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Holt International

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LAST UPDATED: June 27th, 2019

Holt International, based in Eugene, Oregon, provides adoption, orphan care, and other family services in 13 countries: Cambodia, China, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Mongolia, North Korea, Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, Uganda, Vietnam, and the United States. The agency works with families in all 50 states to adopt internationally. Adoption services in the United States include domestic adoption in Illinois (through partner agency Holt-Sunny Ridge), adoptee camps, birth search assistance, clinical counseling and resources, and post-adoption services.

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The Good

  • Successful Adoption Rate
  • Financing and Fee Options
  • Adoption types
  • Education and Training

Successful Adoption Rate

In 2015, the agency placed 455 children with adoptive families in the U.S. and 252 children with adoptive families in their respective birth countries. This is a significantly high number compared to other adoption agencies. 

Financing and Fee Options

The agency is very forthcoming with a variety of different sources to look for financial help with adoption. This includes information about the Federal Adoption Tax Credit, state tax credits, employer assistance, military reimbursements, and several organizations that provide grants and scholarships to families seeking to adopt. The agency itself will usually reduce the adoption program fee if the child being placed has severe special needs. Additionally, Holt staff may apply for a grant from the organizations Special Needs Adoption Fund (SNAF) on behalf of a family with a demonstrated financial need.

Fees vary by country program, but clients can expect to pay between $20,000-35,000 for everything-including travel, document preparation, legal fees, and parent education. China requires a monetary donation to an orphanage and there are other third-party costs for each country's program in addition to differences in travel. Uniform fees for all international programs include:

  • Application: $300 (due when applying)
  • Home study: $2,500-2,900 plus mileage (due before first home visit)
  • Home study update: $500 plus mileage (due before the home visit)
  • U.S. processing fee: $3,500 (due after home study is approved)

Adoption Types

Holt International focuses on international adoption but gives Illinois residents the opportunity to adopt domestically through Holt-Sunny Ridge. The agency will facilitate any degree of openness that the birth parents choose, though adoptive families should be prepared to have an open adoption as that is what most birth mothers desire.

On average, the process from application to traveling home with a child takes 2-3 years. Families often request to adopt girls so families seeking a boy would have a shorter wait time. However, wait times can vary from country to country and in some cases, the entire process could take place in less than a year. While international children wait to be placed before and after a match, they are usually living in care centers, group homes, or foster homes. Holt advocates for quality in-country care and updates families with the most accurate information available on a child's growth, development, and medical conditions.

Education & Training

The agency hosts monthly webinars as a way to learn more about their specific international country program options as well as the process of adopting. Families in process can access Holt's online handbook with step-by-step adoption information, downloadable forms, and links to adoption resources. Holt's parent education curriculum can also be accessed online.

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The Bad

  • Finding a Match
  • Adoption Process

Finding Your Match

Parent eligibility requirements are different for each of the 13 country programs and can be extremely specific. For example, in China, only married couples married for over two years and single women can adopt. In Haiti, couples must have been married for five or more years and single applicants must be at least 35 years old. In Holt's international programs, most waiting children are 2-3 years old when they are placed. In general, over half of the children placed through Holt have some special needs, whether minor and correctable. Families can also adopt older children and/or children with more involved special needs. It is rare that a family can adopt a child under two years of age, so families wanting an infant should look into a different agency.

Adoption Process

Adopting internationally takes patience. On average, the process from application to traveling home with a child takes 2-3 years. Families often request to adopt girls so families seeking a boy would have a shorter wait time. However, wait times can vary from country to country and in some cases, the entire process could take place in less than a year. While international children wait to be placed before and after a match, they are usually living in care centers, group homes, or foster homes. Holt advocates for quality in-country care and updates families with the most accurate information available on a child's growth, development, and medical conditions.

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The Bottom Line

The most impressive aspect of Holt International is their unique efforts to find children permanent homes in their native countries. This gives the child the opportunity to grow up in the country and culture of his or her birth when possible. When it isn't possible, families in the United States can create a new home for those children. With 13 different country programs currently operating, Holt International is likely to have an international program that meets most prospective adoptive families' needs.

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