Introducing Adoption-Link and Holt International – The Charity I’m Running For at Chicago

In every other race I’ve completed, the registration opens and I sign up. With the runDisney races, you’ve got to be quick about signing up. However, with some bigger races, so many people want to run, that they hold a lottery to make the selection process fair. Earlier this year, I put my name in for the lottery with the Bank of America Chicago Marathon to see if I could get in. About a week before the lottery closed, we received an email from the race organizers asking us to think about running for a charity and get a guaranteed spot. I decided to check out the list of charities to see if any spoke to me. After all, if I was ever to be a charity runner, I’d have to already posses some connection.  Enter Adoption-Link.

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As you know, Brooke and I are currently in the wait for a domestic infant adoption. We’ve been certified to adopt since the end of October 2012. It’s been a long wait and is still going on.

Adoption-Link agency was built on the belief that every child deserves a loving and permanent home. With both domestic and international programs, the agency has served children, birth mothers and adoptive families from all races, cultures and orientations for over two decades.The agency has also provided humanitarian services to all families including multiracial, HIV+ and those with special needs. Adoption-Link has been a pioneer in transracial adoption and understood the need for educational, supportive, and networking services specific to the needs of children and their families. Providing these specialized adoption services has been the primary purpose of Adoption-Link.

When I saw Adoption-Link as a charity, it stood out right away. I mean, it’s an adoption agency and I’m waiting to adopt a child. To get in as a charity runner, you have to send an email to the main contact person with the charity to get a link to register with their charity. I sent off the email and asked some questions about the charity and what was involved in raising money. Everything sounded good and it felt like a great match. So, I signed up to run for this charity.

With a heavy heart, Adoption-Link has announced the closing of the agency at the end of 2015, ending an impressive legacy with tremendous pride.

Here is the thing about Adoption-Link. They will be closing their doors at the end of this year. I was told, and know very well as a person who is on the wait list, adoptions are down. Brooke and I are certified to adopt through Bethany Christian Services. When we signed up, the average wait time to adopt was 18-24 months. We’ve seen that number drop to 12 months. Now it’s up to closer to 3 years. So, I completely understand.

Adoption-Link has been transitioning the cases in process to Illinois agencies, including Holt Sunnyridge, an agency whose mission and vision are closely aligned with Adoption-Link. Holt facilitates both domestic and international adoptions around the world and maintains a legacy of humanitarian work that stands for over 5 decades. Adoption-Link is honored to partner up with Holt Internaional for the 2015 Bank of America Chicago Marathon to raise funds for the world’s most vulnerable children.

Enter Holt Sunnyridge, part of Holt International Children’s Services. As I’ve checked out the web sites for both Adoption-Link and Holt International and Holt Sunnyridge, it’s easy to see why Adoption-Link would partner up with Holt. If you’d be interested in learning more about these two adoption agencies, please visit their web sites….

Adoption-Link

Holt Sunny Ridge

Holt International

So, where does the money raised go? The video above is one of the places. According to the Adoption-Link web site, “Our efforts in Haiti included raising funds to repair damage from the 2010 earthquake and Hurricane Sandy, sponsorships for abandoned and orphaned children while they await adoptive families, sponsorship of students in local communities, vocational training resources and much more. We were honored to partner with Fondation Enfant Jesus from 2008 – 2015.” Check out some of these statistics:

  • Nearly half the population over 15 is illiterate
  • Less than 60% of the population is employed
  • Many families live in such poverty that they cannot feed their children

You can read more about the situation in Hatti by clicking here to read a PDF file Holt International has put out. So, the funds raised by our team will benefit Adoption-Link’s Haiti program that serves our partners at FEJ orphanage in Kenskoff, Haiti.

The other part of the monies raised will go towards Holt’s AIDS Care China program Guangxi Province, China. According to Holt’s web site…

In addition to ICA and foster care, Holt has pioneered in China to stabilize home environments for children at risk of separation from their families due to poverty, HIV and drugs. Through Holt’s family preservation program, vulnerable children and families receive funding for basic living expenses, school fees and supplies, as well as nutritional supplements for HIV-positive children. Other Holt projects include emergency medical treatment, and skills training for older children with special needs.

You can read more about the needs in China, by clicking here. The need in both countries is very real. Even though Brooke and I are certified to adopt domestically, there are many couples that are in the same life stage as us who have chosen to look seek an international adoption.

I have been told that the moment you pursue adoption, you become an advocate of adoption. I signed up for my first marathon (2014 Walt Disney World Marathon) as a way to help me get through the first year and a half of waiting. It gave me something to focus on that wasn’t dealing with the adoption. Since starting running seriously, I feel like I’ve been doing just enough to distract me from the pain that sits just below the surface. By raising money for these adoption agencies, it is a way for me to help others who are in the same situation as I am in.

All of us who are waiting to adopt a child share some common pains. For those adopting internationally, they could wait for years before all the government red-tape clears for them to take their child home. Those kids are in limbo while the process plays itself out. They don’t have a family to care for them. They need a safe place to live and be cared for while they wait to be introduced to their forever family. That’s what money that is raised will help provide…a safe place for the kids and hope for the families here in the states who are waiting to adopt them.

This is the song that first started me thinking about adoption. Whether you’re a couple looking to add to your family through adoption or a couple who suffers from infertility looking to start your family through adoption, it all becomes about finding a home for an orphan one child at a time. This is why I chose to run for a charity. This is why I chose to run for this charity in particular. They are not a means to an end….a way to get me into the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. The goal I’ve set in this fund-raising campaign is above and beyond the minimum required. I’m swinging for the fences because the monies are very much-needed. This is for the children who need a home and for the adoptive parents who want to give them a home. There are many very worthy charities that you could donate your money towards. I’m not trying to say that you shouldn’t donate towards them. I just think this charity is just as valuable to the world as those that support things such as cancer research, autism, etc.

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So, please consider helping send me to the Bank of America Chicago Marathon by making a donation today. I’ve got a lot of money I’d like to raise. So, there’s no time like the present to start raising funds. Click on the image above for my Crowdwise web site. Or click here to make a donation. One of the blog readers, Diane has already started the fund-raising off. If you have any questions about these organizations, feel free to shoot me an email at whyirundisney@gmail.com. I’ll do my best to answer any questions you may have. Please feel free to pass this blog post along to your friends and family. I need all the help I can get. Every orphan deserves a home. Your donations will go a long way towards that goal.

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Posted in Chicago Marathon
2 comments on “Introducing Adoption-Link and Holt International – The Charity I’m Running For at Chicago
  1. I can’t donate right now, as I’m scrambling to come up with the funds I need to register for Tinkerbell, but rest assured before the fundraiser ends I’ll sent some money your way

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Official PR’s
5K - 32:46 - 2012 Pasadena 5K

10K - 1:15:42 - 2013 Pasadena 10K

Half Marathon - 2:43:25 - 2013 Rock n Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon

Full Marathon - 6:21:46 - 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon
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