It was a love at first sight story that led to a girl near Shenzhen, China to a new life in the United States.
"I was on Facebook one day, and a friend of mine posted a picture of her, and said she needed a family," said Tana Whicker. "I didn't care where she was, I just knew I wanted to go get her."
That girl is eight-year-old Thalia. Tana's husband, Curtis, needed some convincing.
"We have a big family already, and it was a decision we had to talk about and think about," said Curtis. He was not exaggerating when he said he has a big family. The Whickers had 13 kids. 4 of the kids are biological, and the rest were adopted from other countries, such as Haiti, Ethiopia, and China. The Whickers decided eventually to adopt Thalia. After a year's worth of paperwork and visits, Thalia finally made her way to the U.S, landing at Billings Logan Airport Wednesday evening.
"The people that make the decision and consciously decide that that's what they want, is to adopt a child and have a child in their family with Down Syndrome, or any kind of special need, to me, is phenomenal," said Christina Schye with Yellowstone County's Extra Special Kids organization.
The Whickers said so far, Thalia is adjusting well to her new life.
"She's had one or two instances where she's cried a little bit, but other than that, she's been a happy, amazing little girl," said Curtis.
Tana said they fell Thalia will have a better life here in the States, as she said there are discrimination against girls and people with developmental disorders in China. From Logan Airport, the Whickers, along with their newest member of the family, will go to their home in Miles City.
"You'll never spend another birthday alone, another Christmas with no presents under the tree, you'll never spend another day not knowing whether or not anybody loves you," said Christina.
Thalia may be leaving her homeland forever, but she might have a chance to visit again when she gets older. The Whickers said they have a tradition of taking their adopted kids to their homeland for a visit, when they turn 13.