We are very excited to share the news that Dillon International received an adoption license earlier today in a ceremony in Hanoi.
This allows Dillon to officially begin accepting family applications for a special adoption program in Vietnam.
Receiving the license is our very own Thomas Nguyen (center left, in suit). Presenting the license is Nguyen Van Binh (center right, in white shirt) director of the Department of Adoptions, Ministry of Justice, in Vietnam.
Learn more and download the adoption application on the Vietnam page.
Dillon International has been named—in announcements by the U.S. Department of State and by the Ministry of Justice’s Department of Adoptions in Vietnam—as one of two U.S. agencies selected to place waiting children from Vietnam with adoptive families in the United States.
The decision allows Dillon to offer an intercountry adoption program to find families for orphaned children with medical special needs, children over the age of 5 and children who are part of a sibling group. Both married couples and single applicants, ages 25-55, may apply to adopt through the new program, which will open effective immediately.
“We are thrilled by this opportunity to serve the children of Vietnam who are in need of permanent, loving families,” said Program Director Jynger Roberts.
Dillon International has a long tradition of serving the children of Vietnam both through adoption and a humanitarian aid program that has provided food, clothing and educational scholarships to children in four Vietnamese provinces for the past 15 years.
Dillon also provided adoption services until 2008 when adoptions by Americans were placed on hold following the expiration of a Memorandum of Understanding between the U.S. and Vietnam. The new agreement, initiated by the U.S. Department of State and Vietnam’s Department of Adoptions, allows intercountry adoptions to resume through the Special Adoption Program offered by Dillon International and Holt International Children’s Services.
“We consider it a privilege to continue in our long-standing commitment to meet the needs of children in Vietnam,” said Kyle Tresch, Dillon International’s executive director. “We are honored by the trust Vietnam’s Ministry of Justice has placed in us to serve some of the nation’s
most vulnerable children.”
Vietnam becomes the eighth adoption program currently offered by Dillon International.
Dillon also offers adoption services in China, Colombia, Haiti, Hong Kong, India, and South Korea, as well as a domestic adoption program offered in collaboration with Oklahoma’s Department of Human Services to find adoptive families for waiting children in the state’s foster care system.
Families interested in learning more about Dillon International’s Vietnam program will find the latest information on the Dillon website, Roberts said. Founded in 1972, Dillon International is headquartered in Tulsa, Okla., with branch locations in St. Louis, Mo.; Little Rock, Ark.; the Kansas City, Kan. area; Santa Ana, Calif. (in Orange County); and the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area. Dillon International is Hague Accredited
through the Council on Accreditation to process international adoptions pursuant to the Intercountry Adoptions Act of 2000.
Learn all about the Vietnam program.
Click here to read the announcement from the Department of State.
From the moment Curtis and Kay Webster first saw a photo of Trang, an 11-year-old with significant vision impairment who was blind in one eye, on Dillon’s Waiting Child website, the couple yearned to meet her. “We instantly knew, ‘This is our girl,’” Curtis recalled.
Mountains of paperwork and months of waiting abruptly transitioned to a frantic whirlwind of preparations for a nearly 8,000-mile trip. At last, the big day had arrived!
Accompanied by a virtual entourage of extended family, the Websters found themselves right where they longed to be: At an orphanage in Vietnam, preparing to meet their daughter for the first time.
“We were so very excited,” Curtis recalled.
“It was pretty clear from the expression on Trang’s face that she thought her life had come to an end,” Curtis said.
“I wanted to walk away from them,” Trang, now a gregarious 17-year-old, remembered. “I felt sad because the orphanage was like my family. Leaving was the hardest thing.”
And so began another kind of journey.
On the surface, the Websters seemed pretty educated. Raising a blended family of seven children, including a daughter whom they adopted from Cambodia as an infant, the couple had plenty of parenting experience—and a hefty dose of adoption training—under their belts.
“One of the biggest things Trang has taught me about being a parent is the importance of trust.” Curtis said. “What reason had we given Trang to trust us? She didn’t know us. We took her from all she had ever known. Trust is something you earn. You don’t just automatically get it because you’re ‘Dad.”
Gradually—with time, counseling and patience—Trang’s chilly gazes warmed and her angry words subsided.
Moonguyen—the nonsense word for a basketball-inspired game Trang and her father made up—helped too. The only rule in Moonguyen was that Trang made all the rules.
Trust was building; Trang was thriving.
In the six years since she joined the Webster family in southern California, Trang has learned English, learned to read and write and earned a black belt in karate. She loves to sing and plays the piano and flute. She has a part-time job at a gym for children with special needs and plans to attend college and become a teacher.
She’s also a published author.
Together, Trang and Curtis wrote Moonguyen: A Two-Way Tale of Adoption. The novel—named for the game that provided father and daughter with so much laughter and bonding—was released this summer and is available on Amazon.
The tale—told alternately from the perspective of an adoptee and her adoptive father—chronicles the bumpy road to becoming a loving family.
Trang hopes readers will understand her story, and that of other older adoptees like her. “I wanted to come out of the darkness and share with the world,” she said. “I hope people learn that a child needs to learn to trust you and accept you.”
Curtis hopes the novel’s message of hope also shines through. “Adoption is an absolutely amazing experience,” he said.
“Trang is a survivor. She’s a little bulldog. I don’t know if I’ve ever met anyone more determined than she is,” Curtis added. “She was born with tremendous potential, but she wasn’t in a situation where that potential could come out. There are so many more children who need a home who would blossom if given a chance.”
By Susan Serrano
Austin joined the Evans family in 2007 and is now 10 years old.
“We wanted him to be able to do something for Vietnam, because that is where his heart is,” said Kim Evans, Austin’s mom.
Although a preschooler when he joined the Evans family, Austin arrived with memories of friends from his orphanage that he still carries with him. “He often talks about ways to help the children he calls ‘his Vietnam kids.’ He really wants to give back to Vietnam. He wants the children to be able to have toys and go to school.”
“It’s hard for the kids there to go to school if they are not that rich,” Austin added.
Austin’s efforts began with a jar that he decorated and kept in his room to collect spare change to donate to children in his birth country. “Each year, we keep thinking of more things to do, so the effort keeps growing,” Evans added.
Next, Austin spearheaded a pancake breakfast to raise money to support a Dillon International scholarship program which pays for school supplies, tuition, uniforms, book bags and shoes for children in Vietnam.
We hope you will join Austin by making a donation to provide scholarships the students Dillon continues to help in Vietnam.
There are 400 children from four provinces in Vietnam who count on the support of our donors to help them continue to attend school in the coming year. Please consider a contribution to our Vietnam scholarship program today.
Like most 17-year-olds, Macy loved the lazy days of summer.
Days filled with sleeping in, piano lessons, playing volleyball, basketball and shopping with friends. And that epitome of teenage joys: learning to drive on the Texas back roads.
Only a few months ago, life was much different.
Macy was a “waiting child.” She lived in an orphanage in Hong Kong. And Time was not a friend.
Her 16th birthday was closing in fast. Within months, the girl with a bright smile and a love of acting would “age out,” becoming too old to meet the USCIS guidelines for intercountry adoption.
Meanwhile, more than 8,000 miles away, Ryan and Alexa McAnally were wrestling with uncertainties of their own.
The East Texas couple—after reeling from a heartbreaking miscarriage—had finally decided adopting a baby would complete their family, which included 8-year-old Kate and Garrett, 10.
“Everybody wants to adopt a baby, right?” Alexa said with a laugh.
Research led them to Dillon International. And the agency’s Waiting Child Page. And Macy.
“We were looking at all the waiting children,” Alexa recalled. “When we got to Macy’s profile, we were amazed no one had adopted her. There was nothing wrong with this girl! We thought, ‘What’s up with this? Why is she still in the system?’”
Alexa and Ryan’s plan to adopt a baby quickly changed and the couple wholeheartedly leaped into a whirlwind of paperwork, eager to adopt Macy before time ran out. “We prayed about it and had peace from the beginning,” Alexa said.
Opportunities to spend weekends with her brother’s teenage children had served to increase their comfort at the prospect of parenting an older child, Alexa explained.
Pre-adoption training, a friendship with a woman who had adopted a 14-year-old from China, and an unshakable faith all served to increase their confidence. “God reaffirmed our decision all the time in small ways that we knew were to us from Him,” Alexa said.
Others weren’t quite so sure. “Most everyone thought we were nuts! We got a lot of ‘those’ looks and comments,” she recalled. “But now that they know Macy they don’t think that anymore.”
Macy arrived home last fall and began adjusting to her role as big sister. “Her biggest challenge was learning to get along with a brother and sister who love each other one minute and then fight two seconds later,” Alexa said.
But she quickly acclimated to the eccentricities of life in a family and Macy and her siblings now get along great, Alexa added.
Right now, Macy’s looking forward to joining in the family tradition of deer hunting this fall.
“She arrived home during the opening weekend of deer season and her brother Garrett killed a deer,” Alexa recalled. “She had the normal girl reaction of ‘poor Bambi’ until two weeks later when the deer sausage came back from the processor. After her first bite, she said, ‘Garrett, go shoot another deer!’ She loves it so much that she wants to hunt this year. It’s just another example of how she was meant to be part of our family.”
“We thank God every day for Macy,” she added.
Does she have any advice for families who are considering adopting an older child?
“If you know that this is God’s path for you, don’t hesitate! He will have a child for you that He has hand-picked!”
—By Susan Serrano
There are currently precious 23 children — including 11 boys and 12 girls — in our Colombia Waiting Child program eagerly awaiting the opportunity to share their hearts and lives with loving families.
The children’s ages range from 3 to 16 years old. Some have special needs; some are healthy older children; and some are part of a sibling group. Several of the children have grants available to assist with their adoption expenses.
Today, we would like to introduce you to two darling girls who are part of this great program.
Di2012-CB05: This beautiful 9-year-old is a sweet, shy girl who enjoys an affectionate relationship with her foster family. She attends school and loves swimming, sports and playing with other children.
She wears glasses to correct a diagnosis of strabismic amblyopia and hyperopic astigmatism and takes a medication to help her deal with the emotions associated with her history of neglect and abuse. She has a low tolerance for frustration and is constantly looking for acceptance and affection. Although it is difficult for her to express her feelings verbally, she states a desire to live in a stable and loving home where she will no longer know fear.
She needs the loving support of an adoptive family who will establish a calm routine and be supportive of her cognitive and emotional development as she learns to trust them to keep her safe.
Di2014-CB33: This joyful 4-year-old has bows in her hair, a smile on her lips and a song in her heart!
She loves to learn and is fully involved in the world around her although she has been blind since her premature birth.
This active, affectionate little girl is developmentally on target for her age. She really enjoys music, various instruments and singing. She’s a very social child who captures the hearts of all who meet her.
Advances in technology will make it possible for an adoptive family to help her learn and play alongside her peers and grow up to reach her amazing potential.
There is a $1,000 grant available to assist with her adoption.
We hope you will take a moment to learn more about our Colombia Program. You can meet these, or any of the other wonderful children who are waiting for families, on our Waiting Child Page. Please email us with specific questions.
At Dillon International, we love matching, especially when it comes to your donation.
Now through December 31, all donations will be matched by the Anne & Henry Zarrow Foundation.
“The generosity of the Anne & Henry Zarrow Foundation will help us continue to ensure that money never stands in the way of a brighter future for a child in need,” said Kyle Tresch, Dillon International’s executive director. “We are tremendously honored by their support and confidence in our mission to care for children and families.”
Donor support is the lifeblood that sustains Dillon’s programs. “Adoption fees simply do not cover the costs of our work. The need has increased as the adoption process takes longer, as children have greater needs, and as the need for post-adoption services continues to grow,” Tresch explained.
Attention, Korea Families, we have good news! If you’ve desired to grow your family through another adoption from Korea but the age guidelines have prevented you, there is reason for cheer.
There is now more flexibility for families who previously have adopted from Korea. The maximum age for parents has been raised to 50. This applies no matter which agency handled your previous adoption.
This means that you would need to start the adoption process when you are no older than 49½ to make sure that necessary paperwork is completed in time.
“Families call all the time who are not finished building their family, but who don’t meet the age guidelines,” said Mary Anne Mesko of the Dillon Korea program. “I hope this new flexibility will allow many more children to come home to their forever families.”
Another group with more flexibility: Korean adoptees. Those adopted from Korea also can be up to 50 years old to be considered as an adoptive family.
Call Mary Anne at 918-748-5621 or email her for more details.
By Susan Serrano —
Would you like to hear an adoption success story?
Dillon adoptee Jay Hill will gladly tell you several.
Jay, who joined his family at age 4 via adoption from South Korea, was so eager to become an adoptive dad that he and his wife, Susan, began researching adoption while they were still dating.
“Before we even got engaged, we attended a seminar offered by Dillon International to learn more about international adoption,” he recalled. “We thought we were going to adopt internationally, but we didn’t meet the criteria yet because of the length of marriage requirements.”
So, as soon as the couple married, they attended training offered by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services to become foster parents. A choice that also felt natural, since Susan’s sister was also adopted through OKDHS.
The rest of the story is as wonderfully complex and delightfully diverse as the Hill family itself.
Shortly after they completed training, the Hills welcomed their first foster children, DeWayne and Cheyenne, at ages 3 and 1 ½. “We decided to enter the process to adopt them,” recalled Jay.
Not long after, Cheyenne’s siblings, Jeremiah and Amanda, also joined the family at ages 6 and 4.
After finalizing the adoptions of four children—and having served as foster parents to 25 additional youngsters over a six-year period—the Hills decided their family was complete and concluded their time as foster parents.
Then they learned that two of DeWayne’s younger siblings needed a family. So Jay and Susan again entered the process to become foster, and later adoptive, parents to Diamond and Noah who joined their family as infants.
“Adoption was always our Plan A. It was never our backup plan,” Jay said. “It’s not for everybody, though. There are legitimate concerns. You must keep realistic expectations, do your research and be fully aware that unexpected things will happen. You’re not always going to have this smooth transition where everybody just instantly jells.”
However, he’s quick to add, the rewards are huge.
More than 14 years after they set out on their family-building adventure, the Hill family is going strong.
It’s a family with interests as diverse as their Korean, Caucasian, Cherokee, and African American heritages. “Right now, we have one who wants to be in the military, another who has set her sights on college and one who is an FFA pig farmer. We don’t know a thing about pigs, but we’re learning,” Jay said with a laugh.
Jay, who has traveled on Dillon International’s Visit Korea Birthland Tour and is a regular volunteer at Discovery Days for teens, uses his personal experiences as an adoptee to support his children and others as they navigate the questions they encounter about their own adoption stories.
“I always tell them to share as much as you want to share about your family and your adoption story, but I let them know they should never feel that they are obligated to share all of their story or feel like they have to answer everybody’s questions,” he explained.
“My kids have all said that they plan to adopt one day when they are adults. That idea that adoption is a last resort…they’re over that,” Jay added.
“On the outside, our family may not look like your typical cookie-cutter family. But on the inside, there’s no differential: We’re family,” the Oklahoma dad said. “This is an example of how families can be built. It didn’t have to happen this way, but it just feels so natural. I would have never thought about doing it any other way.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Dillon International is honored to be among the agencies recently invited by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services to place waiting children in the state’s foster care system with loving adoptive families. Please visit our Waiting Child page to learn more about this great program.
Most teenagers dream about getting their driver’s license or the latest electronic gadget. Meet two fantastic 15-year-olds whose one wish in life is to have the loving support of a family to call their own.
Tomea is a compassionate girl with a terrific smile who enjoys showing affection with hugs. She has great manners and gets along well with her teachers and classmates. Her favorite subjects in school are math and art. She loves the outdoors and trips to the park, and hopes to one day have a puppy she can take along with her. Tomea thrives best in a structured environment, and feels safest when her life is predictable. She would love to have a family who truly cares about her well-being and hopes they will arrive soon to claim her as their own.
Enrique is an easygoing, caring young man who longs to be a part of a loving, stable family. He enjoys the outdoors, likes to fish and would love to learn how to hunt. Like most teenage boys Enrique likes to eat, enjoys video games, music and going to the movies. He also enjoys JROTC and eventually would like to either join the military or become a police officer. He does best when living in a structured and predictable environment. He shares his caring nature openly with words and is accepting and loving towards animals and pets. He relates well to all adult authority figures. Becoming part of a family would bring out the best in this young man and he hopes to find one soon.
Tomea and Enrique are among the children who are waiting for families in our new program, offered in collaboration with Oklahoma’s Department of Human Services, to find adoptive families for waiting children in the state’s foster care system.