There is a stereotype that those who work in adoption have big hearts. While this probably is mostly true, it is epitomized by Lydia Tarr, Program Director for MLJ’s international adoption programs in Bulgaria, Honduras, Nicaragua, Haiti, Mexico, and Ukraine. The fact that there are so many countries in which Lydia manages adoption programs is evidence to how dedicated and passionate that she is. Directing an adoption program requires understanding the country’s laws, customs, and culture; working with attorneys, embassies, and government officials in that country; keeping up to date on the country and adoption rules; reviewing paperwork; communicating with clients; and frequent travel. It is a big job for a single country, let alone six! Despite all that her job entails, Lydia makes herself very available to clients, showing kindness even especially when clients become overly stressed. She often says that she remembers what it was like to be a part of the adoption journey, and it makes her passionate about client care.
Just as all adoptions are different, each of us at MLJ who have adopted or started the adoption journey has had a slightly different experience. For Lydia, her first adoption moved her towards the career which means so much to her, while others of us went into the adoption journey with more of a professional understanding. She has now walked the path to adoption three times, bringing home four children from Ukraine. She has personal experience with infant adoption, sibling adoption, and older child adoption. Plus she has walked along side hundreds of families adopting from these countries, gaining more knowledge and experience every day.
Not only is Lydia parenting her four Ukrainian children, but she also has three biological children (two that are married if you are counting in the picture). The youngest five are very close in age, giving her a full house of teens and tweens. Yet she still makes time and energy for all of the children still waiting for families.
One particular quality of Lydia’s that I appreciate very much is that she is constantly seeking more information and education to be a better parent to all of her children, including the children she adopted. Even though she does not like to be away from her family too long, she is eager to attend conferences. She is happy to share what she has learned and tries to explain to adoptive parents how important it is to take advantage of every opportunity to learn more. Whether or not her children ever thank her, I very much appreciate her investment in being the best parent that she can be. Dedication, compassion, and experience help make Lydia a wonderful asset to MLJ and her clients.