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Chaz and Lynn Miller had always wanted a big family. Sixteen-year-old Jiana had a fun personality and a love for kids. The Minnesota Waiting Children program brought them all together. “We all had a natural bond from the beginning,” says Lynn.
The Millers had been preparing for adoption during the births of their two sons, ZK and Caleb, and were open to adopting a child of any age, including a teen from the foster care system.
Jiana joined the Miller family at the age of 16. With her adoption, Jiana gained two brothers and two parents all at once, while Chaz and Lynn gained a teenage daughter.
Now 17½, Jiana says that the stability of a family has helped her mature and given her a positive outlook. “Home is home—it’s permanent,” she says. “There are people who are always going to be there.”
Jiana moves forward after her adoption, while still embracing her past. “I don’t say this is my ‘new family—it is my family. It’s an addition.” The family takes on their challenges as a team. According to Lynn, “Every day, we make progress toward becoming closer and getting to know each other.”
There is still more to do. As Chaz points out, Jiana’s case was one of many. In Minnesota alone, 520 foster care youth are in immediate need of families. The Millers hope their story will help others realize their own capacity to make a difference. Big change can happen from the smallest of beginnings when we all work together.