August 5, 2013

In April 1975, my parents adopted me from Vietnam through Holt International Children's Services. After the fall of Saigon, Operation Babylift evacuated over 3,000 infants and children in a matter of three weeks. My parents received an exciting phone call from Holt International that there would be a 6-month-old girl waiting for them at Chicago O'Hare International Airport.

Holt was founded by Harry and Bertha Holt in 1955. Today Holt and a network of partner agencies serve children in several countries: Haiti, Ethiopia, Uganda, India, Thailand, Mongolia, China, South Korea, Philippines and Vietnam. "All children are beautiful when they're loved," said Bertha Holt.

After my adoption, my parents belonged to an adoption-support group for families in the Des Moines area. At the time we were living in Indianola, and the group met in various places. My mother received the Recipe Favorites of Holt Mothers cookbook. The proceeds from the 1971 cookbook aided Korean orphans at the Holt Memorial Orphanage.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Pat Palmer

Ankeny, Iowa

Pat was part of the Des Moines-area mothers group. When I was a freshman at the University of Iowa, I met Pat's son, Rob, who lived in my dorm. When he found out I was from Carroll, he asked me if I knew the Lutwitze family. The Palmer family had several adopted children, some from Korea and some from Vietnam. Rob was adopted from Vietnam but attended the Korean Culture Camp with his family. The Lutwitze family adopted two daughters through Holt and attended the Korean Culture Camp. Rob had been Holly Lutwitze's counselor at camp. Through this meeting, I met Ron and Ruby Lutwitze and their two wonderful daughters, Holly and Haley. They have become family friends of ours, and Holly and Haley served as junior bridesmaids at our wedding.

1 frying chicken (cut up)

½ cup flour

1/3 cup salad oil or shortening

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper


1 (13½ oz) can pineapple chunks

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

¾ cup cider vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

¼ teaspoon ginger

1 chicken bouillon cube

1 large green pepper (cut in ½ inch wide strips)

Wash chicken; pat dry. Coat chicken with flour. Heat oil in large skillet. Add chicken, a few pieces at a time, and brown on all sides. Remove as browned to shallow roasting pan, arranging pieces skin side up. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make sauce. Drain pineapple chunks, pouring syrup into 2 cup measuring cup. Add water to make 1¼ cups. In medium saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, pineapple syrup, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, and bouillon cube; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil 2 minutes. Pour over chicken. Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes. Add pineapple chunks and green pepper; bake 30 minutes longer or until chicken is tender.

Makes 4 servings

Linda and Hyun's Favorite Barbecued Steak

Bertha "Grandma" Holt

Creswell, Ore.

Bertha Holt was born in Des Moines and graduated from East High School and the University of Iowa. In 1954 she and her husband, Harry, watched a documentary showing children in Korean orphanages following the Korean War. The film pulled on Harry and Bertha's heart strings, and they sent money to help feed and clothe them but wanted to do more.

The Holts and their friends rallied Congress to pass the "Holt Bill" allowing them to adopt eight children from Korea. At the time intercountry adoption was virtually unheard of, and adoption was often done in secret. However, the Holts changed that by openly adopting children from other countries proving race and nationality do not limit a family's love.

6 tender steaks

Marinate in the following sauce:

2 cups soy sauce

1 cup sugar

4 leeks or green onions, cut into ½ inch pieces including green stems

2 teaspoon crushed sesame seed

½ teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon garlic powder

Barbecue or broil in the sauce. Use leftover sauce on cooked rice.

Warmer Kartoffelsalat Mit Speck

(Hot Potato Salad with Bacon)

Jani Carlsen

Omaha, Neb.

4 lbs potatoes (pared and sliced)

½ cup onion (chopped)

2/3 cup bacon drippings

2 tablespoons parsley (snipped)

½ cup vinegar

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

12 slices bacon (fried and crumbled)

Cook potatoes in salted water until tender; drain. Saute onion in bacon drippings until tender. Stir in vinegar, parsley, sugar, paprika, salt and pepper and mix lightly with potatoes and bacon. Serve warm.

Pineapple Drop Cookies

Fay Butcher

Morgan, Minn.

½ cup butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon soda

1 ½ teaspoon baking powder

2 cups flour

¼ teaspoon salt

¾ cup crushed pineapple (drained)

½ cup nuts

Cream shortening. Add sugar, cream well. Add egg. Then add crushed pineapple and vanilla. Sift dry ingredients. Add to first mixture along with nuts. Bake about 15 minutes. Cool. Remove with spatula. Frost with powdered sugar frosting.

Heath Bar Coffee Cake

Miriam Wilson

Mount Pleasant, Iowa

¼ lb oleo

½ cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 cups flour

1 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon soda

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg

Blend together oleo, sugar, brown sugar, and flour. Set aside ½ cup mixture. Then add buttermilk, soda, egg, and vanilla and blend well. Sprinkle topping over the batter and bake 350 degrees for 30 minutes.


½ cup cake mixture

6 Heath bars, crushed (frozen ones will crush best)

½ cup pecans or almonds

Preserving Children

Holt Mother, Cathy Kiner

Deep River, Iowa

6 children or any amount will do

3 small dogs

1 large grassy field

hot sun


deep blue sky

narrow strip of brook with pebbles

Mix children with dogs and empty into field, stirring constantly. Sprinkle the field with flowers, pour the brook gently over the pebbles. Cover all with a deep blue sky and bake in hot sun. When children are well-browned, they may be removed. Will be just right for setting away to cool in the bath tub.