In our new series, Behind the Desk, we’re catching up with some of the incredibly talented, dedicated, and caring individuals who help make everything our organization does possible. This month we’re featuring Sue Orban, our Outreach and Adoption Specialist who works out of our East Office.
For over ten years, Sue has brought her wit, charm and personal passion for supporting children and families to her role with CH/LSS. Her supervisor Kristina says, “Sue is a rockstar! Over the years we’ve shared many stories and laughs together during our travels. She brings so much energy and passion to her work. Our team, and the entire field of adoption, wouldn’t be the same without her.”
Outside of work Sue enjoys spending time with her loving family, going on travel adventures, catching the latest movie, and joining in for a game of pickleball—plus, you’ll never guess what her surprising side hustle used to be! Get to know more about Sue’s work and life below:
Tell us a little more about your role with CH/LSS and what you love most about your job:
I just celebrated my 13th year with Children’s Home! I have worked in many roles here, but I have most enjoyed roles where I am working with agencies around the country, talking with families who are just starting to consider adoption, and teaching the pre-adoption class. Much has changed in the three decades that I have worked in this field, but I am always honored to help families prepare for their child!
I love interacting with pre-adoptive parents, explaining the process, and sharing the joys and challenges of adoption. I also love seeing the people I work with in the field of adoption, whether it’s at an adoption conference or traveling to Minnesota to see my peeps.
What originally drew you to the field of adoption?
On February 28, 2020, I will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the arrival of my first child born in South Korea. Little did I know how much this baby would change my life—not only personally, but professionally. I went on to have a total of 4 children—two from Korea, one from the Philippines, and one by birth.
With so much experience in the field of adoption, I’m sure you’ve gained a lot of wisdom over the years. Is there something you wish people knew about adoption that they might not?
What I am about to say is true for pre-adoptive families, those who have just returned home, or those who are parenting teens: This is hard, but it is worth it! Adoption is a risk, but then again so is getting married or entering any other relationship. Going through the hard times make the sweet times even sweeter.
Family is clearly so important to you, tell us more about your wonderful husband, children, and grandchildren.
I could go on all day about this! I started dating my husband Jim when I was 15 years old, and this year we will celebrate 46 years of marriage. He has a gorgeous tenor voice and people have often compared it to Pavarotti! I have four children, Kim, Rebecca, Michael, and Jimmy, and the four most wonderful grandchildren in the world. My grandchildren are my life! The oldest, Eva, is about to turn 6 and her sister, Lily, age 3, are half Korean and half Guatemalan. I also have boy/girl twins who just turned 4 and are a bundle of energy. They call me “YoYo” which is the best grandma name ever!
What hobbies and interests keep you busy outside of work?
I create a family scrapbook every year for my children and grandchildren that captures all the fun things we do together as a family. I also really like to cook and travel. My most recent obsession is pickleball, the fastest growing sport in the United States! It’s a little like ping pong on a small tennis court, with a paddle and a wiffleball.
With a global family, you have probably had many amazing travel experiences all over the world! What has been one of your favorite places to travel?
Our family is a little Disney obsessed. Jim and I honeymooned at Disney World, we took our children many times as they grew up and, just a year ago we introduced Disney World to our grandchildren. Having our grandchildren see the castle for the first time and seeing their faces light up is magical!
Have you seen any good movies lately that you’d recommend?
I went to see Harriett about the life of Harriett Tubman. Her faith, grit, and bravery were such an inspiration!
Do you have a favorite quote or saying that you live by?
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
OK, time to fess up—do you have any hidden talents that we should know about?
Some people may be surprised by this, but I used to be a clown. My sister devoted her career to clowning, but I clowned on the side. My name was Perky the Clown, but children couldn’t say “Perky” and they would call me “Porky”! I even got to be in a movie with Tom Selleck as a clown.
What always makes you smile?
When my grandchildren see me, they get so excited and yell “YoYo” and run into my arms. Nothing is better than that!