Blog

Austin’s golf tournament

golf tee
Monday, June 27
Rose Creek Golf Club

17031 N. May Ave.

Edmond, Oklahoma

Driving range: 7:30 a.m.

Putting contest: 8:00 a.m.

Tee off: 8:30 a.m.

SONY DSCSince 2012, Austin Evans has been hosting a benefit pancake breakfast to assist with Dillon International’s scholarship program in Vietnam.

This year, he has even bigger plans to raise funds: a golf tournament in his hometown of Edmond, Okla.

Austin joined the Evans family in 2007 and is now 12 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. You can learn more about the Dillon International Vietnam scholarship program in the video on the left.

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,” Kim says.

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 support Austin by registering for the golf tournament today. If you’re unable to attend or play, Austin gladly will accept tax-deductible sponsorships and donations, which will go straight to the Dillon scholarship program fund.

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.

golf sponsors1

See India with us!

india tour

I am so excited to be going on the tour this December and taking my daughter on her first trip back to India!

My first trip to India was when I was 19 years old, and I traveled with a missions group to south India. That trip and India impacted me in a way that I cannot explain, and I knew in my heart that India would always be a part of my life.

Since then, I have had the opportunity to travel to India many times; first as part of missions groups in college and then as part of my job during my 11 years working with the India program at Dillon.

tamiHowever, the two most important trips to India I have taken were in 2007 and 2010 when my husband and I traveled to adopt our daughter and then our son.

When we chose to build our family through intercountry adoption, we knew that some day we would take our children back to their birth country, so that has always been part of the big picture.

My oldest daughter, Raina, has been expressing a desire to see India for many years. It has always been important to her, and although some children may not be ready until they are older, she is very ready as an almost-10-year-old.

She has many questions about the first year of her life, and although I can provide pictures and some answers, it does not provide the tangible experience of being there.

I believe this trip will not only be exciting for her as she experiences travel and new things, but also that it will provide her with more of a sense of her own story and her own history while also getting to experience being in the majority and learning about her birth culture.

I am also very excited that India adoption program director Jynger Robers will be there, as well, and I look forward to the fun of sharing this adventure together with our daughters!

I hope other families will join us as there is true value in adoptees experiencing this trip together as a shared experience.

By Tami Davidson, Dillon India mom

Korean Waiting Children

train

We have just added two new 3 1/2-year-old children from South Korea to our Waiting Child program.

We hope you’ll log onto the Waiting Child site to read more about their stories. A Family Information Form is included on each boy’s page for families that would be interested in viewing either child’s file.

Because of the two Waiting Children’s special needs, we are open to families in all 50 states.

In addition to the two Waiting Children, we also are in need of families for the traditional South Korea adoption program. For the traditional program, children are generally between 7 and 10 months old at the time of matching and about 2 1/2 years old at the time the family travels, with a total process time of 18 to 25 months.

For the traditional Korea program, please see the list of states where Dillon is authorized to work.

For either traditional or Waiting Child programs, to qualify for the Korea program, only married couples are considered. Couples should be married at least three years and must be between 25 and 44.5 years old with no more than 10 years’ age difference between the spouses. For families who have adopted from Korea previously or for Korea heritage families, the age limit extends to 50.

Families with young children should be aware that a child adopted from South Korea must be the youngest in the family by at least 12 months.

Vision trip to Haiti

haiti beach1

Why go on a vision trip to Haiti?

“Because it’ll change your life. It changed my life,” said Lisa Leung, Dillon International’s post-adoption service coordinator. “It will really change how you see the world. You get to be a small part of a really big vision.”2012Haititour9

This fall, families, individuals and groups can participate in a Dillon International vision trip November 22-29.

Nov. 22-29:
Trip participants will experience a perfect blend of a service project, seeing an international nonprofit in action, and having a fun vacation on the beach and in the mountains.

The trip will focus on the beautiful sights the island has to offer, along with visiting our international partner in Haiti, the Foundation for the Children of Haiti, including Rainbow of Love Nursery and Haiti Home for Children, which helps those ages 8 to 16.

The tour is open to any individual, family or group … not only Haitian adoptees. For adoptees, we usually can arrange a visit to the former orphanage.

The Vision Trip will be a perfect mix of service to the children of Haiti, witnessing the work of a Haitian nonprofit agency, and having a fun vacation.

There will be beach getaways, a shopping trip to the mountains and other activities meant to give you a wider view of Haiti than you would get at a single resort or trip to the capitol city.

“It’s definitely a gorgeous country. There is beauty amongst the hardship,” Leung said.

Much progress has been made since the earthquake that devastated the country in 2010, she added. “You see a lot of hope, a lot of people working hard toward a better future; but there is still so much to be done.”

Come make a difference with us! You can request an information packet online or email us with specific questions.

Request additional information in the form below.

Nhi has a family!

nhi web
“God may not be early, but he is never late.” These are my father’s words that will forever be repeated in my mind. I remember the time when these words used to frustrate me.

Now, they give me hope. They are words of great wisdom and faith.

I have been hearing these words for what seems like a lifetime, but never have they been so true or have such meaning.

We would like to ask you to share in our journey. This is a journey of perseverance and faith.

laura shriner

Update April 4, 2016! We are so happy to announce that Nhi’s adoption was finalized today in Vietnam. Congratulations!

Laura’s Story:

In 2008, I traveled to Vietnam to meet my four-year-old daughter, who I would name Lily. I was so fortunate to have had the chance to spend a week getting to know her before she was able to come home. During that week, I was blessed to have the opportunity to play with the children and get to know the nannies who had given love and care to my daughter.

When I met Lily for the first time, I was captured, overwhelmed by her beauty and completely in love. What I didn’t expect was to also fall in love with her best friend, Nhi.

She was always by our side; everything Lily and I did, little Nhi was there to follow. My time in Vietnam became about the two girls. We played, danced, and cuddled together.

While the purpose of the trip was to bond with Lily, Nhi also stole my heart. She was just a little thing but had a beautiful spirit that was larger than life. By the second day of my trip, I began inquiring whether or not Nhi was available for adoption.

nhiAs I was leaving, little Nhi asked Henry (our agency director in Vietnam) ‘when her mommy was coming back for her.’ This brought me to tears and made me realize this little girl was destined to be my daughter and Lily’s sister.

By the time I got home with my little girl, I knew I had to go back for Nhi.

Immediately, I started the process, not knowing where it would take me. Almost instantly, I started hitting roadblocks. This went on for two more years until changes in my family prevented me from adopting again. At that point, my efforts stopped until part two of the story catches up.

aaron shrinerAaron’s Story:

In 2010, I went through a divorce; things were dark until I met Laura and her three amazing kids. I always wanted to be a father, but my 10-year marriage was not a stable enough environment for kids.

Now with my age, the opportunity to meet someone, fall in love, get married and have kids just didn’t seem realistic. With Laura and her kids, I felt like I had my family.

Her kids were very welcoming and accepting, but as much love as I receive from them, I still don’t have anyone to call me Dad.

Lily and I have had a special bond from the beginning, and I have been hearing stories of her best friend Nhi from the start. Laura has also told me about the little girl she loved and tried to bring home. She has shared numerous videos and countless pictures with me, but her divorce ended her efforts of bringing this special child home.

Over the years, Laura has arranged for friends to visit little Nhi where gifts and letters were exchanged between the girls. She never gave up hope.

After our engagement in 2012, we started investigating the possibility of bringing Nhi home again.

This is where Part One and Part Two of the story come together. After a two-year lapse in effort, we were still running into roadblocks.

Skip ahead to 2014. We are married and discussing expanding our family, but our age was a prohibitive factor.

With this, we gave one last effort to bring Nhi home.

We called Henry and he gave us a sad message, “Adoptions are closed from Vietnam to the U.S. Forget about Nhi. It’s not going to happen.”

So with this, we gave up.

On Tuesday, February 17, 2015, Laura received a Facebook message from Heather, a special friend and mom that Laura met while they were both going through the adoption process in 2008.

Heather, who lives in Minnesota, received an email from Dillon International, an adoption agency that had just been licensed to reopen the Vietnam adoption program.

Heather recognized Nhi in a thumbnail picture and forwarded it to us in Seattle. Not only is Nhi available but also she is approved for a U.S. adoption. This HAD to be a miracle.

nellieNellie’s Story and an Update on Nhi:

I’ll never forget the day I got a nearly breathless call from a lady about a child in Vietnam. Only a few minutes earlier, I had sent an email about the first group of Waiting Children in Vietnam.

nhi2She rushed through the story about meeting a little girl in 2008 who was her daughter’s best friend at the orphanage. And now, someone had told her that the same little girl was available for adoption through our brand new Vietnam Special Adoption Program.

Could this be the same child? I looked in my Waiting Child files, and sure enough, the little girl whose picture and story had been in the email was indeed named Nhi, and she was in the same orphanage where Laura had met her years earlier.

Laura wasn’t sure what to do next, but I knew from the moment I picked up the phone that this was a very special story that needed to have a special ending.

Laura and Aaron applied to adopt and were approved. They sped through the home study, immigration approval and all the paperwork that comes with an international adoption.

And now I’m so happy that this month … only 13 months after that first phone call … the Shriner family will be traveling to Vietnam to be reunited with the daughter they have waited for since 2008.

Nhi is scheduled to be the fourth child from Vietnam to arrive home in the United States since the program closed in 2008 and reopened in the fall of 2014.

We are rejoicing with the Shriners and are so happy for 12-year-old Nhi and her best friend who finally will be her sister, Lily.

If you’re considering adoption, I hope this story inspires you. I invite you to attend Dillon’s free one-hour adoption webinar to learn more about the adoption process, needs of the children who are waiting for families and requirements for parents.

You can sign up for a webinar below.


Register for an Adoption Webinar

Tour India with Jynger!

india

jyngerI’ve traveled to India about 15 times since I’ve been a social worker at Dillon International, but I’ve never been as excited about a trip as I am about the birthland tour with my daughter this winter.

In the past, all my trips have been to visit our partner orphanages, attend conferences, and to receive Kylea, when her adoption was final in 2003.

But the Taj Mahal? Never seen it.

jynger and kylieMother Teresa’s tomb? Never been there.

The Victoria Memorial? Never been inside.

So you can imagine how excited I am not only to be leading the Dillon International Visit India tour over the Christmas and New Year holiday, but also to take my daughter back to see her native land.

She has asked so many times when she will get to go back with me, and that time has finally come. I know that some parts will be very difficult, such as seeing the extreme poverty in India. But I know there will be so much joy when she visits her former orphanage, is greeted by her former caregivers, and learns even more about her own history.

I’m just as excited to be with other families – some I’ve known for years and others I will have just met on the trip – as they retrace their adoption steps and learn more about their children’s early days in India.

I hope if you have a child, niece, nephew, grandchild or friend who was adopted from India that you’ll tell them about the tour. Even better, I hope you’ll volunteer to accompany them on this life-changing adventure. Dillon encourages every adoptee to go back to see their land of birth at least once.

People always ask me what age is right for children to go back. Honestly, it’s different for every child. Some children may be ready at 9 or 10. Others may need to wait until they’re 13 or 14. As for my daughter, she’ll be 14 by the time of the trip, and I know that she’s ready because this has been a trip she has been excited about for the last couple years.

Yes, a trip to the birthland requires courage. But I’ll be there with you every step of the way to provide a social worker’s feedback and a shoulder to cry on. There will be several adoptees that your children will quickly befriend. And there will be other parents and extended family members for you to socialize with.

We will all have a great time!

A lot of us may be receiving tax refunds in the next few weeks. So I hope that you’ll consider using yours toward a trip of a lifetime!

You can read our itinerary here and sign up to receive a travel packet.

And finally, I will be able to see the Taj Mahal with you!

By Jynger Roberts, MSW. Jynger is the director of the India and Vietnam adoption programs and will be leading the India tour, along with local guides.

New Support Group

support group

Dillon recognizes that adoption brings with it many lifelong issues and challenges.

Especially during the teen years, adoptees want a chance to share their feelings and experiences with other adoptees.

That is why Dillon is starting a teen support group, which will meet from 6 to 8 p.m. on the last Friday of each month.

The first meeting will be Friday,  March 25, in Dillon’s new headquarters, 7335 S. Lewis Ave., which is called the Southern Oaks Building.

Any teen adopted internationally, domestically or through foster care ages 13 to 17 is welcome to attend.

The cost is $25 per session, which covers snacks, activities and facilitator fees.

Please RSVP below. The fee can be paid on the night of the event.

For questions, please email Lisa Leung.

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.

Haiti reopens!

bushman

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

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5aQ&A WITH LISA BUSHMAN

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.

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