Interview with LeAnn Thieman, Author of This Must Be My Brother
What prompted you to write "This Must Be My Brother"?
LeAnn Thieman: For 20 years, people had said, "You really need to write your story!" I always answered, "I'm busy! I have 3 children under the age of 4!" But as they began to grow up and leave home, the importance of sharing this story grew. The year I "let go" of our adopted son as he went off to college, was the year I finished the book.
Out of this incredible experience, what event remains foremost in your mind, twenty five years later?
LeAnn Thieman: That baby boy choosing me! Mitch literally crawled across the room and into my arms and heart!
How did you write your book, was it a colloborative effort?
LeAnn Thieman: Amazingly, Carol, the friend who went with me to Vietnam, moved from Iowa to Fort Collins, Colorado and we were in the same town again! Together we scribbled all the facts and information we could recall, then began the writing process. I, then, completed the final manuscript.
Have you had contact with the adults or children involved since the heroic flight?
LeAnn Thieman: Yes. There's an epilog in my book showing pictures of some of the orphans today. A few years ago I spoke to a reunion of the airlift adoptees. It was one of the greatest speaking engagements in my career! I still get cards and notes from them.
What was it like to raise your son in the 1970's & 1998's after the Vietnam war?
LeAnn Thieman: We lived in cities with diverse populations, so Mitch was accepted with very little turmoil. But then, he was an adorable child!
What advice do you have for parents who are adopting children now?
LeAnn Thieman: Every decision you make in your life must be based on one criteria: what is best for the child. Adoption isn't about you, but about them- - to fulfill their need.The selflessness that parenting requires is incredible. Also, be ready for the long haul- -forever is a long time. Adoption is the greatest gift- -to you- - your child- -the world!
Could you tell us a little about your current activities and plans for the future?
LeAnn Thieman: I thought I was going to Vietnam to escort 6 kids to their families in the U.S. Instead the Divine plan for me was to help bring out 300! and to a choose a son! and to write a book about it some 20 years later! and to have a TV movie being made about that adventure! and to have that story in Chicken Soup for the Mothers Soul! then to have more of my stories in 4 more Chicken Soup books! and to be the co-author of the upcoming Chicken Sop for the Nurse's Soul! and to build a full-time speaking career sharing life lessons learned from that adventure so I can share my story with the world! Wow.
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