Family Stories

The Thielman Family

We were married in 1997 and wanted to start a family a couple of years later. My husband always wanted to adopt, so when we had trouble getting pregnant, it was always an option. I think I was stuck on having a biological child because of some superficial need to see the child I had imagined in my mind. (Hindsight is 20/20!) We went through numerous failed IVF treatments and other procedures. My heart always melted at the sight of an Asian baby. I didn’t want to wonder for the rest of my life of what things would’ve been like IF we adopted. We decided to adopt before our 5th IVF no matter what the outcome. We wanted a child and weren’t about to let that dream slip away.

We chose AWAA because my sister had met a couple who adopted from China and had a great experience. She met them while she was living in Guangzhou, China, for her husband's work. The paperwork was tedious, but each finished and signed document felt like a triumph. I was happy and nervous to be moving forward!!

We sent our dossier in March 2005 and waited. AWAA called on November 10 and congratulated me on becoming a mom! It was wonderful news!! The next day the referral arrived at our front door and I think I cleaned the entire house in 20 minutes waiting for my husband to get home from work!! One glance at our daughter and we were in love. All of those years of disappointment just slipped away. It truly felt as if it was all meant to be. We went to dinner that night to celebrate and took along our referral picture. We decided to name her Avery Ai Tong; Fu Ai Tong was her Chinese name.

She was placed in our arms on January 3, 2006, in Fuling, China. She was very reserved for the first 24 hours and didn’t smile or laugh. It broke our hearts to know how frightening this was for her...but, my husband is the ultimate kid magnet. He got her to laugh and she was a different baby after that. She seemed to bond with us right away and gave us many smiles and giggles.

The trip was a great experience. Our guides were like angels guiding us every step of the way. They made it so easy and took care of all of our arrangements. Staying in those nice hotels was also a luxury when taking care of a baby.

Fast forward 10 months and Avery is now a very happy, healthy, smart little girl. She makes us smile constantly and we can’t imagine life without her. We love her so much; the hardest thing to do is to not spoil her constantly! We are currently gathering the paperwork for Avery’s sister who we will adopt through AWAA.