Stand With Me

I wanted to share something that has been on my heart for a while. It involves giving. As I have grown up, I’ve always found it easy to give financially, to bring a meal, to offer service to those I know or am personally connected to who are in need. How could one not come to the aid of a friend? It’s easy for me to give to those I know and love.

Our family has personally been blessed by the generosity of our community. When my mom was diagnosed with brain cancer, a neighbor who loves to cook brought meals to my parents once or twice a week for three years. Yes, folks, 3 years! I can’t begin to think about this without tearing up. People stepped up and helped our family in countless other ways as well during that very difficult time. To this day I am thankful.

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I also think back to when we adopted each of our children; friends and our church family were right there by our side.  They brought us meals and offered us help. Whenever we have needed support, people were there to give it.

P1090541 Hyo-eun and Su-an with Bear

Through social media, I’ve seen many step up and support those in their extended circles, giving mightily. I’ve literally seen tens of thousands of dollars raised in just days to support families in the adoption process and families whose children are facing medical crisis. I’ve literally been brought to tears at many of these acts or generosity and compassion.

Yet, all of this has left me wondering…what about those who have no one to advocate for them and to support them?   What about those whose faces we don’t see on blogs and in Facebook posts, those who don’t have someone crowd funding for them, those whose names and outcomes we don’t know and will never know? What about the child who sits in an orphanage who is lacking in proper nutrition or the child in need of life saving medical intervention where none is to be had? What about the vulnerable family who is struggling to stay together for whom no one is advocating? Those who are unnamed often go unnoticed.  It is easy to overlook those whom we don’t know personally.

I struggle with this. It makes me sad.

I’ve seen many organizations that help bridge these gaps and meet the needs of those who are underserved struggle to raise money to provide these essential services. It is, quite honestly, harder to get people to give to those they don’t personally know, those whose stories we feel less connected to.

Should we only give to those in our inner most circles and to those whose stories are known to us?

In Acts 1:8 the Bible talks about witnessing “in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” This text speaks to witnessing to people in their present location, Jerusalem; then to their local area; then it extends out that and finally encompasses the world. I believe we can look at giving in much the same way.

I am so thankful for the generosity I have seen extended to my family, my Jerusalem. I am in awe when I see our community rally together to raise funds for individuals and families in our greater community, our Judea and our Samaria. I’m asking you today to extend that giving to the ends of the earth. I’m asking you to step up with me and to take a stand for those who have no one to stand up for them.

So, how can we give? There are many wonderful organizations out there. I’d like to tell you about one of the organizations that is near and dear to my heart.

HOLT INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN’S SERVICES

The first is Holt International Children’s Services. When you mention Holt, most people think immediately about adoption. Yes, Holt is an adoption agency, but perhaps more importantly, Holt is a social service organization that helps provide aid to orphaned and vulnerable children. Holt’s programs include family preservation services aimed at reducing the abandonment of children; aid to extended family members supporting orphaned children; financial support of vulnerable children in order to enable them to remain in school; pre and post operative care of orphaned & vulnerable children with medical needs at places such as Holt’s medical foster home in China, Peace House; creation and support of foster care systems within multiple countries; and a myriad other programs.

To donate to Holt:  https://secure2.convio.net/holt/site/Donation2?1580.donation=form1&df_id=1580

To sponsor a child:  https://holtsponsor.org:4443/sponsor/holt.photolisting

Gifts of Hope Catalog:  http://www.holtinternational.org/gifts/

HOW YOUR GIVING MAKES A DIFFERENCE

Donations to Holt International help support orphaned and vulnerable children, children we don’t personally know, whose names and faces and individual stories will likely remain forever unknown to us. Funds are used in areas such as providing nutrition, providing training of caregivers, and providing early medical intervention that may be the difference in a child’s overall lifespan or quality of life. Some of the nutritional support and early medical support may be the difference between a child being operable or inoperable. It may buy a child just enough time that they are able to be placed in the home of a family who is able to love them and to address their longer term medical needs long term. The impact of your giving is far reaching both in terms of the numbers of children served and the duration of the impact.

STAND WITH ME

Some of you are aware that we adopted our children using Holt. What you may not realize is that once upon a time, our youngest daughter was a child who was medically fragile. She was born with a congenital heart defect that required surgical intervention and specialized nutritional support. Through the generous giving of several complete strangers, our daughter was able to receive the care she needed in the form of a loving foster family and medical support via Holt’s sponsorship program. Charlotte is now a healthy and thriving!

IMG_5490Though Charlotte is known and loved by us now, she too was once a stranger. Several families who never met Charlotte made a conscious decision to financially support her each month. There are many other Charlottes out there. Programs like those  provided by Holt International stand in the gap and help kids like Charlotte and Rini. Some of those kids will someday find adoptive families; some will not. Better still, some children served will be able to remain with their families of origin! Whether or not these kids are in the adoption program really isn’t the point. The point is that they need someone to stand up for them. Will you be that someone? I ask you to be that someone.

Please give. Thank you!

Warmly,

Robin

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Posted in Adoption, China, Chunmiao, Holt Gala & Auction, Holt International Children's Service, Little Flower | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Korea Adoption and Adoptive Parenting Resource Links

The following is a list of links to resources related to Korea adoption, adoptive parenting, transracial parenting, etc. that I have been collecting over the years. These links and posts are by no means a comprehensive list of resources on these topics and should be viewed as a starting point.  If you notice that any of the links are broken, please let me know.  Additionally, if you have additional resources you think might be helpful, I would be happy to update this list.  Also, it bears repeating, these resources represent a variety of opinions on these topics; others may have a different opinion on these issues.  Thanks! GIVING BACK Stand With Me:  https://forthesechildrenihaveprayed.wordpress.com/2014/08/15/stand-with-me/ Holt Korea Donation Needs: https://forthesechildrenihaveprayed.wordpress.com/holt-korea-donation-needs/ CONNECTING

Connecting with Holt:  https://forthesechildrenihaveprayed.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/connecting-with-holt/ Connecting With Other Adoptive Families:  https://forthesechildrenihaveprayed.wordpress.com/2012/06/19/connecting-with-other-adoptive-families/ KOREAN COOKING Korean Cooking: Favorite Cookbooks and Websites  https://forthesechildrenihaveprayed.wordpress.com/2011/06/04/11/ 죽 Easy Jook Recipes (Rice Porridge, 粥 Congee) https://forthesechildrenihaveprayed.wordpress.com/2011/07/22/죽-easy-jook-recipes-rice-porridge-congee/ More 죽 Jook Recipes (Rice Porridge, 粥 Congee) https://forthesechildrenihaveprayed.wordpress.com/2011/07/24/more-죽-jook-recipes-rice-porridge-粥-congee/

SLEEP & HEALTH

Sleep: One of my favorite articles:  https://forthesechildrenihaveprayed.wordpress.com/2011/08/01/sleep-my-favorite-article-about-sleep-adoption/ Sleep: General resources: https://forthesechildrenihaveprayed.wordpress.com/2011/06/13/sleep-general-resources/ Importance of Documenting Your Child’s Mongolian Spots:  https://forthesechildrenihaveprayed.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/importance-of-documenting-your-childs-mongolian-spots/ TRAVEL TO KOREA Traveling with Small Humans:  https://forthesechildrenihaveprayed.wordpress.com/2012/05/28/traveling-with-small-humans/ Holt Guest House:  https://forthesechildrenihaveprayed.wordpress.com/2013/12/21/holt-guest-house-family-room-405/ Lodging in Seoul: Seokyo, Somerset, DMC Ville, Fraser Place Central https://forthesechildrenihaveprayed.wordpress.com/2012/05/26/lodging-in-seoul-seokyo-somerset-dmc-ville-fraser-place-central/ Airbnb:  https://www.airbnb.com Places to Eat Near DMC Ville: https://forthesechildrenihaveprayed.wordpress.com/2012/05/26/dmc-ville-nearby-places-to-eat/  Doing Laundry (DMC Ville): https://forthesechildrenihaveprayed.wordpress.com/2012/05/26/dmc-ville-washing-clothes/  Souvenirs from Seoul, Shopping by Location: https://forthesechildrenihaveprayed.wordpress.com/2011/06/23/souvenirs-from-seoul-shopping-by-location/ Dongdaemun (East Gate Market, 동대문시장)https://forthesechildrenihaveprayed.wordpress.com/2012/05/27/dongdaemun-east-gate-market/ Photographers in Seoul:  https://forthesechildrenihaveprayed.wordpress.com/2012/08/21/photographers-for-adoption-trip/ Adoption Photography: https://forthesechildrenihaveprayed.wordpress.com/2014/03/19/guest-post-what-is-adoption-photography/ KOREAN LANGUAGE & CULTURE Korean Language, General Links: https://forthesechildrenihaveprayed.wordpress.com/2011/06/11/korean-language-general-links-information/ Hangul (한글)  https://forthesechildrenihaveprayed.wordpress.com/2012/02/14/hangul-한글/ TRANSRACIAL PARENTING A Mom’s Heart on Race:  https://forthesechildrenihaveprayed.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/article-a-moms-heart-on-race/ Multi-Ethnic Children’s Dolls:  https://forthesechildrenihaveprayed.wordpress.com/2011/06/19/multi-ethnic-dolls/ Multi-Ethnic Early Chapter Books: http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2014/02/multicultural-early-chapter-books-for-kids.html Kids Like Us (additional book resources) http://www.kidslikeus.org Gray Area: http://www.guernicamag.com/features/gray-area/ White Privilege, and What We’re Suppose to Do About It: http://www.rageagainsttheminivan.com/2013/07/white-privilege-and-what-were-supposed.html White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Backpack: http://ted.coe.wayne.edu/ele3600/mcintosh.html Narrative Burden:    http://www.pactadopt.org/app/servlet/documentapp.DisplayDocument?DocID=136 Anti-Racism and Adoption Ethics Links: http://taffi-group.blogspot.com/p/adult-tra-books.html Transracial Adoption Facebook Group:  This group has resources listed in the “Files” section that pertain to both race and transracial parenting.  https://www.facebook.com/groups/454175457988230/  OTHER Opening Your Heart to the Children Who Wait:  https://forthesechildrenihaveprayed.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/opening-your-heart/ Why I Write https://forthesechildrenihaveprayed.wordpress.com/2011/07/30/why-i-write-advocating-sending-update-to-foster-families/ Book lists: Type “books” in the search field on the website: https://forthesechildrenihaveprayed.wordpress.com

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Connecting with Holt

Holt International Children’s Services has announced that they will be discontinuing support for the Holt forum effective February 1, 2014. Holt encourages families and friends to stay connected to Holt through their social media sites and to look for connection opportunities through Holt branch office Facebook pages and Holt family picnics. Here are links to some of those sites:

Holt International Facebook Page
https://www.facebook.com/HoltInternational

Oregon Branch Facebook Page
https://www.facebook.com/HoltInternational.Oregon.Branch

Midwest Branch Facebook Page
https://www.facebook.com/HoltInternationalMidwestBranch

NJ/PA Branch Facebook Page
https://www.facebook.com/HoltInternationalNJPAOffice

California Branch Facebook Page
https://www.facebook.com/HoltInternational.SoCal.Branch

KS/MO Branch Facebook Page
https://www.facebook.com/HoltInternationalKSMOBranch

Holt Family Picnics
http://www.holtinternational.org/picnics/

Holt Events
http://www.holtinternational.org/events/

Holt Alumni
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Holt-Alumni/520480111323992

Holt International on Twitter
https://twitter.com/holtintl

Holt Enewsletter
http://holt.convio.net/site/PageServer?pagename=EmailSurvey

Holt Blog
http://holtinternational.org/blog/

Holt International Magazine
http://www.holtinternational.org/magazine/

Posted in Adoption, Holt International Children's Service | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Holt Guest House, “Family Room” (#405)

We traveled to Seoul in late November/early December 2013 and had the opportunity to stay at the Holt guest house for a week.  We had 4 people in our party, 2 adults (my husband and me) and our young children (ages ~6 and 4 1/2).

The Holt guest house was a great place to stay for us, and I would totally recommend it.  The price was affordable.  The location of the guest house is very convenient to many things including the Holt office which is located just around the corner, one block away.  There are plenty of places close to the guest house to eat.  There is a mall nearby that includes a McDonalds if you are wanting some western food.  The same mall includes several other eateries ranging from fast food to nicer restaurants.  Starbucks is just a short walk as is Paris Baguette.  There is a 7-11 on the corner, just steps away, where you get get soda and other convenience store items.  HomePlus, a large store similar to a Target or a small Walmart, is just a short walk away as well.  The HomePlus includes a food court, full grocery store, household section, toys, etc.  There is also easy access to the subway.  The guest house has wifi which was easy to connect to and worked well for us both in terms of speed and stability.

The building where the guest house is houses Post Adoption Services, the Reception Center, Holt Travel Services, and the Guest House.  As you enter the building, you will see an entry way with cabinets for your shoes.  You take off your shoes there and put on slippers, leaving your shoes in the cabinet.  They do not have child-size slippers, so if you have a younger child, you may wish to bring your own slippers for them.  During the day and early evening, there is a guard on duty.  There are currently two guards who rotate shifts.  They are very kind and helpful.  They do not speak English.

To get into the building, you simply open the door using the button on the right makes the door slide open.  When it is after hours and the guard is not on duty, you can use enter a special code on the door’s keypad to get in.  We never tried the keypad out as we were always back early enough that the guard was still on duty.

The room keys are located at the guard’s desk.  You take the room key and go up to your room.  When you leave to go someplace, you leave your room key at the desk with the guard.

Located on the 1st floor, in addition to the guard’s desk, is Holt Travel Services as well as the business center.  There is an elevator leading up to the rooms as well as a stairwell.

There is a cafeteria in the basement where you can eat if you’d like to prepare your own meals.  The cafeteria has dishes, a grill top, a combination microwave/toaster, coffee maker, stereo, etc.  HomePlus is within easy walking distance, so you can get groceries there.  We brought some reusable shopping bags with us to HomePlus. You can also buy plastic bags at HomePlus. Keep in mind that whatever you buy at HomePlus, you need to carry back to the room.  We bought milk, juice, breakfast foods and snacks at HomePlus and would typically eat our breakfast in the cafeteria each morning.  On occasion we would also treat ourselves to breakfast at Paris Baguette.

The laundry room is on the 5th floor of the guest house.  It has a full-size washing machine.  Basic instructions are written in English on the top of the machine.  The washing machine cycle takes about an hour to run.  There are drying racks available for use.  We found that the rooms get fairly warm, warmer than the laundry room is kept, so we would do laundry in the early evening and then bring the clothes & a drying rack to our room.  When placed in our room, the clothes would dry overnight.

We stayed in the “Family Room,”  room 405.  The family room is set up to accommodate 4 people.  There are 3 beds, 2 singles and a queen-size bed (might be slightly smaller than a queen).  The room is light and airy with windows on three sides.  It is heated by floor radiators and cooled by an small A/C unit.  It is very clean and nice.

As you enter the room, you walk through a small, short hallway.  To the right there is a small room with a door.  This small room has a single bed with a window.

As you continue into the room, there is another single bed on the right as well as a small refrigerator and a hot water pot.

Turning left, there is a small table with 2 chairs.  To the right of the table is the bathroom which contains a shower, toilet and sink.  It is wet bath style. Because it is wet bath style, the bathroom does get all wet when you shower.  As such bath slippers are provided.  The slippers are small, so if you have big feet (larger than men’s size 9), you may want to bring your own bath slippers to wear in the bathroom.

Walking past the bathroom and table, you enter the largest space which contains the largest of the 3 beds.  The bed appears to be close to the size of a queen.  In front of the bed is a low dresser on which the TV sits.  Inside of the dresser you will find extra towels, a hairdryer, etc.  There is also a large closet in this space.

The accommodations are clean and neat.  The staff is friendly.  The price was great.  Though it is not a full-service hotel (i.e. no maid service or restaurant), it worked really well for us, and we would happily stay there again and recommend to others traveling to Korea.

Holt Korea Guest House:

http://www.holttour.com/brownbag3/menu5/guest.asp

Holt Guest House Room Types and Rates:

http://www.holttour.com/brownbag3/menu5/room.asp

Map of Area by Holt Guest House:

http://www.holttour.com/brownbag3/menu5/loc.asp

map

Official photos of Holt Guest House (includes photos of each room type): 

http://www.holttour.com/brownbag3/menu5/photo1.asp

Photos of our stay at the Holt Guest House and the large “family room” (room #405) taken in late November 2013.

1st Floor

You put your shoes in the cabinet and take slippers before going into the building

You put your shoes in the cabinet and take slippers before going into the building

Shoe cabinet

Shoe cabinet

Shoe cabinet

Shoe cabinet

Shoe cabinet

Shoe cabinet

Business office

Business office

Christmas tree in lobby

Christmas tree in lobby

Business office area

Business office area

IMG_1268

Holt Travel Services

Business office

Business office

Building where Holt Guest House is located

Building where Holt Guest House is located

IMG_1275

Sign on the outside of the building

Cafeteria (basement)

Cafeteria plate sanitizer and water machine

Cafeteria plate sanitizer and water machine

Cafeteria

Cafeteria

Stereo in the cafeteria

Stereo in the cafeteria

Small grill top in the cafeteria

Small grill top in the cafeteria

Combination microwave and toaster in the cafeteria

Combination microwave and toaster in the cafeteria

Coffee maker in cafeteria

Coffee maker in cafeteria

Dish sanitizing machine in cafeteria

Dish sanitizing machine in cafeteria

Caferia - Small refrigerator (small fridge also in room) and a plate/cup sanitizer machine

Caferia – Small refrigerator (small fridge also in room) and a plate/cup sanitizer machine

Cafeteria in the basement where you can make meals

Cafeteria in the basement where you can make meals

IMG_1256

Christmas decoration on tables

Room 405, the “Family Room”

Bathroom in guest house

Bathroom in the room is wet bath style

Looking into the space with the bed and the larger bed (about a queen, maybe slightly smaller)

Looking into the space with the bed and the larger bed (about a queen, maybe slightly smaller)

Large bed (~ queen or a smidge smaller)

Large bed (~ queen or a smidge smaller)

Hair dryer

Hair dryer

Small table in room

Small table in room

Radiators in the room

Radiators in the room

A/C in room

A/C in room

Closet in room

Closet in room

Single bed in the main living area

Single bed in the main living area

Single bed in the small bedroom

Single bed in the small bedroom

Window sill in our room

Window sill in our room

View from the room (top of building across the street)

View from the room (top of building across the street)

Store below the room (across the street)

Store below the room (across the street)

Dresser containing extra towels, hair dryer, etc.  TV sits on this dresser

Dresser containing extra towels, hair dryer, etc. TV sits on this dresser

Laundry Room (5th floor)

Laundry room on 5th floor; drying racks are avai

Laundry room on 5th floor; drying racks are avai

Laundry room on 5th floor

Laundry room on 5th floor

Full-size washing machine

Full-size washing machine

Full-size washing machine

Full-size washing machine

Full-size washing machine (directions)

Full-size washing machine (directions)

Miscellaneous Photos

5th floor mezzanine

5th floor mezzanine

5th floor mezzanine

5th floor mezzanine

Elevator

Elevator

4th floor hallway

4th floor hallway

4th floor hallway

4th floor hallway

Posted in Adoption, Adoption Travel - Korea, Holt Children's Services Inc. (aka Holt Korea), Holt International Children's Service | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Importance of Documenting Your Child’s Mongolian Spots

As we near back-to-school time, I’m strongly recommending to my friends who have children with Mongolian Spots that you make sure that the Mongolian Spots are well documented with your child’s pediatrician as well as with their teacher, schools (file), and other care givers.

Mongolian Blue Spots are described by WebMD and a link on several Families with Children from China (FCC) as essentially “flat, gray-blue in color (almost looking like a bruise), and can be small or large. They are caused by some pigment that didn’t make it to the top layer when baby’s skin was being formed. They are harmless and usually fade away by school age. They are extremely common among people of Asian, East Indian, African, and Latino heritage.

The issue is that Mongolian Spots are easily mistaken for bruises by someone unfamiliar with them. Each year parents get reported to the authorities (e.g. child protective services) by well-meaning mandatory reports who mistook the birth marks for bruises and suspected abuse.

Our first pediatrician actually poo-poo’d my request to document the Mongolian Spots, believing that “everyone is familiar with them.” I assure you that that is not the case, especially in largely white communities. For example, in a predominantly white church we use to attend, when I enrolled our children in the Sunday School program and notified them of the kids’ Mongolian Spots, the first thing the director commented was that she was glad I said something. Apparently they had been unfamiliar with Mongolian Spots and just a few years prior and had mistaken an Asian child’s Mongolian Spots for bruises and called the authorities. I am very glad I did not listen to my son’s former pediatrician.

We just received this year’s letters from the kids’ current pediatrician for their respective schools. Here’s how he worded the letter: “To Whom It May Concern: Childs_Name is a patient in my practice. He is a healthy, young man of Asian descent. He has mongolian spots on various parts of his body. These are a natural, constant appearance in his skin that resemble bruises in color and are sometimes misinterpreted. Please feel free to call my office if you have any concerns.” 

We are including a copy of the article above (http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/picture-of-mongolian-spots) along with the letter. It will be given to the following people: child’s teacher, a copy for the office for each child’s file (i.e. administration/principal/director), and the church youth ministry program. We will also keep a letter for ourselves for use with babysitters, etc. Even though my daughter’s preschool heard about this last year, I like an annual reminder as this type of thing could easily be forgotten.

Last year we used this article: http://firstcoastfcc.org/mongolian-spots/ The only issue we ran into with this article is that the generic picture of a naked bottom can catch people a bit off guard.

Please get your children’s Mongolian Spots documented by his/her pediatrician and make care givers aware, in writing if possible, to avoid potential of having the spots misinterpreted as bruises.

Posted in Parenting | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Article: A Mom’s Heart on Race

I wanted to share this article about race with everyone. I think it is worth reading. This article is told from a Christian perspective. It does not celebrate ‘color blindness’, but rather celebrates the wonderful diversity in God’s children.

One of my favorite quotes within this article is:

“As moms, we need to arm our children with the correct vocabulary and with the perspective that different is good. Different is exactly how we were made, to reflect different aspects of God’s creativity and personality. As we say in our family and our family, “Wouldn’t it be so boring we were all looked the same? God has painted us like a masterpiece of art with different colors and textures!” This perspective is broadened and generalized if we look at the world. If all I want to see if other versions of my self, then that is what I glorify. But no, we need to celebrate and acknowledge differences.”

Here is the link to the article in its entirety: http://courtneydefeo.com/a-moms-heart-on-race/

Posted in Books, Articles, and Readings, Parenting | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Opening Your Heart to the Children Who Wait

2013-02-04 SPC family photo

My daughter Charlotte is one of my life’s greatest joys.  She is the spirit of our family, a child whose very presence will bring a smile to your face.  She is our child who sings and dances her way from room to room rather than merely walking.  Looking at Charlotte now, one would never guess that her life got off to a bit of a rocky start.  You see my precious daughter was born with a congenital heart defect (CHD) that meant her little heart had to work very hard to do its job. Tasks that you and I take for granted such as eating took a lot of energy, and, as a result, Charlotte struggled to thrive during her first year of life.

Newborn photoWe were matched with our daughter via Holt’s Waiting Child program in early November 2009.  Though our daughter’s initial paperwork suggested a minor CHD, the pediatric cardiologist suspected after reviewing her paperwork that we were looking at something more serious. Within a week of receiving her paperwork, we got an update confirming the doctor’s suspicions; we were looking at a heart defect that, while likely correctible, was more significant and would most certainly require open-heart surgery.

I still remember the wait to bring her home to join our family.  Over the next few months after getting her referral, additional issues cropped up.  Each update seemed to bring more difficult news and more uncertainty for our sweet baby.  While Charlotte’s medical needs presented some risk and there were a number of “unknowns”, we were certain of one thing: she was our daughter, and we were committed to her.  With that in mind, we waited and worried for her and waited some more.

P1090642We finally got permission to bring our daughter home in late April of 2010.  She was beautiful, yet petite, not even on the growth chart.  She tired easily.  Generally speaking I think everyone who met her would agree that she was having a bit of a rough go of it.  In addition to her known issues, as a result of her heart defect, she had developed some ancillary issues related to nutrition that needed to be addressed.

DSC_3970 correctedWe spent the next several months working with the doctors and clinicians at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital to address her feeding and nutrition issues and to determine a game plan for addressing her CHD.  In mid-September 2010 Charlotte underwent open-heart surgery.  The surgery was a complete success, and Charlotte’s heart defect was able to be fully corrected. Though Charlotte will need periodic follow-up, her surgeon and pediatric cardiologist both expect her to have a normal life span with no restrictions on her activity.

Open heart surgery was like a rebirth for Charlotte.  Our child who once struggled to engage with people, who never smiled, and who seemed so unhappy, blossomed almost overnight.  Literally within days of getting out of the hospital, Charlotte had energy and joy to spare.  For the first time we saw her smile.  We were so happy for her!

An Unexpected Blessing

A handful of months following Charlotte’s surgery I was looking through Holt’s website and spent some time lingering on the sponsorship page.  We had been long-time supporters and proponents of Holt’s child sponsorship program but had never really considered the possibility that either of our children was a part of the program.  On a bit of a whim I sent a message to the sponsorship team asking them if either of our children had been sponsored.  I received a reply saying that while our son was not part of the program, yes, in fact, our daughter had been sponsored.  Not only had she been sponsored, she’d had several sponsors supporting her.

P20

It’s hard to describe the feelings I had upon finding this out.  Grateful.  Blessed.  Humbled.  To find out that several families had each chosen to generously make a financial commitment to a child they did not know who lived half a world away in order to help ensure she got the care she needed…we were beyond touched.  Those funds helped cover things like her echocardiograms and other diagnostic testing in Korea.  Those funds helped her stay in a loving foster care environment.  Those funds helped ensure she got the care she needed while she waited for a family.

It’s been almost 3 years since we brought our daughter home.  Charlotte is healthy and thriving.  She loves to sing and dance.  She has energy, personality and charm to spare.  I sometimes just sit back in wonder at how far she has come.  I am still humbled and grateful for the role Holt played in matching us with each other.  I am profoundly thankful to her sponsors for supporting her.  I am blessed beyond measure to be her mom.

For more information about Holt International Children’s Services: http://www.holtinternational.org/

For more information about child sponsorship:  http://www.holtinternational.org/cgi/sponsorship/index.cgi

 

Also published in the Holt International Magazine, March/April 2013: http://www.holtinternational.org/magazine/2013/03/28/opening-your-heart-to-the-children-who-wait/

Posted in Adoption, Adoption Process - Korea, Holt Children's Services Inc. (aka Holt Korea), Holt International Children's Service | 1 Comment