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Three Cheers for International Adoption

Three Cheers for International Adoption

In October, we posted on our Facebook and Instagram accounts about Avery Thielman, a freshman cheerleader at the Ohio State University, who was adopted through the America World China program. We soon learned that THREE of the freshmen cheerleaders at OSU were internationally adopted. Since November is National Adoption Month, we couldn’t be more excited to share their stories.  

From left to right, the photo above shows Bella Skoog (adopted from China in 2006), Claire Snyder (adopted from Russia in 2005), and Avery Thielman (adopted from China in 2006). Read on to learn more about each one!

What are you majoring in?

Bella: Biomedical Engineering

Claire: Graphic Design

Avery: Industrial Design

How did you get involved in cheer?

Bella with her sisters, Claire and Avery in cheer as children

Bella: My oldest sister was an amazing cheerleader who inspired me. When I was younger, I would go to her practices and watch her. I was always amazed by all the incredible things she could do. I wanted to be like her, and now I’m proud to say she’s one of my biggest fans.

Claire: I started gymnastics when I was four. When I was in the third grade, the gym owner thought I would be good at cheer, so he recommended that I switch to cheer. I have been doing it ever since.

Avery: I got involved in cheer when I was thirteen because of my friend Bella Skoog! (We met at Chinese school in second grade.) I started All-Star cheer, where we worked on a routine and competed throughout the season. I got into school cheer my junior year of high school when I decided to cheer in college!

Why did you choose Ohio State as your school?

Ohio State Game Day

Ohio State Game Day

Bella: OSU has an amazing game day unlike any other school. Being able to be in the shoe and do what I love in front of thousands of people is a surreal experience. They also have very competitive academics. I strive to perform to the best of my ability academically, and OSU is the perfect place to do that. OSU is a very well-rounded school with good cheer, school, and social life. I wanted to attend a school with a good engineering program and a great cheer program, and Ohio State had both!

Claire: I chose to go to Ohio State because of its amazing design program and how it is close to home. One of my best friends, who I have been friends with since the third grade, also cheers here.

Avery: I chose Ohio State for many reasons. First was, of course, for cheerleading. I fell in love with their cheer program over the years and knew I wanted to be a part of the team. But athletics aside, I love the campus and knew their academics were great. I also like the fact it’s close to home!

What do you like most about the OSU cheer team?

OSU Cheer Team

With some of the OSU cheer team

Bella: I love the team culture. I genuinely believe that OSU’s team is a family, and the friends I make here I will have forever. Since the day I got here, everyone has been so kind and helpful, and I can look up to everyone in every regard, ranging from school to cheer to even just life advice. I’m so grateful for everyone who has helped me through my first few months of college!

Claire: What I like most about the OSU cheer team is how much of a family we all are! Everyone is supportive of each other and always willing to help you if you need anything. I also love the talent and work ethic that we all have. We can always lift each other and inspire each other when needed.

Avery: What I love most about the OSU cheer team is the people. Since my first practice, everyone was so kind and didn’t make me feel like an outsider. I always look forward to practice because it’s a mix of focus and fun, and everyone is so high-spirited and passionate about the sport!

Share a little about your adoption story.

Bella, Claire, and Avery with their families soon after their adoptions

Bella, Claire, and Avery with their families soon after their adoptions

Bella: I was adopted when I was 10 ½ months old from the JiangXi province in China. The orphanage was in the village of Nanchang. I was one of eight little girls adopted by American families. The families were from all over the United States and traveled together for the two weeks they were in China. When I was handed to my mom for the first time, I cried a lot because I was scared, but when we got back to the hotel, my dad played peek-a-boo with me in the mirror of our room, and I started to laugh. I wasn’t scared anymore.

Claire: I was adopted at 10 ½ months from a small orphanage in Tyumen, Russia. My parents had three boys and really wanted a daughter. Adoption was a way for them to have a daughter. After lots of planning, they flew to Tyumen to meet me in April of 2005 and fell in love with me! After a couple of weeks, my parents went home for two long months. My parents and three brothers flew back to Tyumen on June 25th to see me again, and on June 26, 2005, my family went to court and legally adopted me!

Avery: I was adopted when I was 14 months old from the FuLing Orphanage. I was adopted with eight other girls. Our parents call us Fu sisters, and we still keep in touch! Growing up, my parents always made sure I knew about my background and where I was from. I took Mandarin lessons for many years. We were a part of a group called Central Ohio Families with Children from China. Through that, I learned a lot about Chinese culture and got to celebrate some of its traditions.

What would you like people to know about adoption?

With Their Families

Bella, Claire, and Avery are grateful for adoption.

Bella: Adoption is the greatest gift you can give to a small baby who needs a home. Someone who can give a loving and secure home and be there for them to help them grow into a young adult and go on to do great things in life, and there is no better gift. I have been raised in a home where I have been given limitless opportunities to excel academically, athletically, musically, and socially. I strive to take each new opportunity as it’s presented and run with it because you never know when you will be given the same opportunity.

Claire: I am grateful to my birthmother for having me and bringing me into the world. I am also grateful to my adopted parents who brought me into their loving arms and gave me an amazing childhood with lots of fun memories. Adoption is truly a beautiful thing that can help bring a child into a loving home while helping a parent who does not have the financial means to raise a child.

Avery: I think people should know that adoption is an amazing thing. When I was seven, I was able to go with my parents to China when they adopted my little sister, Audrey. It was an amazing experience that I still remember, even though I was young. I hope to be able to adopt when I am ready for a family!

We are so glad these beautiful ladies were willing to share their stories with us!

International Adoption Today

International adoption is still a great option today! America World continues to place children in families, and we’ve been doing it since 1994. We have programs in India, Bulgaria, Colombia, Ecuador, and Haiti. For more information, you can visit our Learn about Adoption page or read about our adoption programs. You can also pre-apply for free to find out which program would be right for you. We’d love to speak with you!

And in the meantime, GO BUCKS! America World has become a big fan of the OSU cheer team!

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