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The Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Had To Do

Fifteen years after placing her son for adoption, Gina Ledsma got in contact with Holt earlier this year.  When we asked her if she was open to sharing her story, her response was an enthusiastic “yes.” While the environment and circumstances are different from country to country and individual to individual, Gina’s domestic U.S. adoption story is one that may resonate with any birth mother. And understanding stories like hers is important for everyone who is touched by adoption.

Gina will never forget the three hard, precious days she had with her son.

“I just counted all the toes and fingers,” she says, remembering those days in a hospital bed in Eugene, Oregon. “I looked at every little piece and part — and said my goodbyes.”

Twenty-nine years ago, Gina chose adoption for her son. Continue reading

Jason & David

Jason & David are waiting to welcome a child into their heart and home through open adoption. Learn more about them!

As our profile book sits in your hands, we imagine that you find yourself hoping to find the right couple with which to connect. We too are looking for a connection. We are two dads who would love nothing more than to become parents. The sacrifice we know you are prepared to make is one that we will always honor and respect and that sentiment will continue onto the life you are now creating. Despite the decision you are now facing, please know that you will be giving the greatest gift of all by creating an opportunity for a life to be surrounded by immense levels of love, respect, care, acceptance, and a healthy amount of silly times. We thank you for giving us a chance and know that we are thinking of you during this stressful time. We also hope that you find peace with your decision and that by the end of this book, you understand exactly what type of parents we can be!

With love,

Jason & David

Continue reading

Mike & Kristen

Mike and Kristen are waiting to welcome a child into their heart and home through open adoption. Learn more about them!

Hello! We are Kristen and Mike and would love to say thank you for taking a glimpse into our lives with the consideration of becoming parents to your child, and hope this provides you with an accurate image of who we are and the parents we strive to be!

Given the opportunity to become mom and dad to your child, we can promise that his or her life will be filled with endless love, laughter will be loud and often, and he or she will have the biggest cheerleaders throughout all of their adventures in life! As their parents, we will encourage him or her to try new things; teach them values of compassion, empathy, and hard work and assist them in finding passion in whatever they may do.

We promise to create a strong stable foundation for your child that will always be surrounded by family and friends that love him or her. The sacrifice you are making, and the amount of courage you have is absolutely extraordinary. Please know that the choice of adoption is unbelievably admirable and we will never take it for granted!

We hope to meet you soon!


Mike & Kristen 

Continue reading

Bonding For Birth Parents

It’s not uncommon for a birth mother to select openness with the adoptive family as part of her adoption plan. This can be in the form of sharing photos, email updates, and sometimes even in-person visits. But even though open adoption is viewed for the most part in society as a positive relationship between the birth parent and the adoptive family and child, it can still be difficult to navigate.

Oftentimes, a birth mother may struggle with finding ways to bond with her child after placement.

When it comes to connecting with her birth child, many birth mothers struggle with:

  1. Feeling unsure about the child’s likes or dislikes
  2. Doubting her ability to form a relationship with her child after placement
  3. Fear that that she will do something wrong and won’t be able to see the adoptive family again
  4. Fear of experiencing loss again
  5. Not wanting to overstep boundaries

Stephanie & Eric

UPDATE: Stephanie and Eric are matched with a child!


We both want to thank you for giving us this chance to expand our family. Eric and I are both teachers in the area. We dated for 5 years and got married in 2014. Our plan was be in love, get married, and have a big family. Our plan started to come to fruition when we became pregnant with Cameron. Cameron was born in 2015. After the birth I began to have health symptoms relating to pregnancy. Low and behold the doctor recommends that pregnancy isn’t a safe option for us, but that hasn’t stopped Eric and I and our dreams of a bigger family. Cameron is a healthy 2 year old, who enjoys being mischievous. Cameron has opportunities to interact with other children his age through park district programs and preschool. The saying it takes a village to raise a kid is true and dear to Eric and I. Our parents play a huge role in Cameron’s life. Both our parents watch Cameron throughout the weekdays. We want all of our children to feel safe, emotionally supported and loved. Thank you for giving us the chance to expand our family and to give our love and support to another child.

-Eric and Stephanie

Continue reading

John & Megan

John and Megan are waiting to welcome a child into their heart and home through open adoption. Learn more about them!

Hi! It’s nice to meet you!

We appreciate that you are taking the time to get a glimpse of our family through this book. We believe that family is about caring for and supporting one another. We live that through our daily interactions with one another and through our faith. While we have been blessed in our lives up to this point, we still have something missing – a new child to love and hold, a sibling to strengthen the bond of our children and a new little person to help grow into the best big person that they can be. And that’s what we’re all about.

Although we don’t yet know you, you’re often on our minds! We can’t imagine the emotions you are feeling right now, but we hope that you find moments of peace in your decision. We know that it is made with love and that you are looking for the best family fit to give your child opportunities… please know this choice you are making says something about the kind of person you are. We can’t thank you enough for your ability to be so selfless!

Thank you for taking the time to meet our family!

Megan and John

Continue reading

Journey of Hope Adoptive Family Camp

This summer, Holt-Sunny Ridge will host the second annual Journey of Hope summer camp for adoptees and their families!

This three-day camp is designed around the Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI)® parenting curriculum for domestic and international adoptees and their families. Even years after their adoption, some children may struggle with behavior regulation, attachment and social skills. This camp will equip families with tools and strategies they can use to help their child learn self-regulation skills and deepen family attachment. Parents will also receive specialized TBRI training. Other activities include fun sensory games, art and equine therapy!

Journey of Hope family camp is a therapeutic day camp. Each child is assigned an adult buddy to be with them and teach them coping skills throughout the day.  Parents will be learning the full TBRI® parenting intervention that is approximately 20 hours of education. Parents and children will be participating in group EAGALA equine therapy each day of the camp as well with certified EAGALA therapists and equine specialists. Lunch, snacks and drinks are provided to the families all three days.

When: Friday, June 22 – Sunday, June 24, 2018 | 9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Where: Hope Reins Equine Camp in Hampshire, IL
Cost: $750 per family or $1,000 for a family with more than one child


  • Families must be available to attend all three days of the family camp. If married, both parents need to attend all three days.
  • If a family has two adopted children who meet the criteria they may apply individually for each child to attend, although we cannot guarantee that both children will be accepted. Families must make other childcare arrangements for any sibling who does not meet this criteria.
  • Children must have been in your home for at least one year and be between the ages of 7 and 11 or have completed first grade by the time camp begins.
  • Lodging, breakfast and dinner are not included in the camp price nor arranged by Holt-Sunny Ridge.

Only ten spots are available and applications are due by April 6, 2018. So apply now! 

Download application here to apply!

For more information, contact Pam Shepard at

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