Woman (23) opens up about having a 13-year-old daughter
'Becoming an empty nester at 28 sounds pretty good'
A couple in their early twenties are set to become empty-nesters before they hit 30 - after adopting two teenagers.
Teachers Tasia Taylor, 23, and husband Drew, 25, took in children Rory, 13, and Tamiray, 15, last year.
But despite facing a barrage of adverse opinion online - their TikTok video has been viewed seven million times - the couple say it's the best thing they have ever done.
Tasia said: "We honestly look younger than we are, although we do not feel the odd age difference in our family dynamic.
"People consistently have something to say about the matter and our requests as parents are not always taken seriously.
"Additionally, even with our extensive training on trauma in adolescents, and our own experiences as educators, it can be difficult to navigate the girls' triggers and we are working hard every day to be the best support system we can be for them!
"'Becoming an empty nester at 28 sounds pretty good."
Tasia and Drew have always been passionate about working with families and helping people get back on their feet.
The couple wanted to open their home to foster kids, and in 2022 they started to work with the Department of Children and Family Services.
The couple originally decided to open their home to kids as old as six, but in the middle of the process, they were asked to take on Rory.
@tasiactaylor btw, I realized this AFTER we were already fostering teens. it is a joke. #fostering #fostermom #emptynester #fosterdaughter #fosteringteens ♬ Oh yeah whos a genius - Jay
"She was of age to agree to be adopted and she actually requested that we do"
Tasia's cousin, Tamiray, joined their family soon after. Tasia and Drew now have full custody.
Despite having a loving and happy family life, the family dynamic has come with its challenges.
Tasia, from Dardanelle, Arkansas, said: "We had originally decided to open our home for ages birth to six-years-old.
"We started the training and required background checks to do so. In the middle of the process, we were asked to take on Rory, our youngest.
"She moved in with us on April 1st and we had less than 24-hours' notice before becoming parents.
"When Rory first moved in, we didn't know that we would be able to adopt her, or if she would even want to be adopted, but we knew that we would be a safe place for her."
The couple already knew Rory, as Tasia taught her in school.
Tasia added: "Rory was adopted on December 19th, of 2022, the biggest deciding factor in her adoption was her consent.
"She was of age to agree to be adopted and she actually requested that we do so!
"We did not push this idea upon her, and she worked with a legal advocate, through the CASA program (Court Appointed Special Advocates) to decide if this was the best thing for her!
"She fit into our family so well and we loved having her in our home."
Tamiray, who has lived with her grandmother since she was two, moved in to Tasia and Drew's home with Rory permanently, in July 2022.
Tasia added: "Tamiray is not adopted and I don't think we are going to pursue that route just due to her already being related to us. We have legal custody."
Overall the new family unit has been a rewarding experience for all, proving a loving home and a support system has benefited them all.
@tasiactaylor empty nester at 28 sounds pretty good #christian #teacher #fostering #adoptingteens #teachersontiktok #inlovewithkindergarteners ♬ Smart Ways To Live - Smart Ways To Live
Tasia said: "There is no love quite like a parent's love and there have been so many good moments.
"One special moment was the first time Rory was away from us since moving in. She had gone to church camp and she messaged me and said, 'I love you as much as possible'.
"She hadn't been with us very long and I knew that she meant this.
"I knew that although she was dealing with hard things that no child should ever have to go through, she did love me with everything that she could and I also knew that would grow."
Now "I love you as much as possible" has become the family's slogan and mantra. They even had it printed on shirts they wore to celebrate the adoption.
Both Rory and Tamiray have shown emotional growth since being taken in by Tasia and Drew.
Tasia says the healing process has started to manifest itself in both of them.
She added: "It is so sweet to watch the girls interact together as sisters after experiencing so much serious and separate losses. "They are learning to love and trust again and I am just glad I get to be part of the journey for that."