Congratulations on your well-deserved success. May this not be an end of your dreams but a continuation of adding your unique talents to the world around you.
All of us at Dillon send our prayers and blessings on your graduation and for your future.
By Karin Price, contributing author
Growing up in Asia meant my family celebrated children’s day. When I was 10 years old, we lived in the United States for a year. Imagine how surprised I was to find out that Americans did not have a children’s day. My mom said, “Karin, in America every day is children’s day.”
In 1924, the World Conference for the Well-being of Children in Geneva, Switzerland, proclaimed June 1 to be International Children’s Day. After the conference, different governments around the world decided to declare a day as International Children’s Day to draw attention to children’s issues. Today Dillon International joins others to honor children globally.
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Over the past few years, I have seen articles by young adults who have been adopted by Western families as children, sometimes infants. These adult adoptees have returned to Korea and advocated for the end of international adoption of Korean children. They speak of loss of culture, racist experiences, parents who don’t understand what it means to be a minority in the United States, and anger because they lacked any control over their adoptions. I sympathize with their pain and angst and hope they can find peace.
These articles touched me for two reasons: first, I felt sad for the obvious anxiety and anguish the young people in the articles suffered; second, I worried that the general public, or at least those not intimately familiar with international adoption, would only know these stories and believe that these experiences were widespread and the norm for adult adoptees. My story is different. I do not want, or intend, to minimize others’ experiences, but I feel the need to tell my story, too.
In 1977, at 10 months old, I was escorted from Seoul, Korea, to my family in Wisconsin. I grew up in rural Wisconsin with an older brother and sister (both adopted domestically) and a younger brother (also adopted from Korea). Adoption was and is my normal. My family was created through adoption, and I didn’t give it any more thought than children whose families were created through birth think about biological connectedness. It was always amusing to hear comments about how my older brother inherited his height from our mom’s side of the family.
I lived what I consider a typical small town American childhood: I played sports, I knew all of my classmates, I went to the local holiday parades and celebrations, and I couldn’t walk, bike, or drive through town without waving numerous times. I grew up in the generation of adoptees whose parents were told to assimilate their children of different races and to be colorblind. I was called racist names, both by those with malicious intent and by friends who meant no harm. I freely admit I used other people’s ignorance for my own purposes-I would pretend I didn’t speak English when salespeople came to the house. I grew up, went to college, married, worked, went to law school, welcomed two children into my family, worked some more…nothing I consider unusual.
Growing up, I never fantasized about my “real” parents or idealized them. Frankly, I rarely thought of them. I had my family, and I didn’t agonize over my adoption. Did I have issues? Absolutely. I was a perfectionist. I demanded a lot from myself and rarely gave myself permission to be human. In middle school, I wasn’t very nice and was entirely too concerned with what others thought. I struggled with boyfriend issues, conflicts with friends, and parents who didn’t understand me and sometimes seemed to be aliens. In short, I was a typical teenager.
However, unlike the adoptees in the articles I have read, I never felt I was missing pieces of my identity, never felt like I was an outsider, never felt pressured to feel obligated or indebted to my parents, and never felt any confusion as to my culture or ethnicity. I am American. While I understand the trend of hyphenating culture as a proxy for race, I do not identify as Korean-American. I have no Korean culture or ethnicity. Korean-American, in my mind, more accurately reflects a person who identifies in some meaningful way with Korean culture or ethnicity.
Yes, throughout my childhood (and adulthood), I experienced racism. That’s the reality of being a person of color in the United States. I’ve lived in the Midwest, the West, and the South, and have experienced racism everywhere. It has not defined me, though I find as the years pass, I am more willing to be “impolite” to those who make racist comments and ask racist questions. By impolite, I do not mean yell at or cuss out (what I sometimes actually want to do). Rather, my answer has more to do with my comfort than with the actual question or the comfort of the person asking. I resent the implication that I’m not American when people ask where I’m from, and then are unsatisfied when I answer Wisconsin, because, clearly, I can’t be from Wisconsin. Frankly, I find it hilarious when someone comments on my English, because it’s clear to anyone who sets aside their preconceived notions that English is my first language. I try to find humor in the ignorance and racism I experience, but, after a lifetime of it, that’s not always easy.
Adoption and racism are often conflated. While they sometimes intersect, they are two very different issues. Any person of color in the United States, whether adopted or not, can probably relate to at least some of the previous paragraph. The focus of this article, however, is adoption. With other adult adoptees advocating for the end of international adoption, I can’t help but imagine how different my life would have been had I not been adopted. As an abandoned baby in 1970s Korea, I would have lacked the essential support system necessary for success in that country: a family to claim me and for me to call my own.
A new generation of parents, to which my husband and I belong, are now told to celebrate their children’s birth cultures with culture camps and language and culture classes. Parents are encouraged to discuss race openly with their children. My husband and I take our children (also adopted from Korea) to culture camp, and race and adoption discussions are common in our house. The adoption community is filled with discussions of how to ensure internationally adopted children are exposed to the cultures of their birth countries.
Could I have graduated from both college and law school had I remained in Korea as an orphan? Maybe. However, I feel confident that I would not have had my husband, mom, dad, two brothers, one sister, two sisters-in-law, one brother-in-law, two nieces, and one nephew at my law school graduation cheering me on. Without the support of a loving family, the joy I found in my success would have been diminished considerably.
Had I not been adopted, I doubt that I would now celebrate the holidays amidst not only my family, but also my husband’s family. Through my husband, I gained another loving support system consisting of his parents, four siblings, three siblings-in-law, and nine nieces and nephews. Our families fill my life with love, support, and family connectedness. That is what adoption has brought to my life.
My hope is that other adult adoptees from Korea will share their stories, or at least say, “Me too-I’m happy, healthy, and was raised in a loving family because of adoption.” While my heart aches for those adoptees in pain, my life has been enriched by love, support, and the sense of security only a family can provide because of adoption.
Yvonne, adoptee and adoptive mom
Dillon International has received notification of its Hague reaccreditation through the Council on Accreditation, as authorized by the U.S. Department of State.
The Hague Accreditation attests that Dillon International is in substantial compliance with the Hague Convention Accreditation Standards. Dillon’s accreditation will expire on March 31, 2021.
The Hague Convention is an international treaty created to ensure that intercountry adoptions are in the best interests of children, and to prevent abduction, exploitation, sale or trafficking of children. In 1994 the United States signed this treaty and agreed to develop regulations and a monitoring process for U.S.-based adoption service providers that work with agencies in countries that signed onto the Convention. Congress passed The Intercountry Adoption Act in October 2000, which serves as the implementing legislation for the United States. The Intercountry Adoption Act names the U.S. Department of State as the Central Authority for the United States and the federal agency responsible for implementing the Convention.
The Intercountry Adoption Act requires agencies and persons providing adoption services in cases involving Convention countries to be accredited or approved, and in July, 2006 the U.S. Department of State named the Council on Accreditation as the only national accreditor for adoption service providers under the Hague Convention.
For more information about the Hague Convention, including a full list of participating countries, please visit the Hague Conference on Private International Law’s website located here: www.hcch.net.
We are thrilled to announce that Dillon International is now licensed in the State of Florida.
What does this mean for you?
It means that Florida families can now have Dillon as both their placing agency as well as their home study agency.
For Florida families who are pursuing an adoption through a different placing agency, Dillon can do the home study.
Dillon is licensed to conduct home studies in California, Florida, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas.
Please do not start your home study until:
For more information, call Maren Brose at 918.748.5614.
We are excited to announce our new matching gift campaign for 2017. Eleven Dillon supporters, including our board of directors, have collectively pledged to support Dillon and make an even greater impact in the lives of children and families. From now until December 31, every dollar given to the campaign will be matched dollar for dollar–up to $228,000!
Every gift made to our Forever Family Campaign will assist Dillon in bringing more children home, making more families complete and providing post-adoption support to adoptees and their families.
When we all work together, we can create a lasting treasure for decades to come-the treasure of Family, Love, and Hope. Please consider doubling your gift today through the Forever Family Campaign.
Haiti’s central adoption authority, the IBESR, recently released the list of agencies that have been accredited to process adoptions in Haiti for the accreditation period of 2016 to 2018.
Dillon International is thrilled to be re-accredited so that we can continue serving children and families in this wonderful program.
Dillon International began placing Haitian children with U.S. families in 1991.
Children Eligible for Adoption from this Program:
No arrest histories allowed.
Length of Marriage
Children in Family Prior to Adoption
We have received the files of several children from Vietnam who live in Catholic orphanages.
The centers have specifically asked us to look for Catholic families only for these children.
The children are generally in good health, are active and attend school. One wants to be a pilot. Another wants to be a priest. Another wants to be a teacher. Above all else, they dream of loving families.
Are you a Catholic family who is considering adoption? If so, we would love to talk with you!
In addition to the children in the Catholic orphanages, we are looking for a family for an 11-year-old girl who wants to be a doctor, a toddler who will be 3 next month, and a 5-year-old girl who is deaf. These children are not in Catholic orphanages, and the family’s religion is not a factor.
In general, to qualify for the Vietnam program, both heterosexual married and single applicants between 25 and 55 may apply. Marriage length of 2 years for first marriage or 3 years if either person has been married previously.
Single men may adopt a boy only.
Parents should be in generally good physical, mental and emotional health.
Families from all 50 states may inquire.
On each child’s page, there is a form to fill out for families who would like to view the child’s medical and social file. The form goes to our Waiting Child coordinator, who will be glad to contact you.
To contact the Waiting Child coordinator directly with questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (918) 748-5619.
Dillon offers home studies in California, Florida, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Kansas and Arkansas. If you live in a state where we are not licensed, this means that Dillon can be your placing agency, but you’ll be working with a local agency to prepare your home study, which then will be submitted to Dillon.
Please do not start your home study until:
If you’re considering adoption, the Adoption Guide is the place to start.
It contains country program information, family requirements and our agency policies. The latest version has just been uploaded, so we hope you’ll find the answers to many of your questions.
Also, we encourage anyone thinking about adoption to attend one of our one-hour webinars.