Love |
adoptees today The Woman Who Serves in Faith Holt adoptee and former Holt board member Steven Stirling reflects on Molly Holt’s many years of service to children. Steven lived at the Ilsan Center in Korea before he was adopted in 1966, at the age of 11. Molly Holt is the perfect example of a faithful servant of our Lord. My first memory of Molly is from her mother’s book about Holt’s beginnings, Seed from the East. Molly was in nursing school in 1956 when her parents, Harry and Bertha Holt, began the Holt adoption program in Korea. At the time, she could not help care for the orphans, but I recall from the book that Molly told her parents as soon as she finished nursing school, she would work to help orphaned, abandoned and vulnerable children in Korea. Molly was true to her words. More than 56 years after she made this commitment, she continues to serve “the least of these” – the disabled children in care at Ilsan. I didn't have the chance to spend much time with Molly until her mom, Grandma Holt, passed in 2000, and my wife and I traveled to Ilsan for Grandma's life celebration. Here at Ilsan, I remember that Molly shared her room with several disabled women, who she cared for. Many current and former residents have stayed at Molly’s house. She often cares for residents who are sick, or nearing the end of their life, as well as those who are profoundly disabled. And just about every child who enters care at Ilsan will first stay at her house before moving to another residence. During our visit, Molly’s house was always bustling with activity, as many residents gathered to talk and share stories. True to character, Molly graciously welcomed everyone who stopped for a visit. They are her family. During our time together, Molly’s heart was very heavy. Her mom was tremendously well respected in Korea, and local officials treated her as though she were a head of state. The celebration of her life came with much fanfare. Numerous political personnel attended, including the first lady of Korea. Molly wanted to keep to her mom's wishes to give the glory to our Lord Jesus for what He had accomplished through the Holts – and not to give the glory to her mom. But naturally, in Korea, Bertha Holt is an iconic figure! The planned services would definitely glorify Grandma Holt. Molly’s heart was heavy, as she struggled with how to observe her mom’s wishes. At the end, she gracefully and diplomatically asked several of her mom’s old friends to speak. They spoke of our Lord's faithfulness through Bertha. And when it came time for her to speak, Molly – clothed in humility – gave the glory to Jesus Christ our Lord and what He did through her parents. My final reflection about Molly continues to this day. My wife and I have had the opportunity to travel to Ilsan five to six times since 2000, when we celebrated Bertha's homecoming. One of the things I always look forward to when traveling to Ilsan is visiting with my childhood friends in Molly's residence. It feels almost like I’m coming home during these visits, when we sit surrounded
by volunteers who quietly provide lunch and feed the residents who are unable to feed themselves. While I have forgotten how to speak Korean, Molly speaks both Korean and English and is comfortable going between languages. In these moments of sharing stories and old memories, we often turn to the faithfulness of our Lord Jesus and what He has done for us. For me, Molly is the perfect example of a “faithful servant.” As it says in Isaiah 43: 5-7, “Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.” These are our Lord's words. Harry and Bertha Holt and their daughter Molly are faithful servants. Today, Molly continues to serve our Lord and glorify Him who made all this possible. It is a blessing for me to be called His child – and a friend of Molly Holt.
Steven Stirling |
Playing From The Heart After a two-year struggle with anxious attachment, Holt adoptive mom Lisa Fisher began play therapy with her daughter BaiYu – helping them both learn coping skills, and bringing out the fantastic, caring daughter and sister BaiYu is today. No matter how your children come into your life, you never forget the day you are able touch them for the first time. October 15, 2004 was the day I first met my daughter BaiYu. She definitely did NOT want me to touch her!
H olt I nt e r n at i on a l / July/August 2013
Then 26 months old, BaiYu’s “special need” was albinism – a genetic condition in which the body does not create the expected amount of pigment. This lack of pigment also causes low vision and nystagmus, an involuntary movement of the eyes. Instead of the typical Chinese features – tan skin, dark eyes and black hair – BaiYu had pale skin, beautiful hazel eyes that swung slowly back and forth, and short strawberry blond hair. I always laugh when I look at the picture on our adoption decree – me with a look of blissful love, and BaiYu, beet red and screaming open-mouthed at the top of her lungs! As we spent more time together in China, I began to understand why BaiYu looked so sad in all the pictures I received of her prior to traveling. Miserable was BaiYu’s standard state of existence. She was frightened of absolutely everything – elevators, dolls, stuffed animals, the stroller, cars, banana bread, crowds, closedin places, and anyone wearing lab coats. Everything was met with that now famous, opened-mouth scream of hers. Only later would I learn why BaiYu lived in such constant fear. Once home in the U.S., BaiYu had to deal with sharing Mama with her older brother, Talen, age 7 at the time, and her sister, Mya, only 4 months older than BaiYu. She still didn’t like me at that point, but she didn’t want to share me either. She would scream and cry every day when I left for work, be fine while I was gone, and then scream and cry for hours after I returned – just to let me know how she felt about my leaving. BaiYu also came home with a lot of orphanage behaviors such as biting, punching, and food-grabbing/ hoarding. These behaviors took a good long time to overcome.
Poor Mya bore the brunt of BaiYu’s abuse. Thankfully, Mya has always been wise and understanding beyond her years. Don’t get me wrong, the girls would often have a good time together, but you were never quite sure what would set BaiYu off. It started to feel like she enjoyed negative attention more than she did positive. It was almost like BaiYu simply didn’t care who she hurt or what she had to do to get what she wanted. BaiYu was extremely manipulative of any situation, always wanting to have the last word or make everything about her. She would copy her sister’s ideas and try to destroy her siblings’ things because she couldn’t have them. It got to the point where BaiYu was spending more time in trouble than she was playing and living life. At the suggestion of a dear friend of mine – who is also a school counselor and fellow adoptive mom – we started play therapy right before BaiYu turned 4 years old. She had lived through similar behaviors with her daughter, who she
LEFT: In her first two years home, BaiYu did not want to share her mom with her older brother, Talen, and sister, Mya. Today, Mya, 11, and BaiYu, 10, create rhymes about what great sisters they are. BELOW: BaiYu at age 3. When she first came home, BaiYu was always miserable, says Lisa. Today, she is such a happy girl, she is always smiling!
adopted as a 4-year-old from Russia. Through play therapy, her daughter made great strides in her behavior – even before she had developed much of her English skills. By chance, we happened to find a counselor well-versed in play therapy and attachment in adopted children, who was also originally from Hong Kong. Play therapy helped illustrate how anxiously attached BaiYu was to me. She would constantly draw pictures of and about me, and talk about me during the play sessions like I wasn’t quite real – as though I might disappear at any time. She saw her sister and brother as threats and didn’t understand why they were still nice to her when she was mean to them on purpose. Through these sessions, I also discovered why some things caused her such extreme fear. Many of these things reminded her of abuse she endured early in life – prior to my becoming her mother. At home, we worked a lot on positive reinforcement of good behaviors; we encouraged her to be kind all of the time. The toughest thing we had to do was not react when she misbehaved. I would quietly remove her from the situation, tell her why she was being moved, make her sit by herself so she could see us, and go about our playing/business calmly while she raised the roof screaming. When she was quiet, she could come back and join us. As we would play or act out something, we would talk about how certain parts of it would make us feel. As time went on, the tantrums happened less frequently. We would laugh more, and cry less.
Sometimes, when my daughters are laughing hysterically together or are coming up with these crazy rhymes in the backseat about what great sisters they are, I pinch myself. I think back to those tough early days and marvel at the close relationship they have now. They couldn’t be more different – Mya, the shy/ serious one, and BaiYu, the loud/goofy one – yet they love each other so fiercely now. At age 10-and-a-half, BaiYu is a fantastic student, an accomplished pianist, and an elite athlete. There is nothing physical she cannot master at an accelerated rate. She is a power tumbler, skipped three levels in gymnastics in 2 years, and switched to dance during the last school year so she could get more of a challenge. Above all else, she is a fantastic, caring person who adores her family with all of her heart. And we adore her just the same.
Lisa Fisher |
Des Moines, Iowa
H olt I nt e r n at i on a l .or g
Through it all, BaiYu was able to understand she was stuck with us forever. She saw that I kept her and her siblings safe and that I loved them all no matter what. BaiYu discovered everyone was happier, including herself, when she was kind to her siblings instead of trying to compete with them for everything. Her siblings, understandably, took a little while to decide if this was the “real” BaiYu or not. But eventually, they came to realize that this BaiYu was here to stay.
I knew it was time to discontinue play therapy when BaiYu took a little boy in her preschool under her wing and used the same techniques that she learned in her therapy sessions to keep him calm during class. She would engage him in play and help him work out his frustrations. BaiYu always had an uncanny ability to know when he was about to tantrum and figured out how to keep it from escalating – so much so that his mother requested they be put in the same classroom from then on! They met in preschool. They are now in 5th grade. He says he will marry her some day, but BaiYu says, “Absolutely NOT!”
from the field A Family of Scholars While visiting Holt’s ILEA program in the Philippines, Holt’s director of adoption services for Southeast Asia finds a hopeful answer to the question: what happens to children who don’t find families? “What happens to the children who are not matched?” In my six years at Holt, this is one of the most thought-provoking and haunting questions I ever received. Not until recently – on a trip to the Philippines – did I find an answer. Six months ago, I transitioned from Holt’s waiting child program to the S.E. Asia adoption program, which includes the Philippines. This May, I finally had the opportunity to visit the Philippines. Here, the answer to that haunting question had been waiting for me all along.
I knew of Holt’s Independent Living and Educational Assistance (ILEA) program long before visiting. Seeing it in person, though, is something altogether different. It affects you to the core, and you think about it long after you return. Here, I saw the genuine hopefulness of the young adults in the program. They never joined adoptive families of their own. But through ILEA, they have a makeshift family to support them. The ILEA program is managed by Kaisahang Buhay Foundation (KBF), Holt’s partner agency in the Philippines. Holt helped to found KBF in the 1970s. In the years since, KBF has developed an impressive array of Holt-supported services for children and families, including family and community outreach, sponsorship, a single mothers’ home, day care, nutritional support, foster care, and ILEA. KBF thinks of the child every step of the way – from the womb to adulthood – always striving toward the goal of helping the child remain in or find a permanent family. The ILEA program is a natural extension of that thought. KBF developed this program for children who never do find permanent, loving families, providing for them an informal family of other teens in the same situation and of the KBF staff themselves. Through KBF and Holt, the scholars receive support for everything from tuition and
from the field school supplies to food, medical care, transportation and job search assistance. Currently, the ILEA program is composed of 19 “scholars” – age 16-22 – many of whom are in college. They do not have house parents or someone to buy groceries and do their laundry. This is truly an independent living program, in which they are accountable primarily to each other. Listening to the KBF staff talk about former ILEA scholars -- now ILEA graduates -and their successes in life, you would have thought they were speaking of their own children or grandchildren. ILEA scholars go on to get advanced degrees, get married and have children. And they often stay in touch with their KBF family. While in the program, some of the scholars stay at the KBF office, closer to their college, so they get the chance to interact with the staff on a more frequent and informal basis. Those interested in business or nonprofit work also get to see how an office runs. One of these scholars couldn’t help but sneak over to ask me questions as I was eating my dinner one night at the office. “Where are you from?” he asked. “Do you like basketball? Who is your favorite NBA team?” To his dismay, the Lakers had recently been knocked out of the playoffs. This young man is ready for his last year of college, where he is studying community development. He is spending his summer volunteering at some of KBF’s other programs. One day, he could be working at KBF -- a thought that has crossed his mind. In fact, during my visit, I was surprised to learn that an ILEA graduate had been in my midst the whole time! He now works as KBF’s IT specialist. During ILEA’s second anniversary at their current location, I was able to see all the scholars sing, dance and share their dreams for the future. I also met a benefactor of sorts. She owns the building where the scholars live, which she provides rent-free. She also visits the scholars every Saturday for a Bible study. As we were discussing what a wonderful program we support, she asked me how many similar programs Holt has in the other countries where we work. I knew the answer immediately, but I racked my brain for a few seconds just in case. Then, I confidently answered,
“None.” Although Holt does have programs in other countries to provide vocational training and other services for children who come of age in care – such as those at the extraordinary Ilsan Center in Korea – the ILEA program is truly a unique and model program for children who were never placed in a family. Finally, they have a non-traditional family of their own.
Director of Adoption Services, Southeast Asia
LEFT: ILEA scholars live together in independent group housing while working toward high school diplomas or college degrees. RIGHT: Although they've never been placed in adoptive families of their own, the 19 ILEA scholars are like family to each other. They share household chores, meals and often perform songs and dances together as a group.
H olt I nt e r n at i on a l .or g
Jessica Palmer |
from the family A Month With Molly Holt adoptive mom Kristine Piu has adopted two boys with special needs from the Ilsan Center in Korea. Both are now thriving. Both began their journey at Molly’s House. I journeyed to South Korea in August of 2006 to pick up our 3-year-old son, AntonYong, and in May of 2008 for our 2-year-old son, AndrewTae. What do our two sons have in common? They both lived with Molly Holt for their first month at Ilsan, Holt’s care center in Korea, before moving into one of the care homes. On each of my trips to Korea to pick up our boys, I was able to stay at Ilsan. What a great experience. The highlight of each stay was being able to visit with Molly Holt. Eating breakfast with her every morning, sometimes lunch and dinner, was a great way to start the day. During our visits Molly would tell many stories about her childhood growing up with her family, as well as memories of her time in Korea, living at Ilsan, and caring for all the residents there. Both of my sons arrived at Ilsan with many special needs. AntonYong was hypotonic -- a condition characterized by decreased muscle tone. He was also mentally delayed, did not speak, had abnormal chromosomes, and needed assistance to complete everyday tasks. AndrewTae was mentally delayed, lacked speech, and was not eating food due to severe gagging and vomiting. Even though my boys had all these needs, Molly never hesitated to take them into her home and care for them for about six weeks. After two weeks, she had AndrewTae eating solid food. Both boys received special services at Ilsan such as physical, occupational and speech therapy. Caregivers even took AndrewTae to the Gymboree play center one day a week for extra physical therapy and to help improve his coordination. While staying at Ilsan, I witnessed Molly and her work. Molly has residents who actually live permanently in her home and seeing the outstanding care and love she gives them is truly heartwarming. Molly is caring, loving, kind and dedicated to her
work caring for the residents at Ilsan. You can truly see how much she loves her work. The transition from Ilsan to coming home with my boys went very well. Their attachment to our family and adjustment into our home was very smooth, which we attribute to the preparation Molly and the Ilsan caregivers provided the boys before they came home to us. Well before the boys left Korea, Molly and the boys’ housemothers explained what was going to happen. They showed them the picture books we made for each son featuring photos of our family, home and the bedroom they would be sleeping in. To help them grow comfortable with me, Molly and the housemothers also allowed me to spend as much time with the boys as possible while still at Ilsan. I joined them at meal times. I took them out for one-on-one time, gave them baths, brushed their teeth, got them dressed, and tucked them into bed. This helped ease their attachment with me before we began our journey home. Before we left, the staff at Ilsan – including Molly – threw a going away party for each of the boys. Today, AntonYong and AndrewTae have made many strides and have overcome many of their special needs. AntonYong is now 9 years old and attending a fourth grade class for cognitively impaired children. He has gotten much stronger physically, has made good progress with his speech, and is even reading! AntonYong plays baseball and loves doing puzzles. His future is still unknown as far as his delays go, but for now, he is doing great! AndrewTae is now 7 years old and attending a language learning disabled class in the first grade and has excelled rapidly. He has more than caught up with his delay in speech, as he never stops talking and he is a great eater! AndrewTae plays baseball and his favorite thing to do is play with his Beyblades and Star Wars toys. I will be forever grateful for Molly Holt giving my sons the best care at Ilsan. Her dedication to her work is outstanding. I am honored to know her.
by Kristine Piu |
Beachwood, New Jersey
TOP: Molly Holt in 2005, when AntonYong Piu was still in care at Ilsan. LEFT: The Piu Family: Kristine and Sal with children AdamJae, 13, AidanMin, 10, AvaChae, 8, AntonYong, 10, and AndrewTae, 7 (all adopted from South Korea).
Honolulu, HI ler, 5 (Korea)— Alexis Rockefel iah, 8, children Zechar and Jinky w ith n e, IL to tin ax la Br Pa s)—  t, 3 (Philippine ef Ki n an Ro d an NE pia) — Omaha, zzard, 2 (Ethio Ha en Ow  “Tanuja,” 8, sisters Deanna Sarah, 15, w ith , 9 (bot h from an  m ap weety ” Ch and Hannah “S Beach, CA India) — Grover Rockaway, NJ lsel, 2 (Korea)—  Cole He i, 5 (China)— Bethany Zalesk Jarod, 10, and  B, England Mildenhall AF
prints to: Mail original color gazine ma Holt International , OR 97402 ne ge Eu , 80 P.O. Box 28 os at ot ph or upload digital bmissions /su rg l.o holtinternationa
updates Holt Family Picnics
Join Holt’s Vision Trip to India!
Join Holt staff, families and friends at upcoming picnics across the U.S.! Holt family picnics are a great opportunity to connect – or reconnect – with other adoptive families and adoptees. If you are considering adoption, Holt picnics are also a great way to meet and ask questions of experienced adoptive families in a casual, fun atmosphere. They are also just a fun way to spend an afternoon with your kids! Check out the dates and locations on the neighborhood calendar below, and register online at http://www.holtinternational.org/picnics/.
Are you a Holt child sponsor? Adoptive family or adult adoptee? A Holt donor, or just someone who is interested in Holt's work and wants to learn more? Then this trip is for you! Holt created vision trips to give our supporters the opportunity to travel with us, see our programs, and meet the children and families we serve overseas.
Karyn Williams to Appear at New Jersey Gala
Join us for our next vision trip – to India – in November 2013! The deadline to sign up is Labor Day, September 2nd. But hurry to secure your spot, as the trip may fill up much sooner. For more information:
This year’s New Jersey Gala and Dinner Auction will take place on September 28th in Princeton, New Jersey. All proceeds will benefit the Special Needs Adoption Fund, which helps families overcome the financial barriers that often come with adopting a child with special needs. As a special treat, Christian music artist Karyn Williams and her husband, composer Brian White, will perform at the event! Visit karynwilliams.com/adoption/ to learn more about Karyn’s connection to adoption and to Holt.
ne ig hb orh o ca lenda r o d
July 28-August 1, 2013, Ca for adoptees 9-16 mp Rockin U—Holt Adoptee Camp year s old (day ca mp is July 31)
September 22, Eldridge —Holt Family Picnic at Park, 11 AM – 3 Scot t County PM
July 21-25, 2013 , Calvin Center— Holt Adoptee Ca adoptees 9-16 ye mp for ar s old Oc tober 20, Met ro Atlanta-Marie tta—Holt Family Lutheran Church Picnic at of the Resurrect ion, 3 PM – 6 PM
August 4-9, 2013 , Camp Louemm a—Holt Adopte adoptees 9-16 ye e Camp for ar s old (day cam p is August 8) September 28, 2013, Princeton— Gala Dinner and to benefit the Sp Auction ecial Needs Adop tion Fund. Westin Princeton at Fo rrestal Village, 5:30 PM
August 3, Eugene —Holt Family Pi cnic at Camp Ha 11 AM – 3 PM rlow, November 9, Po rtland— Gala Di nner and Auctio ting children in n benefitHolt’s care in Ko rea. Portland M Downtown Wat arriott er front, 5:30 PM
Get the Info :
For Holt Adopte e Camp and Fam ily Picnic inform Pame Chow at pa ation, contac t: mec@holtinterna tional.org For Events inform ation, contac t: Shonna Wells at shonnaw@holti nternational.org For Holt Heritag e and Adult Adop tee Tour inform tact: ation, conSara Higgins fo r China tour s: sarahiggins@ho ltinternational.o rg Paul Kim fo r Korea tour s: paulk@holtinter national.org Cour tney Yo ung for adult ad optee tour s: cour tney y@holti nternational.org For Vision Trip in formation, cont ac t: Sally Doughert y at sallyd@holti nernational.org
H olt I nt e r n at i on a l .or g
H olt I nt e r n at i on a l / July/August 2013
July 13, Omaha— Holt Family Picn ic at Cooper Mem 11 AM – 3 PM orial Fa
w a it ing c h il d re n Jaylen
Bor n 10.8 .11, N.E . Asia Jayle n is an adora ble boy who was born at 37 week s. Durin g Jayle n’s January well- baby exam inatio n, it was apparent that he was unco mfor table movi ng his left hand . An MRI revealed Jayle n has Rt. Pach ygyria, causing him diffic ulty keep ing his balan ce when he walk s quick ly. He has weaker powe r in his left hand, but it does n’t keep him from picking up toys and playing. Jayle n recei ves physi cal therapy twice a week . He can walk alone, grasp objec ts betw een his thum b and finge rs, put block s in cups and remove his socks with his right hand . Jayle n welco mes his foste r famil y with a bow and open s his arms when they retur n home. Jayle n is in need of a famil y that can provi de him with any medi cal care he may need .
Th es e an d oth er ch ild ren ne ed ad op tiv e fam ilie s Elizabeth
Bor n 12.5.09, N.E . Asia Elizab eth was born at abou t 32 week s and at less than 4 poun ds. She is curre ntly in a posit ive instit ution al envir onme nt, thoug h she was in foste r care until Marc h 2011. She is doing well deve lopm entally, and she loves playing with other child ren and with toys. Elizab eth was unde r incub ator treat ment for abou t two mont hs after birth . Durin g hosp italiz ation, she deve loped a mass on her chee k due to a cong enital infec tion, whic h may require plast ic surge ry in the futur e. This little girl also has been noted to have gingi val hype rplas ia, partial synd actyl y and polyd actyl y of her right foot, flexio n of thum bs, a sacral dimp le, and a small Atrial Septal Defec t. Elizab eth recei ves regular therapy focus ed on senso ry train ing and hand funct ion, and has made great impr ovem ents. She is atten ding presc hool and is able to walk and run. Elizab eth is also impr oving in her speec h deve lopm ent. She is descr ibed as a brigh t and charm ing child who has deve loped good relati onships with both her careg ivers and other child ren. She is in need of a famil y that has acces s to the medi cal resou rces she need s and is comf ortab le with a poten tial gene tic synd rome.
Bor n 3.4.02, S.E. Asia Nath an is a hand some boy with an infec tious smile who is in need of a famil y. He came into care as an infan t and is curre ntly thriv ing in his foste r famil y. His foste r paren ts are Amer ican, so Nath an is gaining expo sure to Engli sh. He has a histo ry of pneu monia, TB and respi rator y failur e, whic h requi red mult iple hosp ital stays when he was youn ger. Nath an requi res Sam, Percy and Penn the use of an inhaler daily. Othe rwise, he is a healt hy Bor n 200 4, 2006 & 2008, S.E. boy and his fine and gross moto r skills are Asia well deve lThese three siblin gs are waiting for a famil oped . Altho ugh some what behin d acade mica y that is lly, he is prepa red to adop t an older siblin g group. The an indep ende nt child who can comp lete tasks midd le witho ut broth er was the first to come into care in help. Since living with his foste r famil y, he 2008, with has beco me high fever, poor deve lopm ent, maln ouris hmen more self-confid ent, thoug h he is sensi tive t and and can tuberculos is, and was provi ded medi catio n, get upse t when tease d. The right famil y stimu lation for Nath an and a nutri tion progr am. He has made great stride will have expe rience in paren ting, acces s s to medi cal in schoo l. He has good social skills and likes servi ces, and the patie nce to help him trans all kinds ition to a of game s and activ ities. The older sister and youn new life. gest broth er came into care in 2011 in similar physi cal cond ition to their broth er, and were place d in a group home near their broth er’s foste r home. The youn gest can do a 9-pie ce jigsaw puzz le, dress hims elf, and play well with frien ds. The older sister is descr ibed as a healt hy, happy child who loves to study and read librar y book s. Because of their diffic ult start in life, these child ren will thrive in a famil y open to unkn owns, prepared for exten ded grief and loss, and expe rienced with adop tion/ foste r care and paren ting past age nine. The ideal famil y will also have a good unde rstan ding of issue s relate d to older child and siblin g adop tion.
For more inform ation on adopting these and other waitin g childre n, contac t Erin Anders on at e rina@h oltinte rnation al.org www.holti ntern ation al.org /wait ingchild/photo listing
Sam, Percy & Penn
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Published on Jul 18, 2013
Published on Jul 18, 2013
• The Woman With Miraculous Tears • Holt President Emeritus Dr. David Kim shares some of his favorite memories of working alongside Molly H...