FRESNO, Calif.—A California woman has adopted a daughter—a 30-year-old woman whom she has known for years.
Bernice Dyck, a widowed mother of two sons, formally adopted Chendra Kaub Chumb as her daughter six months ago, the Fresno Bee reported Saturday. Dyck and her family knew the woman for years after helping her come to the United States from Cambodia following high school.
Chumb stayed with Bernice Dyck and Dyck’s late husband in Fresno, and the three formed a tight bond. Chumb has since graduated from Fresno City College and Fresno Pacific University. She is pursuing her master’s in marriage and family counseling.
“The full life she helps me live, as my child, is the miracle,” Dyck told the newspaper. “It might seem impossible that a 96-year-old woman would be able to adopt a 30-year-old daughter, but we lovingly call it the ‘immaculate conception.'”
Chumb said the adoption allowed her to experience true love.
“My adopted mother, Bernice, wants the best for me,” she said. “Her love and always being my mother means the world to me.”
Bernice Dyck’s son, Rick, opened a school in Cambodia in 2003 and stopped into a cafe where Chumb was working.
He recommended she study in the United States and showed her Fresno City College’s website at a dusty Internet cafe. Chumb arrived at Fresno Yosemite International Airport in August 2003.
“We fell in love with her,” Bernice Dyck said.
Chumb’s biological mother is still alive, and Chumb said she supported the adoption. Chumb travels to Cambodia to visit her biological mother every year, and the Dycks said they are hopeful the adoption will make it easier to go back and forth. She had to apply for a U.S. visa during previous trips.