Woman's personal experience helps adoptive families

Date: 2002-10-23

Tulsa World
Author: Natalie Mikles World Staff Writer

Beverlee Einsig does post-adoption work for Dillon International, coordinating homeland tours, heritage camps and adoptive parent service tours. Three of Einsig's five children were adopted from Korea.

The validation Beverlee Einsig gets from her job comes every day, in the form of photographs, phone calls and visits with adopted children and their parents.

But a more concrete validation came for her last month when she went to Washington, D.C., to receive the "Angel in Adoption" award from the Congressional Coalition on Adoption. Einsig, nominated by Sen. Jim Inhofe, was one of 277 U.S. adoption workers, including three Oklahomans, to receive the award. Einsig is a longtime adoption advocate, being both the mother of five adopted children, and a 16-year employee of Dillon International Inc., a non-profit, Tulsa-based adoption agency.

"When I first started with Dillon, there were maybe three people in the office. And at that time, we only placed children from South Korea. Now we have 15 or 16 employees here, plus field workers, and we're placing children from seven countries," Einsig said. "We're very pleased that Congress has this coalition, that they want to promote adoption and make the public more aware," said Deniese Dillon.

"One of Beverlee's great talents is inspiring volunteers. She gets a lot of help from adoptive families, and she inspires that volunteerism."

Einsig currently works as Dillon's director of educational services, coordinating homeland tours and heritage camps. She described her role as a post-adoption coordinator. She also works to match birth parents to those adopted children seeking them. She said this type of post-adoption work has exploded in the past several years. At Dillon, for instance, some of the first children who were adopted through the agency 30 years ago are seeking their birth parents, both for curiosity and for medical information. "My work has just ballooned. And there's not an end in sight," Einsig said.

She said having her own adopted children, three of whom were adopted from Korea through Dillon, has given her insight into what adopted families need from the agency.

"My children have taught me a lot about what they need as they grow. And I've learned a lot from parenting them. I've learned the importance of allowing children to connect to their heritage and help them deal with racial differences. "Because I am an adoptive parent, when I go to talk to adoptive parents, they are much more open to me because I've had to fill out all the papers and wait for my child to come too. There's a rapport I have with adoptive families that I wouldn't have had if I didn't have the experience," Einsig said.

Einsig said she stresses to potential adoptive parents the importance of a connection with the adopted child's birth country. She said families should realize that once they adopt, their family becomes a multi-racial and multi-cultural family, whether it be Korean-American, Chinese-American or Guatemalan-American.

Dillon's Heritage Camp, which Einsig coordinates, brings a large number of adopted children, all from the same birth country, together to learn about their heritage and culture. "The post-adoption work at Dillon is very unique in the fact that we make a commitment to the child for a lifetime. That's why we do these activities," Einsig.

Einsig's homeland tours emphasize the lifelong commitment. Adult and teenage adoptees, their parents or siblings go along with Einsig for a tour of the adoptees' birth country. She also takes adoptive mothers on tours of their children's birth countries. She said the mothers often want to experience the country and give their thanks to the country through service work at orphanages and senior centers.

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