“Foster care and adoption has been one of the most fulfilling and rewarding experiences of our lives. The joys far outweigh the struggles and becoming a foster family has made each of us better.”
Krystal and Shawn Miller have a desire to help children in need of a loving family, and after having four biological children of their own, they realized there was room in their hearts and within their family to do just that. In the spring of 2014, the Miller parents attended an informational night about foster care and afterward knew it was something they wanted to pursue. That same year they became licensed.
While going through the process, the couple received training to equip them for becoming foster parents. Although some information they received caused hesitation and made them think twice about going into foster care, they feel it really prepared them for the challenges that would come. Krystal states, “The reward is worth the risk, and we have been blessed immensely during this time.” Those who have worked closely with the Miller family say they truly understand the community that it takes to be a foster family. Along with building connections with those involved in Stark County fostering and adopting, they also have a large personal support system through their extended family and faith community.
Family Resource Worker, Lisa Gladieux, says, “The Miller family have truly been amazing to work with through their foster and adoption journey. They pour their entire beings into the children placed in their home. Helping children feel safe, gaining their trust, and working on bonding/attachment are a priority for any child placed in their home. They work cooperatively with the agency and for birth parents open to a relationship, the Miller’s find value in supporting them.”
When asked about their initial fostering experience, Krystal and Shawn say they were blessed with two amazing young boys who resided in their home for a year. Although there were times that were challenging, the children were able to grow and develop during the time they were in their care. Krystal and Shawn remark how those two boys will always hold a special place in their hearts.
The Millers have the perspective that each placement is unique and every child has a specific set of needs and challenges. This means that relationship development has come quick with some children while taking longer with others. Krystal and Shawn have always had the goal of keeping each child’s best interest at heart. They have done this through being patient, flexible, and always hopeful, and they have been able to develop deep, strong bonds with each child who has shared their home.
The Miller family has always been open to working with birth families. They feel it is vital to build these types of relationships. Always wanting to support the children in their care and put their needs at the forefront, adoption has been the end goal for them if reunification was not possible. The family has fostered five children and has adopted two. They are hoping to finalize another adoption this year.