One of the concerns we had in regards to adopting from Ethiopia was the number of children placed for adoption by their parents, simply because they could not afford to care for them. This was heartbreaking for us, even though it is the reality many face living in a country of extreme impoverishment. We felt that in those situations, where poverty is the only thing preventing the birth family from remaining together, why not just give the money to the birth family that we would otherwise spend to adopt their child? We wrestled with this issue for quite some time, because once you are far enough into the process to receive the referral of your child, you don't have much control over how that child became available for adoption or what the situation was that led to that decision.
In the midst of that struggle, we came across Holt International and it was as if they were speaking directly to our concerns when we read this, "Holt never considers poverty alone to justify international adoption." Whenever possible, Holt actually assists birth families in remaining together, which Micah and I believe is always going to be the best situation for the child when it is possible. Holt judges each child's situation individually to determine if international adoption is really the best option for that particular child. If the birth family is unable to remain together, Holt also looks to the possibility of adopting the child to another family within the child's birth country so that at least he/she can remain within their home culture.
For many children in Ethiopia, international adoption does become the best option because adoption "within" the country does not occur very often, and the child was orphaned due to parents deaths, they were abandoned and nobody knows the whereabouts of the parents, or maybe they only have one living parent who is extremely ill or on the verge of dying. When these things happen, children in Ethiopia either end up living on the streets or they end up in orphanages... either way, they are left without a loving, forever family. Those are the situations where a family like ours is able to open our home and invite a child to join our family and thrive in a loving, nurturing, environment. "Holt International Children's Services is dedicated to carrying out God's plan for every child to have a permanent, loving family."
Holt has been around for over 50 years, and the story of how they began is truly an amazing one. It all began with a couple named Harry and Bertha Holt who in the 1950's saw a movie about children in Korean orphanages who desperately needed help, and they decided they wanted to adopt EIGHT of them! In the 1950's this decision would not have been a very popular one with most Americans, because at the time adoption was regarded as something that should be kept secret - something that would be impossible when a child is clearly of another race/culture than the parents! But Harry and Bertha had deeply rooted Christian faith and pushed through the barriers of race and nationality to show the world that "adoption is a banner of love, not a badge of shame." In order to bring their eight children home from Korea, they actually had to get both houses of Congress to pass a special law - and they did!! Talk about determination, right? Anyway, their story is truly amazing and after Harry died in 1964, Bertha Holt's legacy continued as she became known as "Grandma Holt" to many adoptive families and thousands of children around the world. "She worked tirelessly on behalf of children in need until her death at age 96." If you are interested to learn more about Harry and Bertha, CLICK HERE to go to the Holt website has some great information as well as videos that were created in tribute to the work they began 50+ years ago.
We are very excited to be working with Holt during this process, and if you found this blog randomly because you are searching for information about adopting from Ethiopia and want to hear more about our experience, please feel free to leave a comment with your email address and I would be happy to share more with you! :)