ADOPTION STORY: Family Grows Through Fostering

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One large Iowa household proves you don’t have to be related by blood to be a family.

It's a busy morning for the Millizers in State Center. Mom Debbie Millizer says, "We always have a house full."

With a house full of eight kids, she has much to remember. As she introduces her daughters, she laughs, “What's your name again?”

Millizer has three birth children. Once they got older, she and her husband Wendell decided to add to the family. He says, "I'm always busy. Always."

Mrs. Millizer says, "We are a foster adoptive family. We've been doing this approximately eight years."

Isabella and Braxton are the youngest of the clan. Then, there are teens Nathan and Alyssa. Millizer says, "Teenagers are the hardest to find homes for. They're a little scary because sometimes people believe they come with behaviors. And, yeah, there's some of that, but there's a lot of good things that come with that as well."

The Millizers brought Alyssa home two years ago when she was a sophomore. Debbie says, "Alyssa came to us from inner city. We're very rural. People didn't think she was going to make it here because it was quite the change."

But, she's blossomed, becoming State Center's Rose Queen this summer. Alyssa says, "Well I have to ride in parades and set up fundraisers and events and I do a lot of community service."

A picture on the wall represents a big moment for the family. It was from Adoption Saturday last year when the family finalized the adoptions of Braxton and Alyssa. Debbie says, "There are all these families from all across Iowa that come together and they all share the same moment of adopting a child and giving a child a forever family."

Every November, Polk County hosts an Adoption Saturday for foster families to finalize adoptions, celebrate and raise awareness. Debbie goes on to say, "Your house doesn't have to be huge, you can be renting a home, you can be a single parent. It's really more about whether you have the room in your heart."

Polk County Adoption Saturday is Saturday, November 23 from 8:30 to noon at the Polk County Courthouse. A similar event happens in Webster City that same day at the Hamilton County Courthouse.

You can find more information about becoming a foster parent or adopting by visiting www.Iowa



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