Holt International Children's Services

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Holt International Children's Services (HICS) is a faith-based humanitarian organization and adoption agency based in Eugene, Oregon, United States, known for international adoptions. The nonprofit works in twelve countries, including: Cambodia, China, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Mongolia, Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, Uganda, Pakistan, and Vietnam. This work includes a range of services for children and families including efforts in nutrition, education, family strengthening, orphan care, foster care, family reunification, child sponsorships and more.


In 1954, Harry (1904–1964) and Bertha Holt (1904–2000) were busy raising their six children on a farm near the small Willamette Valley city of Creswell. In addition to farming, Harry ran a lumber company. Bertha, trained as a nurse, was a homemaker and mother.

After seeing a documentary film about "G.I. babies" of the Korean War in orphanages in Korea, the Holts decided they would adopt some of the orphans.[1] Harry began preparations to go to Korea, and Bertha asked a friend how to go about adopting eight children from another country. Learning that it would be possible only if both houses of Congress passed a law allowing it, Bertha said, "Then that's what we'll do."[2]

Two months later, the "Holt Bill" was passed, and in October 1955, Harry and eight children arrived at Portland International Airport. The resulting publicity stirred interest among many families in the United States. The Holts set about helping others to adopt, and what began as a small operation run from Bertha's kitchen table in Creswell (and Harry's hip pocket in Korea) soon became a major movement.


In the year 2000,[3] Bertha Holt was awarded the Kellogg's Child Development Award from the World of Children Award for her work with the Holt International Children's Services.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Engeman, Richard H. (2009). The Oregon Companion: An Historical Gazetteer of The Useful, The Curious, and The Arcane. Portland, Oregon: Timber Press. p. 179. ISBN 978-0-88192-899-0. 
  2. ^ Aeby, John (1999). "A Grandma for Thousands." Her Children Arise and Call Her Blessed, p. 2
  3. ^ "Bertha Holt" - WorldOfChildren.org. Retrieved July 9, 2013

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