Winter 2010 Vol. 52 No. 1
in Heartbreaking Times Reaching Out to Children in Uganda
in this issue 4
Inspiration in Heartbreaking Times
Fall 2010 vol. 52 no. 1 Our Vision Holt International is dedicated to carrying out God’s plan for every child to have a permanent, loving family.
Children in Uganda receive help and hope through Holt and their partnership with Action for Children
Farewell to a Friend President Emeritus Dr. David Kim’s tribute to the late John Aeby
From the Family Families adopt from Holt’s Waiting Child and China Child of Promise programs, and an adoptive mother gives back to the Korean adoptee community
Front Cover: Struggling communities in Uganda are being strengthened and the lives of children, like the ones shown here, are being changed thanks to the assistance of Holt and their partnership with Action for Children.
Holt Heritage Tours, and a story from a Holt graduate.
Dear Readers In the opening line of Erika Ives’ feature story for this issue, she quotes a friend living in Africa, who says: “Africa will inspire you and break your heart at the same time." For a continent that has been devastated by the affects of HIV/AIDS, malaria, and food shortages and has seen helpless children orphaned and abandoned, this quote seems painfully appropriate.
But through these heartbreaking times Holt
International, along with dedicated donors and Sponsors, has stepped in and assisted the families and children who have been affected by these devastating circumstances the most. In the last few years Holt has had the privilege of expanding the services we provide in Africa. We recently celebrated two years providing care and adoption services for children in Ethiopia and have worked tirelessly, through our partnership with Action For Children (AFC), to assist children and families in Uganda. Holt’s primary goal in its alliance with AFC is helping HIV/AIDS orphans and other vulnerable children remain with extended family in their village community. By providing counseling services that enables heads of households to support their families, AFC’s services surround children with community and group support. Services include child sponsorships, grandparent support for children orphaned by HIV/AIDS, home-based parenting groups and parenting education.
Holt and AFC
developed programs to help orphaned, Ugandan youth and families reach “atengé,” which means stability and commitment to staying together within a family or com-
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 Bulgaria, Cambodia, China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Nepal, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea (South Korea), Romania, Thailand, Uganda, Ukraine, the United States and Vietnam. President & CEO Kim S. Brown Senior Vice-President Phillip A. Littleton Vice-President of Policy & External Affairs Susan Soon-keum Cox Vice-President of International Programs Dan Lauer Vice-President of Finance & Administration Kevin Sweeney Vice-President of Adoption Services Lisa Vertulfo
Holt International magazine is published quarterly by Holt International Children’s Services, Inc., a nonprofit, Christian, childwelfare 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 Managing Editor Ashli Keyser Graphics Chloe Goldbloom Subscription Orders/Inquiries and 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 Ashli Keyser at 541/687.2202 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Copyright ©2010 by Holt International Children’s Services, Inc. ISSN 1047-7640
COUNCIL ON ACCREDITATION
munity. In 2009 AFC and Holt saw 29 families and 112 children reach atengé, and 172 families will be ready to exit our family preservation program in 2010. In the years to come Holt plans to expand our services in Africa even more. When you read Mrs. Ives' account, I hope the heartbreaking circumstances she illustrates will be a source of inspiration for you to help Holt in our mission to do all we can for the children and families in Africa.
Ashli Keyser |
P.O. Box 2880 (1195 City View) Eugene, OR 97402 Ph: 541/687.2202 Fax: 541/683.6175
directions A Reflection of Love and Support
As we enter a new year, I would like to take a moment to reflect
children in this southern region of Ethiopia. Where before women
on some of Holtâ€™s accomplishments in 2009, and thank you for the
and children would often die due to lack of medical care, they
compassion and support you have provided for children.
are now able to receive the vital treatment they need in a safe
are uncertain and challenging times for us all, but it seems that one thing remains constant:
Holt continues to provide love,
hope and consistency for the children in our care. Whether it is through our Child Sponsorship program, family preservation projects, or seeing children entering into the arms of loving families, Holt has a lot to be grateful for in 2009. And we have much to look forward to in 2010. Our China Child of Promise program continued to see children with minor to moderate, treatable conditions go home to permanent families, and we look forward to seeing many more children united with families through this wonderful program.
environment. Holtâ€™s Child Sponsorship program has expanded and has become an overwhelming success.
Children in countries like
Uganda, Vietnam, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Nepal and India are receiving the food, shelter, clothing and medical treatment they desperately need thanks to the selfless giving of people who have made the monthly commitment to support a child. We hope that the number of people sponsoring children will continue to grow. I think Holt is best reflected, however, in the over 750 children who went home to permanent, loving families last year. We pray that many more children will be on their way home to families in 2010, and that the love and compassion you have for children will
country of Ethiopia, where our adoption program continues to
be with you throughout the year, since the children entering into
grow and many families in need are being helped through Holtâ€™s
our care will continue to need your love and support.
Family Preservation programs in both Ethiopia and Uganda.
We have also, with the help of generous donors, renovated and opened a medical clinic in the rural area of Shinshicho, providing prenatal and general care to the nearly 250,000 residents and
Kim S. Brown |
President & CEO
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Holt is also thrilled to be celebrating two years in the beautiful
in Heartbreaking Times
H olt I nt e r n at i on a l / W i nt e r 2010
Children in Uganda receive help and hope through Holt and our partnership with Action for Children
Erika Ives |
Tampa Bay, Florida
Far left: Holt and Action for children help at-risk families provide a better life for children through their family preservation programs. From top right: Erika Ives and her husband adopted Esther from Uganda as part of Holt’s Pilot Adoption program. While there, Erika discovered the many things Holt is doing with Action for Children to help make the lives of children and families in Uganda better · Children at the Queen Esther Center School take big sips of fresh water from the well down the hill. · 225 Children from the local village attend the school. An American friend living in Ghana once told me: “Africa will inspire you and break your heart all at the same time.” It was a powerful and prophetic statement I remembered many times during our fall 2009 trip to Uganda and most applicable during a visit to the tiny town of Masulita, just outside of Kampala. My husband and I flew to Africa for our first adoption and were the first family to travel there as part of Holt’s Pilot program. With a few bumps along the way, we eventually came home with our wonderful 12-month-old daughter, Esther. The story of Esther’s adoption is precious, but I felt called to share a different story with my fellow Holt families. Our experience exceeded our expectations, not only because of our successful adoption, but also in larger part due to what Holt and their Ugandan partners, Action For Children (AFC), have already accomplished in Uganda over the past eight years.
We slowly navigated a hut-lined, muddy road with potholes larger than our vehicle. Two AFC team members, Moses and Dora, rode perched on the edge of the bed of the truck. We were told the many huts along the side of the road belonged to at-risk families in Holt’s family preservation programs. These houses were damaged by severe storms last year, and AFC provided assistance for the walls and roofs to be repaired. The houses seemed sparse to our American eyes, but I was learning to look at things differently. Eventually, we arrived at the Queen Esther Care Center and school. It was a tiny building surrounded by a “U” shaped schoolhouse. The grounds were alive with children of varying ages. Our arrival was immediately noticed and our truck was surrounded by the school children before we came to a complete stop. The school, started in 2006 with 30 kids, now taught 225 students, and most of them wanted to meet us. The camera immediately prompted poses and demands to see the results. Those not enchanted by their own image on the back of the digital camera were busy “petting” my husband’s furry arms – a rarity in Uganda. At any given time I was holding two or three children’s hands. We toured the entire facility with hundreds of children in tow.
Africa will inspire you and break your heart all at the same time.
During our stay, we had the honor of traveling with two Holt staff members, Bruce Dahl and Robin Mauney. Bruce is somewhat soft spoken, and his easygoing demeanor and contagious laugh calms any situation. He would give us comical pointers during stressful moments, and we could frequently hear his mantra floating through the cacophony of Kampala’s streets: “Be flexible!”
We were shown the well down the hill and watched many children take big sips of fresh water that bubbled and gurgled to the slow screech of the metal, pump handle. My husband and I created quite a commotion, especially when he decided to run around the school grounds, and the entire student body chose to chase him. Despite all the excitement outside, the AFC staff and Holt companions were busy working inside the Queen Esther Care Center building.
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Robin arrived five days later, and we quickly understood why she was so well-liked. Although Bruce and Robin made wonderful evening and weekend companions, their primary mission was to aid AFC with their first international adoption and other joint projects. Tagging along with Bruce and Robin proved a great benefit to us as we piled into a pickup truck for a bumpy ride to the little town of Masulita.
We entered the front door to a small living area adorned with a table and chairs and the echo of low voices in the back of the house. Behind a small curtain we discovered a narrow hallway lit only by the open back door. I was greeted by two women who were tending to seven, small toddlers seated on the floor feeding themselves from small plastic bowls. To the right, I found another room where Robin sat discussing with Dora how to properly take measurements of children for medical evaluations. In Robin’s lap sat a 2-week old baby. Another child, around the age of three, wandered in with 30 black yarn braids in her hair. At this point questions swirled in my head. I knew that the children outside this house came from the local village to attend school, but who were these babies sitting in the hallway? Who were these other children? The two receiving Robin’s attention, the girl with the braids and the infant, were abandoned separately in banana fields the week prior. I asked who had braided the girl’s hair, and they told me she was found already braided. It made her abandonment so real to me. It was an all-too-real, tangible reminder that this child, at one time, had a family. I felt as though whomever left her still loved her and gave her all they could give – thirty yarn braids and a paper bag of neatly folded clean clothes. The children in the hallway were there for a different reason. They had been removed from their families due to neglect. When I went back out to visit with them they had finished their meals and were sitting on a woman’s lap. Quickly, I realized these children were severely malnourished. Their arms and legs seemed too long and thin and their heads seemed so large for their tiny bodies. I had no way of knowing how old they were. Robin later explained how difficult and delicate the task was of nourishing these children back to health. She also explained that the Queen Esther Center is a safe place for children in need, while Action For Children works with the extended families to help foster a safer home environment.
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I was speechless. I sat for a while in the small front room with Esther in my lap while she eagerly munched on a muffin. Suddenly this new daughter I had known for only a week seemed so healthy, so loved, and so well cared for. I was grateful that these children at the Queen Esther Center were finally getting the love and care they so desperately needed as well. While it was heartbreaking to meet children abandoned in a banana field or see the utter weakness in a starved child, I was deeply inspired by the dedication and faith fostered by Action for Children and Holt. I knew Holt did more than facilitate adoptions, but seeing exactly what they do, truly filled me with pride as a new member of the Holt family. Our adoption, and relationship with Holt, not only provided a family for a child but also helped keep Ugandan families together, intervened when a child was in danger, helped educate parents and provided education for children who would otherwise go without. My husband and I hope to return to Uganda again, but not to adopt, as we’ve been inspired in another way. Holt and Action For Children showed us how to make very real and tangible differences in children’s lives with very few resources, a willingness to love and the drive to do something about it.
Above: Children who enter into care at the Queen Esther Center have often been neglected and are malnourished. The caretakers have the difficult job of nurturing them back to health, while AFC works with the families to establish a betUFSIPNFFOWJSPONFOUt$IJMESFO who have been abandoned are also brought into the Queen Esther Center. These two precious children were both found in banana fields on two separate occasions.
Erika Ives adopted her daughter, Esther, from Uganda as part of Holt’s Pilot Adoption program. If you are interested in adopting a child from Africa, Holt offers one of its least expensive adoption programs in the country of Ethiopia. Check out the Information Below:
Adopting a Child from Ethiopia The Children: Infants through school age Most are healthy and within normal ranges for development. Some children with medical conditions or special needs are available through Holt’s Waiting Child Program. We especially need families for boys and children 2 years and older
The Adoption Process: Quick, relatively uncomplicated Generally 12-18 months from approved application to child placement One of Holt’s least expensive programs, even with travel to Ethiopia At least one parent must travel to receive their child, and stay approximately one week to complete processing.
Farewell to a Friend A Tribute to the late John Aeby, Holt’s Director of Communications for 30 years Since I first began my career in 1956 with Holt International Children’s Services, I have been blessed working with many special people. John Aeby is among the very few who particularly stand out in my memory, as a friend and a colleague whom I always felt I could depend on and trust. He was a devout Christian and a person of great compassion, always ready to aid anyone in a predicament. He was a devoted husband and father, his love for his family never further than a smile away. John joined us not long after he graduated from the University of Oregon School of Journalism. He was a very gifted writer, always able to convey to his reader the spirit and emotion of what he wrote. John was blessed with the ability to make the images and emotions of our mission come alive through his words. He could impart to all the soaring heights of our joy, or the utter depths of our sorrow. It was quite remarkable to all who read his words, that we could be so transported through what he had written in our brochures, Holt International magazine and other publications. John was not only a gifted writer but also a man of many other talents, as well. He was extremely knowledgeable about various photographic, electronic and audiovisual equipment and technologies. His eye could see the story captured in a brief moment in time, and he planned, produced, edited and managed the essays in Holt publications, as well as the photographic record of our organization. He was a consummate storyteller, and prepared all of the materials illustrating Holt’s domestic and international programs and the needs of the children we served. In John’s compositions, the portrayal of the needs, spirit, and emotion of the subjects was simply the finest. They always depicted not only the reality of Holt’s mission of serving children, but also indelibly imprinted it in the minds and hearts of all who witnessed his art. He was a man with many talents but few words. He never boasted of his accomplishments but always humbly and quietly fulfilled his responsibilities. I have many fond memories of working directly with John, as I had written many “Director’s Corners” for Holt International magazine. I was always surprised and delighted to see how my words would be improved and transformed by him. John inspired me to write Who Will Answer. His assistance was invaluable from beginning to publication. My book would not have become a reality without his direction and support. When John joined us at Holt, no one knew what kind of a person he was or what kind of a staff member he would turn out to be. But God knew our needs, and He provided to Holt just the right person, one who had not only excellent qualifications for the job, but also one whose Christian faith would gently permeate throughout our organization. John truly and steadfastly embraced our mission as his own. I am often reminded of John’s kind demeanor, his ready smile and the warmth of his heart. I am honored to have not only known him and worked with him, but also to have him as my Christian brother.
Holt President Emeritus
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Dr. David Kim |
from the family A Beautiful MOMent A long journey to Ethiopia ends in a long-awaited embrace
Trey Williams with his parents, Russ and Rebekah The past year as new parents has been the most amazing experience my husband and I could ever have hoped for. In 2008 we accepted the referral of our son, Trey Niana Kelaye Williams, from the Ethiopia Waiting Child list.
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Our trip to Addis Ababa was less than pleasant. We missed every scheduled flight out of Portland and ended up taking a detour through London and Amman, Jordan. We were nine hours late arriving in Addis, which meant we had to wait even longer to meet our son. Once we arrived at our hotel, we quickly cleaned up and headed next door to the care center, as sleep was not nearly as important as meeting our little boy. We were greeted by Holt staff members and taken immediately upstairs where the children were. Who knew that the next three minutes would be the longest of the entire trip? As we waited to greet our son for the first time, so many things ran through my mind. How will he take to us? What will I feel when I see him? Finally, the nannies brought him down the stairs. He was so little, much smaller than what I had expected but so beautiful. He had the most remarkable eyes and smile. I had thought about this moment a thousand times. How sweet it would be when he was handed to me and let me kiss him and tell him how much I loved him... Trey had other plans.
He swatted at me the moment I reached for him. As a new mother this was definitely not what I had expected, although I had been warned it could happen. He went to my husband right away and played with him on the floor. It took about 45 minutes of playing before he finally gave me the time of day. At one point, the other adoptive families decided to head outside for playtime with their children, and Trey wanted to go. He reached for me and pointed to the door, which just about made my day. Although he didn't care who took him outside, I was thrilled he reached for me. As I rocked Trey in a chair after playtime, I finally had “my moment”…the one I had been dreaming about. He wrapped his arms around me, nuzzled his face into my neck and fell asleep. The nannies wanted me to walk him upstairs and put him in his crib, but I just wanted to hold him a little longer and take it all in. I was a “Mommy.” I was responsible for this beautiful boy. We had been given the most amazing gift…our son. Our transition home has been phenomenal. Since our son had a heart condition, he has been to the doctor frequently and has had two operations, but his tests are now reporting as “normal.” We began our second adoption through Ethiopia at the end of 2008. We just received word that we have passed court and should be traveling to bring home our daughter soon. Now the thoughts have all started again... What will she think of us? What will we feel?
Rebekah Williams |
We Hoped for a Son China Child of Promise We wanted to add another son to our family and through Holt's Child of Promise program, we brought Will home just one year and one day after we signed the papers to begin our home study! When we started to discuss adding a final child to our family, we realized that we had several prerequisites that made it challenging to locate a program that fit them all. We wanted a son--that was the easy one. We also wanted our child to come home at under 2 years old, and the clincher was that we wanted him to be about 18 months younger than our youngest child at the time. This meant that we would need to complete an adoption in about a year. How in the world could this happen when adoption time-lines are increasing in so many programs? Answer: Holt's China Child of Promise program. After talking to Holt's China staff, we became very excited about the potential addition to our family of a child with a minor to moderate need. When a staff member asked me if we were open to either gender, my heart sank...."No, we are only open to a son," I replied. The excitement and joy in his voice reassured me immediately as he exclaimed, "Really? You want a son? This is great! We have so many boys that need families! Your referral will come very quickly!" Let me jump to the present! Will is such an amazing little guy! He makes us laugh each day as he imitates what we do, runs around the house after his siblings, and tries to say new words. His smile and giggle bring joy to each of our hearts. He fits right into our family, and although he has only been home for seven weeks, it feels like he has been with us from the start.
(From Right to Left): Christmas 2009: Grace, 6, Jack, 4, Ana, 3, and Will, 21 months If you are frustrated by waiting in the China standard program or contemplating adding another child to your family, I urge you to download the "Minor/Correctable Needs" form from Holt's website, and take it to a pediatrician to review. We were very surprised to learn how many children who would be considered "healthy" by American standards are waiting for families in the "minor/correctable needs" program in China. In our situation, our pediatrician thinks that the hole in Will's heart that labeled him "special needs" healed before the adoption was completed. Holt's China Child of Promise program was the best decision we could have made. It brought us our amazing son!
Elizabeth H. |
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from the family
They Are Not Alone A Hangul alphabet book creates a lasting connection between Korean adoptees and their families When we met our son, Nate, and his foster parents in Seoul— I knew it was an experience we’d never forget. I had no idea how far the ripples from that first meeting would extend and how many deep relationships would blossom because of it.
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Before that fateful meeting, we’d made the acquaintances one would expect to make throughout the adoption process: our fabulous social worker, the staff at our local agency, as well as the Holt staff in Eugene. But it was those unexpected relationships, thanks largely to the Holt Korea Families Forum, which have had the deepest impact on us and continue to enrich our lives. At the onset of our adoption journey, I scoured the Internet for information. I had questions only adoptive parents could answer, such as: Did your child take to you right away? Did your child grieve? The Holt forum was exactly the resource I needed. I soaked up everything I could from experienced forum members, and I celebrated and commiserated with members who were waiting along with us. I lived for each new photo of a child at home with his or her family and rejoiced with each new referral. When it was finally my turn to post our travel call, I swear I could almost hear the cheers from all the other members. Through the Holt forum and Adopt Korea TX, our local Texas adoptive families’ Internet group, we’ve made life-long friends and have created an online family. As our children begin to mature and look beyond their immediate families, they’ll find they’re already part of a network of adoptees they’ve grown up with over the years.
Adult adoptees have shared how important it is for adoptive children to know that there are other families, just like there’s, that exist all over the country. Because of this, I put together a book of the Hangul alphabet that features pictures of Korean adoptees. By seeing other Korean adoptees in this book, I hope that it will strengthen our children’s developing sense of belonging and help them see that, while their personal stories are unique, they are not alone. As soon as I posted a request for participants on both the Holt forum and the AdoptKoreaTX list, I was inundated with emails from families eager to take part. I was quickly able to put together a long list of submissions for the book. I chose to make the book about the Hangul alphabet because not only is the language a part of our children’s heritage, but it’s also an active part of my family. We are all learning Korean and plan to return to Korea one day and reconnect with Nate’s foster family. I will always cherish the friends we’ve made and the extended virtual family we’ve built as members of the adoption community. It’s been a true privilege to give back to that community. Alicia Wennstrom is the mother of three children, including Nathaniel JeeHoon, 5, born in Changwon, S. Korea and adopted through Holt’s Waiting Child Program in 2003. She is the author of Hangul, The Korean Alphabet, which can be purchased at www.blurb.com/books/848666. She is also the owner of The First Glimpse Photography and Design, an adoption announcement business she began with the encouragement of her Holt Forum family. www.thefirstglimpse.com
Alicia Wennstrom |
Round Rock, Texas
Proud Father of Eight Adopting Older Children
I never really thought about having a wife, home and children when I was younger. In the back of my mind I thought it might be possible but, at the time, it just wasn’t a priority for me. I was too busy with college, playing in a rock band and thinking mostly of myself….there had to be something more. I knew there was a greater calling. Today, I am the father of eight precious children…. I married a wonderful woman and had three handsome, smart and thoughtful sons who were truly blessings from heaven. We started attending a local church, and we both accepted the Lord and put our trust in Him. Thus, began the tale of the adoption of our daughters from China who needed homes of their own…. We adopted Faith, Hope, Grace, Joy and most recently Jewel, who was 13 when she came home to us. We have had very similar, yet distinct, experiences early on with each of our children. When we traveled to receive Faith, who was 15 months old at the time, I had no idea what to expect. When the caregivers brought her out, she cried and cried and continued to stay in a glazed state for several days. My wife and I often prayed for guidance in this matter, and to help our daughter adjust, we eventually quit our jobs and moved to the mountains where we worked from home and were able to spend more quality time with our children.
Joy has been unbelievably resilient. She learned to speak English in a matter of a few months, and translates from Mandarin to English to help us with our new daughter, Jewel. Yes, after much prayer and financial help from family, friends and strangers, there was another calling to adopt…. Jewel is 14 and almost completely deaf, and, like all my children, she is a treasure that I cannot imagine living without. I get many questions, mostly from men, regarding adoption and specifically adopting older children. Yes, it costs money but that is typically spread out over many months. It would cost you much, much more, in terms of a rich life, not to have these loving children in your life. Many times men worry over special needs more than prospective adoptive mothers do. I can tell you from my experience that it’s no different than having biological children; it is all in God’s hands. At first I could not see myself with this many children or any children for that matter, and now I cannot fathom being without them. They are my family, and I am their Daddy. There is no longer a void in our lives or our hearts – only a peace that goes beyond our understanding.
Brad Burns |
Twain Harte, California
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We felt called to look into adopting another child from China and adopted Hope when she was five years old. Hope was quiet at first but, then she became tense and cried, screamed and wanted nothing to do with us. This attitude towards us continued for quite some time. There was less consternation for us, however, as we knew that this too, would pass. Once our children came home and began to get adjusted to new adults in their lives and the fact that we would care for them no matter what, each one began to bloom in their own special and wondrous ways.
Faith is my little dancer, so elegant, beautiful and graceful. Gracie is my little, happy one, always laughing and playing tricks on me. Her laugh is infectious; I love her more than I can ever explain. Gracie’s heart condition has been repaired, a simple operation here but not possible for her birth parents, to whom I am forever grateful.
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Zachary, 4, Isabel Dolter, 10 (Bot h from the Philippines)—Saint Louis, MO Noah, 7 (China), Stephanie, 10 (China), Jameson, 14, Julianna , 17, with their parents Scot t and Nancyde e MacFarland—Quinc y, MA Lauren, 17, HaYoon, 11, Jade, 19, (all from Korea)—Wolf Point, MT Eli, 3, Mikayla, 3 (Ethiopia), with their parents Micah and Bethany Hutchison—Florence, AZ William, 3 (Korea), Ian, 1 (Korea) and, Isaac, 2, with parents Tren t and Jenn Simpson—Waterloo, IA Tamirat Norman, 2 (Ethiopia) with mother, Michelle Hines— Greensboro, NC Samuel Long, 2 (Vietnam)—Bon ney Lake, WA Cousins Lin Marie Kerr, 21 (Chi na), Daniel Schuman (the groo m), 24 (Thailand), Jenna Gray, 18 (Kor ea), Chian Kerr, 17 (China) Molly, 4, Keenan Brock, 7 ( both from Korea)—Medford, OR Mail original color prints to: Holt International magazine P.O. Box 2880, Eugene, OR 9740 or upload digital photos at holt2 international.org/submissions
adoptees today Journey of the Heart
Everything I Could Ever Want
A return to Korea, with the Holt Heritage Tour, brings understanding and an unexpected connection
A graduating college student and aspiring journalist credits her parents for her accomplishments in life
Courtney (fourth from left), shown here with her husband, Jon, and host family, returned to Korea for the first time since being adopted.
Kristin with her parents, Gene and Pat Sherrard
Is this your first time back to Korea? I don’t know how many times I was asked this question while on the Holt Heritage Tour. Technically, the answer is no. I was in the airport for a layover to Hong Kong once, but that doesn’t count. I was adopted in 1980, and this was my first trip back to Korea.
Being a journalist means that you are responsible for recording the events and experiences that will become the history for tomorrow. You learn that everyone has a unique story to tell, including yourself. My story begins on March 23, 1988, not on the date of my birth, but the start of my life. At eight months and ten days, I was still new to this world and didn’t know much. But from the moment I was held in the arms of Gene and Pat Sherrard, I knew I was home.
I tried not to have high expectations. I wanted to share this experience with my husband and the 45 people on the two-week tour. For many, this was their first time back. Smiles and laughter seemed to be a constant theme. I also saw and experienced many tears. In a country so foreign to me, I felt this connection to Korea as if I had never left. I saw myself in so many faces but, at the same time, I realized that we didn’t have much in common other than being Korean. It felt so weird to see people everywhere, who look like me but to feel so disconnected to them at the same time. Yet, I felt a close connection with the other adoptees on the Tour. The Heritage Tour took us to Incheon, Seoul, Gyeongju, and Busan. We visited the Korean Folk Village, Changdeok Palace and were invited to a special dinner hosted by the district mayor of the Jongno District. We did our best at making kimbop at the Kyoungbuk University Korean Cultural Program, visited the Jeonju Babies’ Home, the Daejeon Maternity Shelter and Holt Ilsan Center. We were honored in the Mapo District with a ceremony that granted us honorary citizenship, commemorating our visit and reestablishing our roots and ties to Korea.
Throughout my life, people have asked me if I ever wanted to try to track down my “real parents,” and every time I respond in the same way: I already know who my parents are. While I would love to travel to South Korea one day as a tourist to see what it is like, I have everything I need and could ever want here in Kentucky. As I sit here writing this, a college graduate looking for her first “real” job in the professional world, I worry about things like the economy and insurance for the first time in my life. However, one thing I do know is that I want to be a journalist. Through my words and photos, I want to record today’s history for future generations to find and to learn from. My parents always told me to give my best effort in everything I do and to never give up on my goals or on myself. I believe that as long as I continue to work hard and pursue every opportunity, things will eventually fall into place. No matter what happens, I know that I will always have parents who love and support me, and I will always remain thankful to Holt International for bringing us together.
Kristin Sherrard |
For information about this year's China and Korea Heritage Tours, contact Lisle Veach at email@example.com (China Tour) or Paul Kim at paulk@holtinternational. org (Korea Tour)
Courtney Rader |
Holt Adult Adoptee Outreach Director
Holt I nt e r n at ion a l .or g
There is no way to clearly describe my experience back to Korea. Just like the nod many adoptees give each other, there is a common understanding among those who have experienced their first trip back. It’s a journey I have opened my heart to and have no expectations as to where it may lead. I do know, however, that I have gained a better understanding of my birth country and knowledge of Holt’s services. I have seen how beautiful and proud the Korean people are. I know I will return to Korea and look forward to growing my relationship with a country I once called home.
My parents have always played an important role in my life. Birthdays and vacations, sporting events and school projects, they were there for every one. It is with their love and guidance that I have become the person I am today.
Holt is starting to recruit families who are interested in adopting a child from Mongolia. If you are interested in learning more about this program, go to www.holtinternational.org/mongolia or contact Thoa Bui at Thoab@holtinternational.org
Korea The Korea program is looking for individuals interested in volunteering at Holt’s Ilsan Center in Korea. The Ilsan Center, built by Holt founder Harry Holt and former Holt President, David Kim, has provided care to children and residents with disabilities for nearly 50 years. If you are interested in volunteering at the Ilsan Center and would like more information, please contact Paul Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org
Camp for August 1-5, 2010 | Dobbins—Holt Adoptee adoptees 9-16 years old
May 30-June 2, 2010 | White —Holt Adoptee adoptees 9-16 years old
July 25-29, 2010 | Okoboji—Holt Adoptee adoptees 9-16 years old
r and Auction March 20, 2010 | Omaha—Holt Gala Dinne La Vista s, need al speci with to benefit children Embassy Suites, 5:30 p.m.
August 8-13, 2010 | Sussex—Holt Adoptee adoptees 9-16 years old.
Bharatiya Samaj Seva Kendra (BSSK), Holt’s partner agency in India, celebrated its 30th anniversary in November. Holt President and CEO, Kim Brown and Holt’s Program Director for South and Southeast Asia, Jennifer Goette, were in attendance for this special occasion. BSSK, formed by Holt in 1979, served more than 1,600 children in 2009. The model childcare facilities provide social services, foster care, medical care and nutritious meals. With a range of services, BSSK has served 4,409 children through their childcare facilities and facilitated adoption for 3,252 children in the past 30 years. In congruence with the anniversary, BSSK also organized an event to celebrate National Children’s Day. Five hundred participants enjoyed music, performers, food, and crafts.
Cambodia Holt-Cambodia committed $1,000 to assist the Cambodian Red Cross in its efforts to respond to the immediate needs of children and families affected by the devastating cyclone in September. Forty-three families, including 66 children in the Kampong Thom Province were provided with emergency food items and supplies.
H olt I nt e r n at i on a l / W i nt e r 2010
Congratulations Emily! 2009 Holt Graduate Emily Ciaccio—Omaha, NE; National Honor Society, Cross Country, Big Brother/Big Sister, stage crew, dance, student council, Computers for Africa. Emily plans to major in interior design at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, NE. (China)
Auction to February 6, 2010 | Eugene—Holt Gala and s, need al speci benefit children with Eugene Hilton, 5:30 p.m. Camp for July 18-22, 2010 | Corbett—Holt Adoptee adoptees 9-16 years old.
Get the Info
For Holt Events information contact: Holt Special Events Manager, Kari Rosenfeld at email@example.com ct: For Holt Adoptee Camp information conta 2202 -687(541) at Kalb Steve firstname.lastname@example.org or go to holtinternational.org/camp
Holt Events Holt’s Gala Auctions, helping provide funds for children with special needs, will be held on February 6th in Eugene, Oregon and March 20th in Omaha. See holtinternational.org/events for more information about locations and times.
Holt Heritage Tours We still need families to join Holt’s family tours to China and Korea. We especially need families to join the summer China tour. If you are interested in one of these meaningful family tours, contact Paul Kim at email@example.com for the Korea tours, or contact Lisle Veach at firstname.lastname@example.org for the China tours.
w a it ing c h il d re n Cathy
Bor n: 2 .17.01 | C hin a
These and other children need adoptive families Rahul
Cathy came into care at 3 wee ks of age and lives with a foster fam ily. She enjoys play ing and is very outgoing. Cathy has active Hepatitis B but has normal physical development. While she does have some speech dela ys, she attends school regularly and performs well in class.
Bor n: 2 .18.07 | A fric a
This sweet, little boy has been in care since Apr il 2009. He has som e developmental delays and has tested positive for Hepatitis C in the past. Although not able to speak at this time, he is able to follow commands and has normal hear ing and vision. A $5,0 00 grant is available from Brittany’s Hop e for this adorable boy.
Click holtinternatio nal.org /waitin gchild/ photolisting
11.10.06 | India
Rahul has a sweet smile and has been in care since infancy. He enjo ys play ing on the mer ry-go-round and swinging on the playground. While he has some delays, he receives speech and physical therapy and is improving in thos e areas. Rahul’s caregivers describe him as a sweet, curious and observant child.
12.19.01 | SE A sia Walker, a determined little boy, came into care in June of 2007. He currently lives with a foster family and is being treated for ADHD. He attends speech therapy, and his teachers say his attention span is improving. Wal ker goes to school ever y day with enth usiasm. He enjoys climbing and play ing football with the neighborhood boys . His teachers say that he is very thoughtful. There is a $5,0 00 grant available from Brittany’s Hope for this precious child.
For more infor matio n on adop ting these and other waiting child ren, conta ct Erin Mower at erinm @ holtin terna tional.org
R a h ul
NONPROFIT ORG US POSTAGE PAID EUGENE, OR PERMIT NO. 291
Post Office Box 2880 E u g e n e O R 974 0 2
Change Service Requested
in the heart
China Family Tours Contact Lisle Veach, China Program | (541) 687-2202 | email@example.com
Korea Heritage Tour Contact Paul Kim, Korea Program | (541) 687-2202 | firstname.lastname@example.org
h o l t i n t e r n a t i o n a l.o r g /t o u r s
connection :: culture :: experience :: engage
2 010 H o l t H e r i t a g e To u r s