We were so excited to discuss the adoption process with one of our adoptive moms, Charmaine Tybor. She and her family brought home two girls from Taiwan this year, and we couldn’t be happier for them. Here is a little bit of their story. It is beautiful.
What was the process like?
At times, the paperwork seemed all-consuming, but Amanda and the team at New Beginnings were always there to help guide us through each document. It was a time of spiritual and emotional growth for us. We had to trust God for the timing and circumstances that were out of our control. In the flesh, we wanted to rush the process, but when we reached the finish line and left for Taiwan, the timing of the journey all made sense! It was tedious at times, but when we see these two little girls laughing and enjoying being part of family, it was so worth the wait!
What led you to adoption?
Our children. Seriously. We have a 24 year old son, Stephen, who does not live at home, a 20 year old son, Zachary, who is away at college, and an 18 yr old daughter, Hannah, about to go to college in the fall. After 24 years of parenting, we were ready to coast. Then we opened an email from our Pastor revealing the profiles of two little orphan girls, ages 8 and 9, who needed a forever family. They had been in and out of foster care and were currently living in an orphanage hoping to be adopted. It was important for us to gauge our children’s reactions while also letting them know we hadn’t made a decision yet. There was so much to consider. The boys were on board 100 percent – Hannah only said, “What’s there to consider? The girls need a home!” I remember exactly where I was standing in the kitchen when I felt the conviction as she pled with me to give these girls and home, and her, a sister she had always longed for.
What were the trips to Taiwan and back like for you and your husband?
We were giddy with excitement to meet our girls face-to-face for the very first time! Hannah raised her own money to travel with us. We met with the social workers at the orphanage where they shared more about the girls lives with us and allowed us to ask them any questions we had. We walked out of that room and there they were, standing outside waiting for us. We wanted so badly to run to them and hold them and assure them they would never, ever be abandoned again. But instead we stayed calm, trying not to overwhelm them. The following days took our breath away. We were smitten! We went to the zoo, rode bicycles, visited a museum, shopped, and finalized the paperwork for our adoption. God was all over this week. Only He could have woven together such a beautiful tapestry of diverse lives and combine them to make a family.
How was the experience for your children?
Hannah traveled with us to Taiwan, and honestly, the girls and she bonded immediately. What amazed us (and still does) is how well the orphanage prepared the girls to be a part of our family. We had read that girls would have a difficult time bonding with males. That certainly was not the case. Before meeting him for the first time, they continually asked how much longer before Zachary would be home. When he walked in the door, they were so excited… “Zac-a-lee’s home!” That bonding was instant, also. He allowed them to teach him how to play the guitar and ukulele (instruments we brought home with us) and then he taught them how to fish. When he left to go back to school, we had a countdown of the days he would return. When Stephen, who lives in Nashville, came home he became a “big toy” and continually said, “They’re so adorable!”
What was the first night home like?
Surreal. They were physically IN our home rather than just on the iPad screen. The first thing they wanted to see was the pets we had introduced to them via Skype. They went from room to room exploring asking, “What’s this?”. Because of the time difference (22 hours) they weren’t tired until around 2 am so we stayed up and talked using our iPhone translators and played until they were exhausted! Rather than sleeping in their separate beds, they chose to sleep together in the same bed. They slept the same way as they had in the hotel – arms locked holding each other.
How have your kids adjusted to life in Mississippi?
It’s evident in their behavior that they are beyond happy to have a family. Everything is new. They’re so appreciative of anything we do for them. It’s difficult right now for them to make new friends because of the language barrier, but we’re working on that! They’ll try any food we place in front of them, but they have said “Taiwan food is better”. We do have a Taiwanese cookbook that we have attempted to cook recipes from – some they love, some they don’t! We preferred that they keep their Chinese names to use as a middle name, but they insisted they share the same middle name as their big sister. Now we have 3 “Marys” and they are so proud!
How has your life changed since coming home?
Every day is a new adventure. Life is richer, more meaningful, and exhausting. Our focus has shifted from caring more for these girls than for ourselves. It’s a multitude of blessings AND responsibility. We have a greater understanding of how God has adopted us into HIS family regardless of our status, abilities, or past. In adopting us, He modeled how to patiently persevere as we waited for His perfect timing to adopt Elise and Emma into our family.
What advice would you give prospective adoptive parents?
I would advise you to ask yourself “what is my legacy”. And to read James 1:27 just as we did at the very beginning of this process. I had heard this verse a hundred times but had never “heard” this verse… “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” He was calling us to obey this scripture. We had absolutely no idea how God would provide for us to travel to the other side of the world to bring home two of His precious orphans. But He did. And we did. And we don’t have even a single regret.