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He Gave Her a New Name
by Julie Cramer
Posted on Tuesday, October 24, 2017
Orphan Outreach is celebrating a decade of care for orphans and vulnerable children, and we're inviting our US-based staff to share their thoughts about the ministry and its mission - and we're giving a sneak peek into their lives and loves. Tiffany Taylor Wines is one of the founders of the nonprofit, and her passion is a family affair. Little did we know that talking to her would reveal a secret - her name really isn't Tiffany!




“To him who overcomes … I will give him a new name” (Rev. 2:17b nasb)

Tiffany Taylor Wines is not really “Tiffany Taylor.” Born Deborah Jean Taylor, Tiffany went by Debbie until the fifth grade. New to town, her teacher asked her to introduce herself to the class. Upon hearing her last name, a classmate chirped, “Like the Tiffany Taylor doll!” Amused, her teacher dubbed her Tiffany as did a boy smitten with the new-to-town brown-eyed girl. Like wet spaghetti, it stuck.

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“The Tiffany Taylor doll was very popular,” she says with a laugh. Ideal Toy Company introduced the doll in 1974, with a unique feature—with a spin of the doll’s head, a child could change Tiffany’s hair from blond to brown. Magical.

 

“There’s a lot of humor in my family, and when I told my parents to call me Tiffany, they accepted the change very well. Then as I got older, I just started putting it on legal documents—which you couldn’t do today,” Tiffany says. Once her Tennessee driver’s license held her new moniker, she kissed “Debbie” sayonara for good.

Wines, on the other hand, is a name she acquired by marriage to husband, Brad. As a young couple, both Tiffany and Brad worked hard as marketing agency executives at competing companies. Tiffany worked her way into the role of partner and was pulling a good salary. They began talking about adopting a child. At the time, Brad was 32 and Tiffany was 29. The documentary The Dying Rooms about the then one-child-only policy in China broke Tiffany’s heart and they pursued adopting a girl from China. But the country had set the starting age of adoptive parents at 35. The couple’s adoption agency suggested they consider Russia, and they agreed.

“We didn’t know a lot about it and we just dove in,” Tiffany says. “We had always talked about adopting and we started the process in January of 1996. It just so happens that our daughter’s birthday is January 4, 1996. Our application is dated the week she was born.”

That September, they traveled to Russia to bring home their baby girl. “We were blown away,” she says. “It rocked our world that our daughter had been born on the other side of the earth. We’d been raised Christians, but we weren’t involved in the church. It was the act of adopting that … led us to become baptized.” The sheer orchestration of events turned their hearts toward faith in a creator. “How can you not have belief in a divine God who designs and controls everything in light of the circumstances?”

Around the time Tiffany and Brad brought home Inna, they began attending a “seeker-friendly” church in Oak Cliff, a Dallas suburb.

“We were realizing God’s hand as sovereign Lord … that he had us in his hand,” she says. “So we started the process of adopting again. I call Inna our ‘sucker baby’ because she was so easy that she sucked us in thinking parenting was easy.”

tiffany and family

Son Misha joined the family in 1998, only 20 months apart from his sister in age, and a much quicker addition than Tiffany and Brad had banked on. “Families wait for girls and boys wait for families,” she says. “We thought we’d have to wait a year.” Instead, the couple quickly was juggling two children in diapers at the same time, and Misha was a very active boy. They quickly realized one parent would need to be home more, and working long hours in an advertising agency was impossible. As a sovereign God would have it, what led Tiffany to leave her job as a partner in an advertising agency for ministry came by an unlikely way … a printing company.

“At that time, our agencies used the same printer for most printing,” Tiffany explains. “That printer had three main clients: my husband’s company, my company, and a nonprofit named Buckner International. The printer put us on the Buckner mailing list without asking us because he knew we had adopted children from Russia and thought it would interest us,” she says. “I got this magazine with a picture of Mike Douris and Amy Norton, and an article about what they had just started doing in Russia. So I called them up and offered my help. They were taking over a shoe drive program that needed a logo, marketing, and someone to drive the process of launching it. I volunteered.”

In the fall of 1999, she traveled with Buckner at the suggestion of Mike Douris—who had an ulterior motive to persuade Tiffany to join their team.

“It was one thing to do our adoption and see one orphanage; it’s a total other thing to go and go to orphan after orphanage, after orphanage,” Tiffany says. “I would look at their faces and see my kids … but for the grace of God. On the flight back from Russia, I was praying, ‘Lord, I wish I was young and could do whatever I wanted to do.’ God was like, ‘You are young (I was 33!). This is what I’ve called you to do.’ I knew I needed to tell my husband and hope he was good with that. When I got home, I poured it all out to my husband, and it was the only time in his life that he did not ask me about how we would do this money-wise. Brad was in total faith and joined with me in this decision. That’s all it took, was going on that trip.”

tiffany

In 2007, God called her to make a change again. “In all parts of my life I was trying to be obedient to what God wanted me to do. When we started Orphan Outreach, I think we were naïve in a really good way. We had a lot of experience. We knew it was tough, messy, and hard work. But we were just clear that we were going to do it.”

In the 10 years since she joined the launch team of Orphan Outreach, Tiffany has seen even more of God’s sovereign orchestration in her life.

tiffany little

“As I look at every turning point in my life—adopting children, giving my life to Christ, leaving an agency to work full time in a nonprofit—God had set in place everything to support that. God set all those paths in motion. It has made me more in awe and wonder of a God who cares so deeply for me, my family, and my children. He set all that up, and then put in place the ministry of Orphan Outreach.

"A really good example of this is the founding of the auxiliary of Orphan Outreach called WOW (Women for Orphans Worldwide). It started as what my friends and I thought was a one time mission trip to Guatemala when our girls were in middle school. Little did we know God's huge plan for WOW. In 2017, WOW trips took hundreds of Dallas and Houston area families to Guatemala and the group raised more than $150,000 for our mission work there. God has deeply enriched my life through the friendships I have developed and intensified serving alongside other like minded women on the WOW board."

And what is next is equally moving. “In our next ten years, what’s really exciting for all of us is taking all the knowledge we have learned and becoming a stronger advocate and presence in orphan care, and training others in best practices. It’s not about the orphanage,” she says. “It’s about how we deal with all issues of how a child came to be an orphan. When we started, it was like, ‘Let’s fix the bathroom!’ in the orphanage because that’s what Americans do. Now, we’re asking how do you walk alongside people in poverty situations to prevent the children from becoming orphans in the first place?”

At her core, Tiffany Taylor is a rescuer. She carries towels in her car in case she happens to need to catch a stray dog on the road. The pop culture lover even named her first dog rescues after the movie, Alien: Newt and Ripley. “I’m a bit ole softie,” she says. “I love a good cry. I have watched every version of Pride and Prejudice ever produced,” she says, including the Bollywood version.  A favorite phrase she quotes often comes from the father’s character in the movie—“I’m quite at my leisure right now.”Tiffany’s dad has told her that he always felt pushed into things, and reflecting on her life, will quip: “How amazing you were actually called.” She doesn’t mind the ribbing—their sense of humor is a well-worked muscle—so she can smile and nod because she is the first one to profess that God not only called her, but called her by a new name in Christ. In reflection of the last 10 years of ministry, Tiffany is quite at her own leisure.


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