Holiday Adoption Terminology


It is often during the holiday season when there are frequent signs and promotions to “adopt” a tree, an angel, a family, and so on…..for the Christmas season.

This touches upon the giving nature of Christmas when it is a time many of us reflect on the blessings we have received in the past year and want to share with others. The meaning behind such programs is of course a positive one and something that most parents want to instill in their children: to consider others and care for those among us who have less material items. This can be an important message at Christmas time or any time of year!

As an adoptive mother and also adoption social worker and counselor I often find myself analyzing and perhaps over- analyzing the world of adoption….yet I cannot help but wonder what does “adopt a tree” or “adopt an angel” say to our children who joined our families by adoption? Are they some project or Christmas cause?

What happens to the family you “adopted” after the Christmas season? These are perhaps not questions that your 2 year old, 5 year old, or even 8 year old has at this time but they are good questions for us as adoptive parents to ponder.

The “adopt a…” programs can sometimes belittle the true aspect of the word adopt. All of us who have walked, and are walking, the journey of adoption know the process is long and arduous and not something for a season but for a lifetime. As an adoptive mother, and in working with adoptive families, I encourage proactive discussions with children and these “adopt-a” programs are an example where this strategy would apply as well.

We cannot shield our children from the world or from the popular culture as they can easily see these types of signs to “adopt a street” as we drive from our home to the grocery store or walk into any store during Christmas and see the “angel” tree. I try to remember that my children’s peers are seeing these same images and this helps to shape their views about adoption and my children and how they interact with my children.

It is our job to help educate our children on what adoption really means and the proper use of the term. (I use the word “sponsor” a family or road, etc.) Our children are not a short term, feel good, holiday project but an important and permanent part of our family….every day of the year.

– By Kimberly Peck

Top 10 resolutions

adoption resolutions

Ring in 2015 by adding a few of these Top 10 adoption resolutions to your list:

1) Learn more about adoption.

Get your questions answered by attending one of our free webinars or in-person information meetings.

2) Read, read, read.

Our online Beginner’s Guide will get you started.

3) Meet our Waiting Children

Log on to meet our Waiting Children.

4) Advocate for children who need families.

Older kids and those with special medical or developmental needs are most vulnerable. We are searching high and low for families who are courageous enough to embrace a child’s difficult past and patient and gentle enough to help them heal. Helping a child discover and share their special gifts and talents will not only bless the child and their family, it will truly make our world a better place.

5) Pray.

All those touched by adoption could use your prayer support. Pray for children who are waiting for families, for biological families who have made an adoption plan, for families who are hoping to adopt, for adoptive families and their children as they adjust to their new lives together, for orphanage caregivers and for agency staff as they work to make a difference for children in need.

6) Get your church involved.

We would love to help your church live out James 1:27’s call to serve orphans. We would love to collaborate with your congregation.

7) Help a family who is in the adoption process.

Send them a note of encouragement, host a shower to collect needed items as they prepare for their child’s arrival or offer to help pay for their adoption travel.

 8) Help a family who has recently adopted.

Drop off a home-cooked meal to welcome them home. Help out with yard work or housekeeping while they are busy settling in and adjusting to their newly expanded family.

9) Give.

Our programs to unite waiting children with their forever families could not happen without donor support.

10) Volunteer.

We’re always looking for smiling faces and helping hands at our camps, events and around the office. If you have time and talent to share, we’d love to hear from you.

China program changes

china camp

China’s Centre for Children’s Welfare and Adoption recently announced greater flexibility in its adoption guidelines. The new regulations—which take effect January 1, 2015, and impact families with dossiers logged in after this date—were developed in order to better help children in need find suitable families, according to an announcement from the CCCWA.

Under the new guidelines, more families will be considered to adopt a non-special-focus child (typically a younger child with minor or correctable special needs).

Here are a few highlights from the recently announced changes.

Changes to Age Guidelines:

Singles and couples over the age of 50 are now permitted to adopt either a non-special-focus or special-focus child. The age difference between the youngest member of an adoptive couple and the adopted child must be no more than 50 years. The age difference between a single adoptive mother and the adoptee should be no more than 45 years.

Single Applicants:

In addition to being eligible to adopt special-focus children, single mothers may now apply to adopt a non-special focus child.

Number of Children Living at Home:

Couples with more than five children living at home are now eligible to adopt either a special-focus or non-special-focus child.

Singles may have no more than two children currently living at home and the youngest child must be 6 years old or older. A single mother with three children under the age of 18 in the home is ineligible to apply to adopt from China.

Family income guidelines:

The CCCWA requires a minimum family income of $10,000 per family member (including the prospective adoptee). For singles, the minimum family income follows the same guideline plus an additional $10,000. A couple’s net worth must be at least $80,000 and a single mother’s net worth must be at least $100,000. HOWEVER a family whose annual income and net worth is lower than the stated guidelines may be considered if they can document that their locale has a lower cost of living and that their income is above-average for their area.

Medical Conditions:

The most significant change in the guidelines is that the CCCWA will now consider applicants who are taking medication to treat minor depression or anxiety provided that the symptoms are minor, stable, and under good control.

Additional details on the new guidelines, which cover the areas of family eligibility, child placement, CCCWA adoption service fees, and post-placement reporting and fees, will soon be updated on our China Program page and in our online Adoption Guide. Please contact our China Program Director with specific questions.

To learn more about our China program, and all of Dillon International’s adoption services, register online to attend a free information webinar. Our next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 11.

Thanks for giving

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA5. Samuel Huebner a“Welcome home!” These are words that we never get tired of saying at Dillon International. Gratefully, this year we we’ve been able to say these words to 60 children (and counting!) as they came home to their forever families. These wonderful moments are made possible thanks to our generous supporters.

Your generosity will allow Dillon International to provide a lifetime of support to adoptive families. We are committed to helping our families every step of the way, so all of them can experience the joys of bringing a precious child into their families.

As the year-end approaches, we would like to ensure that families and children from all our country programs get the best level of care next year. Your gift of $100, $250 or $500 can make all the difference to children who need a permanent, forever home.

You can give knowing your gift will do double good thanks to a generous matching grant from The Anne & Henry Zarrow Foundation. Every unrestricted gift to Dillon through the end of the year will be doubled!

YOUR support will help children around the world find a loving home.

Meet your match!

kids in striped shirts

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 foundation will match every gift made—up to $150,000—before year’s end.donate now button

“I know that kindness shared multiplies and has a ripple effect as it radiates from one heart to another.”

“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.”Print

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.

We need the support of our donors now more than ever and this matching grant is the perfect opportunity to give, knowing that your gifts will be doubled.
donate now button



Our sons from China

joy family1

By Liberty Joy

Our family prayerfully began the process of adopting a child from China through Dillon in the summer of 2012. Our Dillon social worker, Rachel Lee, urged us to be open to a child of either gender. We agreed, and our homestudy approved us for a either a boy or a girl.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALike many other families, we had the preconception that adopting from China would mean that we would most likely be bringing home a little girl even though we were open to a boy. At this point, we did not realize that the face of Chinese adoption was quickly changing and that three-fourths of the children waiting for families were now boys. We did not yet know that, for multiple reasons, the number of Chinese girls in orphanages had drastically dropped in recent years.

Fast-forward to today: We now have the two sweetest Chinese boys in our family, thanks to the Dillon China special needs adoption program. This is the story of how they came to be ours.

We were matched with our son Daniel at the end of February 2013. Saying yes to his referral was a giant leap of faith for our family. His special need was listed as beta thalassemia major, a life-threatening, chronic, incurable disease, which results in a short life expectancy for children who remain in Chinese orphanages.

In fact, the vast majority will die by age 10 if they are not adopted internationally. Once we saw his face, researched like crazy what he was facing as an orphan in China, and read his story, we knew we could not say “no.” We knew the Lord would provide what we needed and would guide us each step of the way. Daniel came home the summer of 2013 and the Lord in His Providence knew what He was doing. We live only an hour away from one of the top thalassemia centers in the U.S. This place is phenomenal!

Our little guy’s life expectancy has gone from grim to one that is near normal. He will likely live a full life and be a grandpa. He is healthy, robust, and a firecracker. You would never ever imagine him to have this condition; he is the picture of health. He fits into our family perfectly and he even earned the nickname of Emperor in the first few days he was with us.

When we had been home with Daniel for a few months, we began discussing the possibility of reusing our dossier. This is a unique opportunity for families in the China program to bring home a second child with the documents already logged in with the CCCWA. The rules are simple and clear. Families must use the same agency and they must be matched with a special focus child within one year of the previous adoption day.

What was extremely appealing was the simplicity of the process, with only three documents that would need updating. We asked Denise (Dillon’s China adoption program director) to keep her eyes open for a little girl with thalassemia for us to possibly reuse our dossier. That is right about when God probably started laughing and shaking His head, knowing what was to come.

A few months later, we got the referral call. It was not a girl, and the special need was not thalassemia.

The referral was in fact for our son Luke, a precious little guy with a limb difference and a few other issues. Exactly one year and two weeks after bringing Daniel home, we were back in China getting Luke.

What we discovered within minutes of having him in our arms was that Luke needed us just as much as Daniel did. Though his special needs did not include a life threatening disease, he was, in fact, in very bad shape and sick. He was extremely malnourished, weak, and at 13 months could not sit up alone nor do much of anything at all due to poor muscle tone.

He did not cry, fuss, eat or drink the first three days we had him. He has now been home four months and has made huge strides. He is crawling, working to overcome eating and sensory issues, gaining weight and thriving in our home. He is such a precious little guy with a quiet and calm personality.

Our sons from China are priceless and beloved in our family. I grieve the thought if we had only been open to adopting girls. Often times just being a boy is what keeps these little guys from being adopted. All orphans need families, boys and girls alike. However, the sad fact remains that the boys will likely wait much longer than the girls.

Editor’s note: Of the six Chinese children on Dillon’s Waiting Child page, five are boys. We hope you will log in to the Waiting Child page to meet them!

Program roundup


The opening of our new Special Adoption Program begins a wonderful new chapter in our long history of serving the children of Vietnam. We’re excited about this opportunity to find families for some of the country’s most vulnerable children, including children with special needs, children over age 5 and sibling groups.

We wanted to take a moment to fill you in on the latest updates in all our adoption programs.


KOREA, BrannonsThere continues to be a tremendous need for families for children in our Korea program and we have great news for Korea adoptive families who have wanted to adopt again but were deterred by the age requirements. The maximum age for parents who have previously adopted from Korea has been raised to 49 ½ at the time of application. The more flexible age guidelines also apply to Korean adoptees or married couples with both spouses of Korean heritage.

Hong Kong

HONG KONG, Huff familyGrants are available to cover the International Fee for the adoption of ALL waiting children from Hong Kong. Currently 13 children, ages 6 to 13, are waiting for families. Some of these precious kids have been waiting for years and need families who are committed to a lifetime of care. We recently received updates on several of the children, so if it has been awhile since you’ve visited the Waiting Child page on the Dillon website, please check in again!


CHINA, boy in orphanageOur China program has entered One-to-One agreements with orphanages in the Hainan and Guangdong provinces. We are thankful for the opportunity to serve the children in these facilities, both through adoption and humanitarian aid. There continues to be a great need for adoptive families open to parenting children with medical and developmental needs.


COLOMBIAGood news for children in Colombia! The nation’s Institute for Family Welfare is reviewing the cases of thousands of children in its custody to determine if adoption would be in their best interest. Previous regulations kept many children in limbo: unable to be reunited with their birth families, but not declared available for adoption. We’re looking for families who are open to parenting older children and teens who have experienced loss and trauma.


INDIA, CartwrightsOur India program, which re-opened in December 2013, continues to accept applications. Families are needed for children with special needs, particularly children ages 6 and older. Younger children generally have more significant special needs. Families with NRI (Non-resident Indian) or OCI (Overseas Citizenship of India) status may apply to adopt a child without special needs.


9. Nicka Jean Lee and momFive children have arrived home so far this year, and other families’ dossiers are currently in Haiti. Our Haiti program is not presently accepting new applications while the country implements Hague standards. Updates will be posted on the Dillon website.



Oklahoma DHS program

OKDHS1Pre-teen and teenage children in Oklahoma’s foster care system are waiting for permanent adoptive families. Oklahoma families are encouraged to consider our new program with the state’s Department of Human Services.



Open Options

OPEN OPTIONSDillon’s Open Options program—which allows applicants to have paperwork ready to qualify for a variety of programs—launched at the beginning of this year and has been a very popular choice for families who are uncertain about which adoption program is right for them. The program’s goal is to help more children find families who are farther along in the adoption process.

Next steps

No matter what stage of the adoption journey you’re in, we would love to have you join us for an upcoming webinar, where you will learn more about the adoption process and all of our programs.

Jared’s Korea Project

jared with baby

Jared3Last year, my mom and I went to Korea with our friends to see where we were born. While we were there, we visited Eastern Social Welfare Society and met our foster mothers. The social worker took us to see the babies in the Baby Hospital. There were about 60 babies there waiting for families. It made me sad that they were waiting and didn’t have things other babies have.

After we left Eastern I told my mom that the next time we came to Korea, I wanted to bring things for the babies because they don’t have anything. My mom told me that would be fine but said we wouldn’t be visiting for about five years.

Jared8When we got home, I remembered the babies, but was busy with my new school and sports. I thought it would be five years before we got to go back to Korea.

This year, my cousin was sent to Korea with the Army. David is stationed at Camp Casey which is not far from Seoul. I asked my parents if we could visit David and they said we could. I wanted to be able to show David where I was born.

At school, starting in sixth grade, we are asked to do service hours to serve like Jesus did. I remembered the babies and asked if I could do a service project to bring things to the babies. My parents and my teachers said that would be a great idea. My mom talked to Jan at Dillon and she also said it was a great idea. Jan gave us a list of items that Eastern needed like baby wash, Tylenol and rice cereal.

My aunt took my pictures from Korea and what I wanted to say and made a flyer. We passed it out to family and friends (and my mom posted it on her Facebook). I thought it would be great if I could have 100 donations to take to Eastern. People started sending donations and it started to grow slowly. Donations came from Texas, the East Coast and California, as well as from our city. I gave my friends flyers and explained what I was doing for a project.

My friend, Jeff, and his mom said we needed to take it to my school’s Student Council. The St. Cletus School Student Council sponsors Dress Down Days where you bring a donation for a charity to be able to wear clothes besides our uniforms. Jeff took the flyer to Mr. Meyer at school and he told me it was a great idea for a Dress Down Day.

Jared5We were getting close to time to leave for Korea and Jared’s Project was growing. I had hit my goal of 100 donations, but more kept coming in. Dress Down Day was a huge success and I got to go to each class to collect items and answer questions about my project and Korea. The question I got asked the most was, “Is it North or South Korea?”

Two days before we left for Korea, we had all the donations together. It came to $1,000 and over 100 items. I was so happy that everyone had sent so much to give the babies. My mom was nervous about how to pack it all, but we did it. When we got to the airport our bags were too heavy, but the man at the counter helped us repack it all using my back pack too so it would fit. I was glad we could take it all.

Jared6When we got to Eastern, we had the donations packed in eight big shopping bags and backpacks. We got a lot of attention when we arrived. We were early so we sat on the front steps to wait and a lot of people stopped to talk to us. A little boy gave me a hug when he came in with his foster mother.

One man took our picture.

I was very nervous to meet Dr. Kim, but she was very nice. She asked me a lot of questions about my project and my life. I don’t think she expected us to have so many donations. I told her that my family, friends and school all helped because we like babies. She thanked me for bringing the donations and said it will help the babies in the hospital and also in foster families. She said to be sure to tell my friend Jeff thank you too because he took it to our Student Council which made it get much bigger. Other ladies came in to say hi and thank me for my project. They were very nice, too.

Then a lady came in and asked me more questions and took pictures of me with Dr. Kim and the donations.

Jared4After we met Dr. Kim, we got to see the Baby Hospital again. There were only 40 babies this year. It was not as busy as last year. The nurses holding the babies let me talk to them. They took more pictures there and my mom did too. I hope the babies get to go to their foster mothers soon.

I wanted to bring things to the babies because I was there when I was a baby. I got to go to my foster family when I was only 10 days old. I was lucky to have Mrs. Park to take care of me until I could come to my family. The babies are older now and still waiting for foster families and forever families. I hope that some of these babies will go back and help the babies when they are older, too.

By Jared, 11, a Korea adoptee. His parents are Jay and Jane Coffey of Missouri.

Time running out

colombian siblings

A 16th birthday is not sweet at all for an orphan awaiting intercountry adoption. That’s when they become too old to meet the USCIS guidelines for intercountry adoption.

Right now, the clock is ticking loudly for three teens in our Colombia program—two girls and a boy—who are approaching their 15th birthdays. They URGENTLY need their forever families to find them before they “age out.” Please drop by our Waiting Child page to learn about these bright, talented kids: Their case numbers are Di2012-CB16, Di2013-CB25, and Di2014-CB35.

There is also a great need for families with big hearts and open arms to embrace waiting siblings. Currently there are four sibling groups—for a total of 11 awesome kids—in our Colombia program who are waiting for families. We would like to introduce you to one of these groups of siblings today:

Meet the siblings

ColombiafamilyThis group of siblings (case numbers Di2013-CB21, CB22 and CB23) had the opportunity to visit the United States last winter through a hosting program and their host mom, Anita Hochstettler, reports that they are a delightful crew who enjoyed their visit and playing games with the family.

“I was blown away at how respectful they were,” Anita recalled.

The eldest child, Di2013-CB21, is a bright and considerate 15-year-old who has served as a mother figure to her little sister and brother. “She loved to have music on all the time and she loved to cook,” Anita said. “She needs a mother to guide and support her through her teen years.”

Her younger sister, Di2013-CB22, is an outgoing and energetic 12-year-old. “She loved to try everything—all the activities, clothes and shopping—during her visit,” Anita remembered.

Their little brother, 9-year-old Di2013-CB23, was a bit shy at first, but enjoyed using a computer, riding a bike, and playing with toy cars, LEGOS, and the Wii during his visit, Anita added.

“They were very loving and affectionate and would love to have a forever family who would provide them with love and guidance,” she said.
Because their Colombian culture is very important to them, an adoptive family would need to make a commitment to helping the children stay connected to their Colombian heritage, Anita added.

Please take a moment to learn more about these wonderful children and help us advocate for them! You can learn more on our Waiting Child page or by contacting our Waiting Child Coordinator with specific questions.

The gift of family

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We hope that in this season of giving, lights and festivities you’ll take an hour to join us for an adoption webinar to learn about the gift of adoption.

No matter what stage of the adoption journey you’re in … whether you are researching the possibilities or are ready to turn in your application … we are confident that this webinar will benefit you. What’s more, it will benefit the children who are waiting for a family just like yours.

Please select your meeting preference below. We will email you back with the webinar link. If you’re registering on a weekend, please give us a little extra time to send back the link.

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