FRESNO (AP) — A 96-year-old California woman has adopted a daughter — a 30-year-old woman from Cambodia.
Bernice Dyck, a mother of two sons, formally adopted Chendra Kaub Chumb as her daughter six months ago, the Fresno Bee reported.
Dyck and her family knew the woman for years after helping her come to the United States from Cambodia following high school.
Chumb’s biological mother still lives in Cambodia, and Chumb travels there yearly to visit her.
After Chumb arrived in the U.S., she lived with Bernice Dyck and Dyck’s late husband in Fresno. Chumb has since graduated from Fresno City College and Fresno Pacific University. She is pursuing a master’s degree in marriage and family counseling.
“The full life she helps me live, as my child, is the miracle,” Dyck told the newspaper.
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. Chumb arrived at Fresno Yosemite International Airport in August 2003.
“We fell in love with her,” Bernice Dyck said.
Bernice Dyck’s other son, Skip, said he has been grateful for Chumb’s presence, especially since he lives far away in Michigan.
“I have called her ‘sis’ regularly. I guess this sort of makes it legal now,” he said.
The Dycks said they are hopeful the adoption will make it easier for Chumb to travel between the U.S. and Cambodia. Chumb has had to reapply for a U.S. visa on previous trips.