Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:May 26th, 2012 23:20 EST
Former Filipino Orphans Looking Forward to Memorial Day Reunion

Former Filipino Orphans Looking Forward to Memorial Day Reunion

By SOP newswire


When Daniel and Teresa Dillon left St. Joseph, MO, for the Philippines on May 16th, they traveled with Maddie and Zach, two of their four children. When they return on May 29th, the Dillons will bring their new son, Jerry Boy Bueno, with them. They arrive home in time for Jerry to be reunited and celebrate Memorial Day with three friends they met during a special adoption camp in the Philippines. 

Fourteen-year-old Jerry`s journey from Manila to St. Joseph is a story of perseverance, love and faith. In 2011, the Dillons` younger daughter, 24-year-old Abby, and 22-year-old Zach participated in Holt International`s Philippines Ambassador Program. The Holt Ambassadors spent two weeks in the Philippines with a small group of teenagers who would soon age out of eligibility for adoption. The teenagers selected for the program have demonstrated a strong desire for a family. The primary barrier keeping these children from finding families is that prospective adoptive parents generally seek to adopt younger children. 

That is where the Ambassadors came in. For two weeks, they spent every day with the teenagers, getting to know them. They played, talked and listened to the hopes and dreams of these bright, beautiful young people who simply wanted a family. Holt Ambassadors make a commitment to find families for each of the kids in the program. The Dillons learned about the program from two other St. Joseph families who adopted through the Ambassador program. 

When Zach and Abby came home, they spoke with friends, neighbors and at churches about the children they met in the Philippines. While they talked about all the kids they met, there was one 13-year-old boy who really connected with them. Zach told his parents "he would make a good Dillon." On Abby`s July 4th birthday, she told her parents that all she wanted was for her family to adopt Jerry. This year, when Abby celebrates her birthday, the wish she made last year will have come true. This year, she will celebrate her birthday with Jerry. 

The St. Joseph community has strong connections to the Holt Ambassador Program and the Philippines. Jerry is the fourth child adopted through the Ambassador program and another St. Joseph family is in the adoption process. 

About Holt International

Founded in 1956, Holt International is dedicated to finding permanent, loving families for orphaned, abandoned and vulnerable children. Holt is recognized as a leader in child welfare and permanency planning, providing services and advocating for the best interest of children, while always upholding the highest ethical standards. Learn more about Holt at