Every year, we get excited for November because it’s National Adoption Month — a month devoted to advocating for children who are waiting for permanent, loving families, and raising awareness about the continuing need for and issues surrounding adoption! We also take this month to celebrate adoption — showing how many people are connected to adoption in some way.
This year, we need YOUR help!
Congratulations to the following families, who have recently welcomed their child home!
Luke and Heather welcomed baby Michael into their family last October! Michael was born in Kentucky and was adopted through our domestic interstate program!
“Our daughter is such a JOY!”
James and Wendy, along with big brothers Matt, Chris and David, welcomed home 9-year-old Man Xi from China last August.
Congratulations to John and Dee, who welcomed home Owen from China!
Fifteen years ago, 17 girls and their adoptive families came home from China together. Today, they still get together every year to celebrate and remember the connection they all share.
“An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but will never break.” — Chinese Proverb
We were a group of 34 people representing the adoption of 17 baby girls ranging from 13 months to 2 years old. Our group was an eclectic mix of ages, occupations and family compositions — there were married couples, single parents, two grandmothers, an aunt and an uncle. For some, this adoption was their family’s first child, maybe their only child. Others had older biological children and four had previously adopted daughters from China. Despite all of our differences, we had become fast friends by the time we reached Beijing.
Prior to our group leaving for China in January 2002, we had travel meetings where we all got to know each other before leaving. Our escorts from Sunny Ridge were social workers Bethanne Gennette and Julie Betts as well as Bill Li Jian Zhong who met us in China.
In July 2002, these families came together for their first reunion since coming home!
Last year, California mom Amber Kanallakan and her husband adopted their son Oliver from China — a little boy with limb difference. They were featured on the cover of Holt’s 2015 annual adoption magazine. We’ve also shared some of Amber’s blogs about their adoption process and her advice about fundraising for adoption. Now, in a post originally on the Holt International blog, she shares about another part of their journey to Oliver — their homecoming.
Friends and family gathered at the airport to welcome Oliver home from China. Photo by Jacki Potorke Photography
During our adoption process, I often dreamed of the moment we’d walk through the double doors of the airport foyer, holding our long-awaited and already dearly loved son, and introduce him to our people.
Considering the sleep deprivation, hunger pains and overwhelming emotions, I’m impressed my brain has held onto the details of our actual homecoming like it has. Continue reading
Age 3, Playing with older sister, Melanie (left).
Before traveling to Thailand, Molly Martin sat down to complete a difficult task — choosing the photos from her life that she would share with one very important woman, her birth mother.
After my first semester of college, I came home for Christmas break and sat on the floor of my bedroom among hundreds of photos. There were photos of me as a little girl dressed up in princess costumes, photos of my chubby years, photos of me playing various instruments and sports, photos from family vacations to the beach, photos from school dances, photos from my high school graduation, and photos of me at college with my new friends. There were photos from all of my major life events as well as photos from my everyday, mundane activities. As I looked through all of the photos, I saw the story of my life, as if it were a book. However, the first chapter of my story didn’t start at my birth, but rather it began when my parents flew to Thailand to bring me back to America. It was almost as though my birth was the prologue of this book – a prologue that was a mystery to me.
Holt adoptee and camp counselor Leah Ferriby shares the story behind this photo from Holt Camp 2016.
Holt Camp is an interwoven community threaded with commonality, strength and resilience. The picture above represents a moment when I finally understood the power of community. I attended camp for nine years and had the amazing experience of getting to know other adoptees on the East Coast who shared a similar aspect of their identity. This year, I had the privilege of being a counselor — not only at the East Coast camp, but also the Oregon, Nebraska and Wisconsin camps. Never had I imagined that the adoptee community could reach and impact so many lives. Each camp had different dynamics, but in the end, was built on the same foundation. Camp is a place where our own vulnerabilities are open, and I have found over the years that it’s these vulnerabilities that connect us so deeply to one another. This summer, I found community within crisscrossed arms, tear-stained faces and heavy-hearted goodbyes.
For 20 years, the Stark family has served faithfully as Holt-Sunny Ridge foster parents — caring for children as they wait to be united with their adoptive families. Nancy Crouch, Holt-Sunny Ridge’s director of domestic adoption and birth parent services, shares about the amazing, meaningful impact the Stark have made over the years.
I never really knew the true meaning of guardian angels until I met Paul and Cindy Stark, licensed temporary foster parents for Holt-Sunny Ridge. For over 20 years, the Stark family has been providing a loving and caring home to children in need. The dream of being foster and adoptive parents all started when Cindy was a student at the University of Notre Dame and working part-time for the assistant dean of marketing, Joanne, who would often talk to Cindy about her passion for adoption. Joanne adopted two young boys of a different race who were in need of a family, which really touched Cindy’s heart. The love that she observed in Joanne’s family was truly amazing and life-changing for Cindy. It did not matter what differences the family had with race, education or need. They were family.
The Stark family with one of their foster babies.