Column: PEOPLE AND PLACES
Author: Danna Sue Walker
Dillon International waits with open arms.
The non-profit international adoption agency has been helping make dreams come true for families since it was established in 1972. Since that time it has placed nearly 4,000 children, most from South Korea and India, in the United States. It is turning its attention to China, where there are more than 1 million children who need loving families. Dillon hopes to place 60 or more of those children this year
The agency's board of directors hosted a recent Chinese New Year dinner at the Royal Dragon to celebrate the beginning of its China adoption program and to thank advisory board members for their help and support.
Three adoptive families and their children were special guests and discussed how much Dillon has meant to them.
One father, Art Wright, said people often come up to him and his wife, Leslie, and say how lucky their child is to have a family and be in the United States.
"We are the lucky ones," he said, "to have a baby we have wanted so much."
The Wrights were proudly showing off their 6-month-old son, Samuel, who was adopted from Korea. Other adoptive parents there were Glenda and Pat Murphy and their 2-year-old daughter, Jessica, who was adopted from China; and Carolyn and Jim Bolding, with their two children, Korena and Jonathan, who were adopted from Korea.
Korena, who won this year's Executive Women International's scholarship award, spoke to the group about her adoption and her plans for the future.
Dillon executive director Karin Price said that after an adoption process that takes from eight to 10 months, several couples from Tulsa soon will be on their way to China to pick up their children.
Dillon board chairman the Rev. Warren Hultgren said the advisory board helps all this happen. He said its members share their time, expertise and resources to help spread the word about the children and to assist in the adoption program.
Advisory board members recognized included Lucia O'Connor, Steve Stephenson, Ann Graves, Nancy McDonald, Marc Dreyer, Bonnie Polin, Jon Stuart, Jono Helmerich, Laura and Jim Morrow, Marvin and Soohyun Jin, Cindy and Lawrence Field, Judy Morgan, Henry Will and Rick Willhour. Board members include Deniese and Jerry Dillon, who founded the agency, John O'Connor and Kevin Jordan.
Thanks also went to Mu Fa Chen and family for hosting the event at the Royal Dragon, which also featured the presentation of an authentic New Year's lion dance.
If you would like to assist with the agency's mission of helping homeless children or if you are interested in adoption, call 250-1561.