Avia Weber, aka Miss MidState’s Outstanding Teen 2018 has a special connection to Adoptions From The Heart (AFTH). Not only is Avia an adoptee herself, her adoption was facilitated through AFTH. Mr. and Mrs. Weber traveled to Chongqing, China in 2004 to meet and adopt their 20 month old daughter. Avia seeks every opportunity to educate others about all aspects that go into the adoption process through her nonprofit Made Of Love, Not Genes. In July Avia fulfilled a lifelong dream of traveling to back to China with her family.
The Weber family’s vacation to China consisted of special moments that Avia will remember forever. Avia explored many of China’s famous historical sites like the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden City in Beijing, and more. Avia’s enthusiasm for her native country increases more and more as she talks about her family vacation.
The China trip could not be complete without visiting the southwestern city of Chongqing, Avia’s birth place. Unfortunately Avia’s time in the city she was born in was cut short to an hour due to monsoon season. Avia would not let an hour go by without making the most of her visit to Chongqing. There is no shortage of interesting cultural facts pertaining to the city of Chongqing. This particular city is famous for the art of turning leaves into bookmarks. It is Avia’s plan to go back to Chongqing, which also happens to be China’s most populated city.
The Weber family makes it a priority to honor Avia’s Chinese culture in the home. One of the ways the Weber family honors Avia’s heritage is by celebrating Chinese New Year. There are many artifacts native to the Chinese culture that are present throughout the household. One of Avia’s favorite artifacts are the Terracotta Warriors, native to Xian, China which Avia also got to explore.
Avia’s favorite activity during the family vacation was spending the day with pandas in Chengdu. At a panda sanctuary Avia and her family were able to interact with the pandas, feeding them bamboo and cleaning them. Pandas have a special place in Avia’s heart, when her parents came to adopt her they took her to a zoo where she fell in love with the lovable creatures. It was only fitting that her parents bought her a panda as her first stuffed animal when they came home to the USA.
Adoption awareness is so important to Avia, which led her to create her nonprofit platform Made Of Love Not Genes .One source of inspiration was Katie Schreckengast, Miss Pennsylvania 2017. Avia was inspired by how Schreckengast really embraced her South Korean heritage, and how she spoke from her perspective of being an adoptee. When we asked Avia what comes to her mind when one mentions the word adoption, her reply was “opportunity.”
“My platform Made of Love Not Genes spreads the awareness of adoption and diversity. Adoption is so beautiful and affects many lives for the better. I want to make everyone aware of what goes into the adoption, and how to prepare adoptive parents about the paperwork and the whole process.”
Aside from spreading awareness about adoption, Avia aspires to become a surgeon. Her goal is to attend Harvard for pre-med and attend John Hopkins for med school. The AFTH team is very proud of Avia’s accomplishments and dedication to educating others about diversity and adoption. Your AFTH family wishes nothing but unrivaled success in inspiring others, keep up the great work!