Junior high opportunity

jr high camp

Many parents and students have had questions about the new Jr. High Program.

We are excited for this new program, as we have heard time and again on surveys from past campers, teachers, and parents that sometimes junior high students are not always ready or wanting to be a teen counselor yet. They still would like to hang with friends and do some of the camp activities, just in a more intensive format.

So after two years of brainstorming and discussions with committees, we have created two new programs for those who have finished seventh or eighth grade.

Jr. High Camper

If a junior high student prefers to participate in camp a little longer, the new Jr. High Program will allow for just that and great opportunities to spend time with friends.

We understand that for this age group, seeing friends at camp is really important, and we want to honor that. Being a counselor comes with responsibility and might leave no time for friends.

This class will have longer and more intensive culture classes. There will also be time each day for  an adoption-related topic for the students to discuss.

We hope to give this curriculum a balance of being with friends, learning culture, and having open discussions on adoption.

Teen Counselor in Training

The second program is for seventh- and eighth-grade graduates who have been looking forward to being a counselor. We did not want to take that away, as we understand there are some who either have already been a counselor last year or have been looking forward to being a counselor for many years now.

Taking that option away did not seem fair. For the past couple of years, we didn’t have an intermediate program, and we feel that was a mistake. So this year, we have brought it back for seventh- and eighth-grade graduates who desire to be a counselor.

Being just a year or two older than the campers can make leading a group challenging for a younger counselor, so having two years to be paired with a high school student will help gradually transition counselors into the program, allowing for the greatest success in each classroom.

Our goal in making these changes was to give junior high students a niche at camp — their own place.

We would love for you to send us any feedback and thoughts as we navigate this first year because we cannot make camp great without everyone’s input and help.

Camp was created to give each camper, junior high student and teen counselor a place to have fun, see friends and learn. To make this possible, we depend on everyone, and we are grateful for all that everyone has given to make this possible over the years.

We are looking forward to seeing everyone at camp this year and hope it is another great camp season. – by Lisa Leung, director of Lifetime Support Services

Click here for the camp dates and registration forms.

Fabulous auction items

seacrest becah home
Take a look at these items to be auctioned during our Lunar New Year gala on Feb. 20. In addition to the items being up for auction, we are offering the Best of the Best raffle.
Guests can purchase raffle tickets for $150 each. Only 50 raffle tickets will be sold. The winner will be able to choose his or her favorite auction item, leaving the other nine for the auction. Purchase raffle tickets online or at the event. Must be present to win.
Reserve your place and buy your raffle tickets today.


seacrest beach home1. Seacrest Beach Home for 14

For seven nights, you’ll be surrounded by beauty at this newly built 4 bedroom/4 bathroom home, which accommodates 14 guests. This expansive home features multiple balconies and patios on each floor.

Wander up to the second floor to entertain family and friends in the kitchen and living room, or head up to the third floor to enjoy the outdoor kitchen, large patio, and the expansive Gulf views.

Walk or bike to the neighboring communities of Rosemary Beach and Alys Beach. When the Florida sun becomes too much, splash into the 12,000 square foot community pool or take a walk across the street to the beach. The package includes a private bonfire and bike rentals.


packers website2. Green Bay Packers vs.
Minnesota Vikings for 4

You’ll be a Cheese Head for a day with these four tickets that will have you cheering on the Packers in historic Lambeau Field as the team takes on the Minnesota Vikings. The package also includes 4 tickets to the Hall of Fame.

The game date will be released in the spring.

Packers tickets are highly sought after. The season ticket waiting list has more than 81,000 names. The Packers tell fans adding their names to the list that the average wait is 30 years.

On top of that, the Packers don’t sell single game tickets.


3. Two floor seats to the
Oklahoma City Thunder vs.
Los Angeles Lakers

This dream package includes

  • 2 lower level tickets to the April 11 game
  • 1 Room in the Hampton Inn Bricktown
  • Dinner at Crabtown
  • 2 tickets to the Oklahoma City National Memorial
  • 2 $25 QuikTrip gas cards
4. Dinner by our own Chef Remmi
and Chef Michael Fusco

You’ll enjoy a private dinner for eight prepared by Dillon adoptee Chef Remmi Smith and renowned Tulsa Chef Michael Fusco.

Remmi is host of the show The Culinary Kid, has her own cookbook and has her own line of salad dressing. She encourages kids to explore the kitchen and incorporate healthy meals into their diet.

fuscoShe will be accompanied by Chef Michael Fusco, whose resume includes owning Flavors restaurant and working as executive chef at Wolfgang Puck Bistro and district chef at Union Public Schools.

The dinner will be hosted at the Smith family’s beautiful Tulsa home.

It will be an evening you won’t want to miss.


5. Kauai Banyan Inn for two

kauai1This hillside inn has seven private bed and breakfast vacation suites that are beautifully appointed. The location provides sweeping panoramic mountain views and distant ocean views from most sites. The inn is just an 8-minute drive from Poipu Beach and world famous white sand beaches, golf, shopping and dining.

The stay is for five nights. Package includes parking with auto detail at Fine Airport Parking.


6. Children’s Package

chidldren cheeringTulsa families will have fun with eight monthly experiences the whole family will love, including a day at Andy B’s for six, Tulsa Air & Space Museum for six, Tulsa Toy Depot party for 12, and Bounce U for six.


7. The Windy City

ChicagoYou’ll be blown away by this apartment for up to four guests that is one block off Michigan Avenue. You’ll enjoy four days and three nights in America’s third-largest city.

The package includes two Southwest Airlines tickets and four tickets to The Field Museum.


8. Pizza With the Dillons

pizzaYou and 19 of your closest friends will enjoy handmade gourmet pizza prepared before your eyes by an expert chef. Plus, beer and wings will accompany the pizza.

The evening, generously provided by Bob and Jane Dunbar, will be hosted by Dillon International founders Deniese and Jerry Dillon in their historic Tulsa home. All you have to do is invite your friends and show up! Let the Dillons do the hosting, and let a professional do the cooking!


19. Southern Hills Dinner for 8

The beautiful country club that has hosted the U.S. Open and is home to this year’s Lunar New Year gala will also be hosting dinner for eight at the club. You’ll be enjoying the best Tulsa has to offer with this dinner your guests will never forget.


10. OSU Football

OSU_PanoramaIt’s never too early to start thinking about football. The Oklahoma State University Foundation will treat you to an unforgettable football game along with parking pass. The package includes four Club Seat tickets to a conference game with access to the indoor lounge. The opponent and date will be announced soon, so stay tuned.

A night to remember

RSVP Today!

6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016

Southern Hills Country Club, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Dillon International’s Lunar New Year Celebration dinner is held each year in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on or near the Asian Lunar New Year holiday. The annual dinner is a major fundraising event and the proceeds benefit children served through the programs of Dillon International.

Reservations are now open for the 2016 event! Reserve your place today!



Haiti reopens!


bushman2Dillon has exciting news about the Haiti adoption program.

It is reopening as of Jan. 15, and we hope that many children will continue to find families through this program.

Dillon International has been placing children from Haiti with loving families since 1991.

In 2014, as Haiti undertook the immense task of implementing Hague Convention standards, we decided to close the program to new families because wait times were becoming so long and unpredictable.

Since we have continued to see families come home during this time, and as prospective adoptive families have continued to inquire about the program, we have decided to accept new families into the program.

We want families to be aware that the wait times could be 3 to 4 years because of the new procedures within Haiti. However, for families who can be flexible and patient, there are many children waiting who need families.

Generally, children will be between 3 and 14 years old when they come home.

Both boys and girls need families. The children are generally healthy, and families should be open to the needs of a child who comes from impoverished conditions and who has been living in an institutional setting.

For more information, please visit the Haiti page for family requirements.

We invite all interested families to sign up for a one-hour webinar about the international adoption process.

The adoption application is free and online. This is the first step toward welcoming a child into your family.


Haiti success story


Tell a little bit about your adoption journey.

I’m a single mom who became involved with adoption following becoming a foster parent in 2001. My first three children were adopted through foster care. My 11-year-old came first at three days old and was adopted at age 2. My 14-year-old came next at age 3 1/2 and was adopted at 6. My 9-year-old came last at age 9 months and was adopted at 3.

In between and also before, I parented many other foster children as a temporary placement from anywhere between one night to a year until they went on somewhere else or returned home. When my youngest was 4, we decided as a family to enter the international adoption “world” and bring home another member to our family. Foster care wasn’t as “needed” in our area and we hadn’t had a placement in a couple of years. We also knew we had more room and love to give.

We first hosted a 15 year old from Latvia for a summer and helped advocate for a family for him. His amazement at our little house which was a mansion to him was all we needed to see that though we lived simply, we had much to share. We began searching and felt like God led us to Dillon, but we actually began in the Hong Kong program.

After almost 18 months and being close to a referral, we had to make a hard decision to potentially switch due to Hong Kong limiting adoptions to single parents. We felt again that God was leading us and switched to the Haiti program. We were given our referral of Macy in January 2013. It amazed me that she was born the same week we felt led to enter into an adoption, back in the spring of 2010. We knew this was meant to be and how God planned our journey all along.

What words of wisdom or encouragement would you share with others who are just beginning their Haiti adoption journey?

The wait was difficult. I knew it would be long and was prepared for that. The hardest parts were when things were out of my control and just not being done as quickly as I would have done them myself and I found myself waiting on others for doctor reports, references, or other paperwork.

I focused on prayer, talking with fellow adoptive parents, starting a Dillon Haiti Facebook group, and spent time with my other kids. There were many ups along the way as well when others would travel to the orphanage and send along pictures and stories, bring gifts, etc.

As great as this was it was also so bittersweet, seeing her grow up in pictures and watching as others were there to hold and play with her. Not being able to comfort her when she was sick or watch her laugh and learn were difficult. But all along I knew this was where God had planned us to be. Especially now that she’s home, I KNOW Macy was meant to be ours. She was meant to be part of us. We just took a while to get to each other.

What were some of the challenges and joys you have faced since your daughter’s arrival?

There have been so many incredible joys since bringing Macy home. We have loved all of her “firsts” — exploring the new faucets that keep water coming automatically, all the new clothes and toys that are now hers and hers alone, learning English like a champ, going to a hotel, swimming, amusement parks, restaurants. It’s so fun to see her delight in simple things we take for granted often. Some of the challenges have not been challenges to the extreme by any means.

I’ve read up on trauma and attachment, food issues and bedtime concerns, and we’ve (knock on wood) had NONE of those to deal with. Two weeks after coming home my oldest daughter ended up in the hospital for a week, it was hard to say the least and there was a day I had to leave Macy with a friend. It was hard for her but she rallied back and has done such an incredible job going “all in” with our family.

She has claimed us from the beginning and has not looked back, and we feel the same. There have definitely been times that she has grieved, and does grieve, for those left behind. But it’s such a good thing to see and be able to help her through.

She cared greatly for her house mom and friends and they for her. It’s so easy to tell how very much she was loved and cared for. And that has made such a huge impact that will carry through her life. Her older siblings love her and are so good with her. She is starting to push some buttons and try to get her way but it’s such a typical five year old response that it’s great and I love seeing it and helping her through those feelings.

What are some “firsts” or milestones your family has encountered on your journey?

The first time Macy said, “I love you Mom,” on her own, on her terms, not just repeating back … amazing! One of the funniest times was her first time watching Snow White. She was just appalled that Snow White was going to eat that apple. She kept repeating, “Don’t eat it! Don’t eat it!” so cute!!!

Her showing us how she can write in cursive (they learn cursive very young there) and tie her shoes and fold clothes, things my 9-year-old can’t even do yet … amazing.

Interested in adopting from Haiti? Our Haiti program officially reopened to new families Jan. 15. You can learn more here.

First Vietnam arrival


joyLarry and Wynne Loveless have been waiting for more than 8 years to be united with their new daughter, Joy.

They wanted to adopt her before the Vietnam adoption program closed in 2008. They never forgot her and waited for the day the United States and Vietnam would re-establish the program.

We are so happy to announce that the adoption is final, and Joy is on her way home.

She is the first Vietnam adoptee to come home to her forever family in the United States since the 2008 closure.

The clock was ticking especially loudly for Joy, whose parents traveled to Vietnam a few days before Joy’s 16th birthday, the age at which children become “too old” to meet USCIS guidelines for intercountry adoption.

Dillon International is so honored to be the agency to help unite this wonderful family.

If you’re considering adoption, we would love for you to read more about the Vietnam Special Adoption program and join us for an upcoming webinar to learn more about the process.

You did it!


We are delighted to report that because of your support, our Forever Family Matching Campaign exceeded its goal!

Your gifts to benefit Dillon International and the children and families we serve totaled $258,060.

The matching grant was a gift from a Dillon family who welcomed home their lovely daughter in 1988 from South Korea. Launched in the fall, the Forever Family campaign matched donations dollar for dollar through the end of 2015.

We couldn’t have exceeded the goal without you.

As a nonprofit organization, we depend upon generous donations to make our work possible.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Your support is helping to bring orphaned children home to their forever families and sustaining our lifetime support services.

Thank YOU !

A Beautiful New Normal


The night before we were set to get on a plane from Houston, Texas to Beijing, China I was filled with a deep sense of mourning.

I know that is probably not the first sentence you were expecting to read on a post about adoption. It was the emotion no one told me about; the one I was not prepared for. I was suppose to be excited even giddy, but here we were less than 24 hours from boarding a plane to go get our little girl and I had a heavy heart.

Why? Because I realized that our daughter had no idea that in less than a week she was going to leave the only normal she had ever known. Her foster family, her caregivers at her orphanage: the only people who had ever shown her love. The thought of her being so confused and possibly completely shutting down from being removed from the only normal she had ever known was heartbreaking.

The closest thing I can compare it to is getting your child vaccinated. When you take your child to the doctor to get their vaccines, you know that despite the fact that this is going to bring temporary pain to them, it is the best thing for your child. So you help the nurse hold your child down while he/she is painfully poked and prodded, because even though it may just break your heart watching it all happen, it is absolutely what is best for them.

I know that having a family is what is best for our daughter. It is what she needs and what she deserves. And so for that reason, despite the grief and mourning, we got on the plane the next day to offer what I hope is the best family she could ever imagine.

But Kennedy was not the only child I was mourning for, I was also mourning for our three biological children as well. I was mourning for the fact that this was also our last night as “Jones Party of Five”.

As I watched my three kiddos pray for “baby sister in China” for the last time, I realized our family would never be this again and my three oldest had no concept of what that meant. They don’t understand that we will probably have some very rocky roads ahead of us. That there will be times in which they are going to be hurt and confused as a by-product of this decision, but watching what God does through this and the character it will develop in them is absolutely what is best for them.

A death of what has been normal, in order to give birth to something beautiful…

KennedyJones1And now that we are eight months post adoption, the beauty of our new normal has blown us away. The timid 21-pound 2 year old that we became “Mommy and Daddy” to on March 9, 2015, is now our rather sassy and boisterous 31-pound almost 3 year old! We have seen her personality come alive, from her absolute love for Elmo to her monumental melt-downs when she doesn’t want to share with her brother that is only 15 months her elder. Every morning before my 9 year old heads to school, she is sure to come in her little sister’s room, get in the crib with her and cover her in hugs and kisses before heading out the door. My 6-year-old son has taught his little sister how to kick a soccer ball, sword fight and drink from a juice box. But I think that the most beautiful thing that has come from this journey is the many other families in our church, social media circles and community that have contacted us with questions over adoptions and what that may look like for their family.

Making the decision to become Kennedy’s family is the scariest, hardest, most meaningful thing we have ever done with our lives. But even on our hardest day, I would never want our old normal back, because our new normal is more beautiful than I could have ever imagined.

—By Jenny Jones

Welcome home!

hong kong slide
Welcome home to some of our recent arrivals, who came home to their forever families in the last few months.
Daily Family

1. Grayson Daily, son of Paul and Becky Daily of Texas (China)
1a. Family Selfie: Grayson Daily in the arms of his mom, Becky, along with
his brothers and dad,
1b: Grayson (in red life vest), with his brothers Cade and Tucker (who are Dill
on Korea program
adoptees), Aidan, Noah and Titus.
1c: Grayson Daily with his mom, Becky
1d: Grayson Daily with his mom, Becky
1e: Grayson with his parents, Paul and Becky Daily
1f: Grayson with his dad, Paul Daily

Wood Family

2. Hyun Chae Oliver, son of Ron and Halee Wood of Oklahoma (Korea)
2a: Hyun Chae Oliver Wood with his brother Reese and parents, Ron and Halee

Wilkins Family

3. Jian, son of Dan and Hyejung Wilkins of Alabama (Korea)

Petty Family

4. Joshua, with his parents Zane and Tiffany Petty of Texas (China)

Bushman Family

5. Macy Emmanuela, daughter of Lisa Bushman of Illinois (Haiti)
5a: Macy Emmanuela with mom Lisa and siblings, Braeden, Liam, and Olivia
5b: Macy Emmanuela with her siblings

Hart Family

6. Michael Dylan Hart son of Will and Ashley Hart of Oklahoma (China)
6a: Michael Dylan Hart with his family.

Van Scotter Family

7. Mila, daughter of Ryan and Brianne Van Scotter of California (Korea)

7a: Mila with her mom, Brianne

7b: Mila with her parents

7c: Mila with her parents

Ward Family

8. Samuel, son of Scott and Jennifer Ward of Arkansas, with his brothers Joshua, Brennan

and Luke (Korea)

Kamp Family

9. Joseph, son of Benjamin and Emily Kamp of Oklahoma, with his sister Catherine and his brother Andrew (China)

9a: Joseph Kamp in the arms of his mom, Emily

9b: Joseph Kamp

Potter Family

10. Ryan Potter with his parents Hannah and Benjamin of Illinois (Hong Kong)

10a: Ryan with his parents Hannah and Benjamin and siblings, Joanna, Curtis, Caty

Thomas Family

11. Katie Mei’a, daughter of Brett and Shirley Thomas of Texas, showing off her new smile. (China)

11a. Cooking in the kitchen.

11b. Gotcha Day 5/11/15! Brett (Daddy), Holt (brother), Shirley (Mommy) and Katie Mei’a.

11c. Katie Mei’a playing with her brother.

11d. Seeing her brother off for his first day of kindergarten.

Learning from Haiti

Haiti Blog 3

haitiLearning from others across the globe has always been a passion of mine. Understanding how others solve problems, empower people and serve is something that I have enjoyed when traveling on mission trips. I find that learning from others is how we make our own communities stronger. Whether those communities are within our families, our neighborhood, or our world, there is always something new we can learn.

Dillon has decided to provide opportunities for others to connect and share their hearts with other ministries all over the world. We hope that what we learn will help us serve and transform our communities and challenge the way we see the world.

Through service, we’ll learn, grow and empower ourselves and others.

Dillon’s mission trips have given me the opportunity for personal growth and learning. I’ve acquired a greater understanding of other cultures, learned how other agencies serve and formed relationships with some amazing people across the globe. Our mission trip program is about building bonds, growing understanding and serving others by listening to their needs.

I know as an American, I have grown up in a culture of timetables and lists for each day. Sometimes I feel we get so stuck in doing things according to pre-planned lists that we miss some of the greatest moments in life. When traveling on the Haiti Mission Trip the first time, I learned from a culture that is not so stuck on timetables and itineraries.

Instead, I learned to enjoy the beautiful moments in life without being so concerned about sticking to an itinerary.

Those moments included loving on the smiling child sitting next to me. Or painting beds…which I admit did not seem so important to me until I learned that it meant the world to the housemothers who wanted to keep the rooms looking nice for the children they serve.

Each time I travel on a mission trip, I learn something new about myself and others. Those that we serve are also our teachers; they can teach us a new way of seeing the world.

This year Dillon will be taking two Sharing Heart Mission trips: One to Uganda and the other to Haiti. We’ll be working with agencies that have established missions in each country who know the needs and locations for service. We are so excited to begin the growth of our missions program and hope that as we travel around the globe we come home with a new way of seeing our own communities.

To learn more about our two Sharing Heart Mission Trips, visit the Uganda page and the Haiti page.

—Lisa Leung, Dillon’s Supervisor of Events and Tours

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