November is National Adoption Month! Exciting, right? We think so. An entire month devoted to raising awareness about the positive option of adoption, the thousands of children (104,000 to be exact) right here in the United States awaiting adoption, and the millions of orphans worldwide who dream of a loving, permanent family is music to our ears.
As part of National Adoption Month, we’re excited to highlight some incredible organizations and share with you their inspiring work with children, birthparents, and adoptive families. Throughout this month, we’re going to share heartwarming stories of how these unique programs have impacted the world of adoption.
To start off, we’re going to tell you about Holt International’s Adult Adoptee Outreach Program and the story of Mary Umsted who participated in a Motherland tour in Korea this past May.
The deliberate strategy of the Adult Adoptee Outreach has been to be inclusive and embrace adult adoptees without regard to agency affiliation. The program is intended to reach out to the adult adoptee community and provide meaningful opportunities for adult adoptees to connect with one another and re-connect with Holt. The adoptees feel a connection to Holt that is deeply profound. For them, the opportunity to be part of Holt, to extend their adoption experience into their adult life is meaningful and enriching. For Mary, she was provided with the experience of a lifetime and has formed a long-lasting relationship with Holt and other adoptees on her tour.
On May 15 Mary celebrated her “CTA.” “I have a Coming to America party or what my family, friends and I call my CTA. I treat it like a second birthday because it is truly that—the day that I was born to my family.” Mary continued her CTA celebration in Seoul on the 2012 Holt-Bethany Adult Adoptee Motherland Tour.
Like many adult adoptees who decide to travel back to their birth country, Mary was experiencing many emotions about her upcoming trip. Having already been to Switzerland, France, Italy, Spain, and Mexico with her older brother, Mary considered herself a seasoned traveler. She had seen many different parts of the world and had immersed herself in many cultures. But this time it was different. There was something surreal about this trip. This time she would return to Seoul – the place of her birth – for the first time in 36 years.