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Parenting Last Updated: May 27th, 2019 - 13:51:51

‘One big, happy family'
By Shelby Star
Dec 20, 2011, 21:20

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‘One big, happy family' : After 3 years of marriage, couple adopts 3 children
From Newspaper Partner The Shelby Star

Shelby Star
Posted: 11:05 am EST December 20, 2011

SHELBY, N.C. -- When Ed and Bethany Miller became parents, they decided to skip right over the baby years.

Within the span of a few months, they went from being a recently married couple of three years to a family of five.

There were no diapers to change and no nights spent pacing the floors with a crying infant.

Instead, the couple decided to adopt.

Ed and Bethany Miller first adopted Ivy, 14 years old, and then, a month after her adoption was complete, took in Gabe, 6, and Ben, 8, as foster children.

In September, the boys' adoption was finalized.

Ed Miller said when the boys were taken from their parents’ home by the Department of Social Services and brought to the Millers, Gabe was crying and Ben wouldn't stop asking questions.

Neither one knew how to eat or bathe properly.

Less than nine months later, it is clear they have come home.

Adoption wasn't something either Ed or Bethany Miller had considered in the past. It just kind of happened.

“Honestly, I never even thought about adopting,” Ed Miller said.

Adopting Ivy

Several years ago, Ed Miller, a teacher at Springmore Elementary School, had Ivy as one of his music students.

He said there was a nearly instant connection and when he found out she was living in a group home, he immediately thought of adoption.

“She’s such a good kid,” Ed Miller remembers thinking. “She’s so sweet. Why does she not have a home?”

In the fall of 2009, a year after he and Bethany married, they decided they wanted to make Ivy a part of their family.

At first, they thought they were too late. Another family was already in the process of adopting Ivy. But when it fell through, the Millers jumped at the chance to bring Ivy home.

“He came home and said there’s good news and bad news,” Bethany Miller, also a teacher, remembered the day they found out Ivy was available after all. “He told me, ‘The good news is Ivy’s back. The bad news is there’s a lot of paperwork.’”

The Millers had to undergo background checks, interviews and pages and pages of often intimate questions.

It was nearly six months later that they were finally allowed visitation with Ivy.

She spent her first Christmas with the Millers in 2009 and within hours, Ivy was calling the Millers Mom and Dad.

“She made us tons of cards and gifts just to let us know she loved us,” Bethany Miller said.

Ivy's adoption was completed on Feb. 14, and both Ed and Bethany said they couldn't have asked for a better Valentine's Day gift.

As part of the process of adopting Ivy, they took foster parenting classes.

"We started getting into it and started seeing ourselves as foster parents," Bethany Miller said.

‘We fell in love instantly’

When the Millers got a phone call asking if they could take in Gabe and Ben, they were quick to say yes.

Within hours of receiving the phone call, they brought the boys home.

“We fell in love instantly,” Bethany Miller said. “We could not see them not in our lives.”

Less than three months ago, the boys became a permanent part of the family.

Although the first few weeks were a challenge as the kids adapted to their new life, both Ed and Bethany Miller agreed they loved being parents.

“We’ve been happy,” Ed Miller said. “Very happy.”

Now, it's hard to imagine life without Gabe, Ben and Ivy.

“There’s been times when they’ve been gone and it’s too quiet,” Ed Miller said.

He also wants people to know that there are many children in the United States in need of a good home.

He said there are 11,000 boys and girls in North Carolina alone who are waiting to be adopted.

The Cleveland County DSS currently has 11 children cleared for adoption who have no permanent home.

Now, when the five Millers go out to eat, nobody realizes they aren't Ed and Bethany's biological children.

"We're just one big happy family," Ed Miller said.

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