This Thanksgiving, the table at Ara and Robert Hunt’s house will be a little more crowded. The couple, who have four children from past relationships and three kids they adopted together, will welcome one more to the holiday feast: Seth Miller, who, at 19, is the newest member of the Hunt family.
Yahoo Shine reported on Miller’s heartwarming story last month: The high school senior had been in foster care since he was 7 and had aged out of the foster system.
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The Texas teen was living in his car when he received help from Virginia Barrett, a volunteer for Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children, who helped him move into his own apartment.
Miller appreciated what she had done for him, but he wanted something more. “One family," he told Dallas affiliate WFAA. "Even if I had to live in a box – family."
The young man’s story caught the attention of the Hunts, who live in the Dallas suburb of Rockwall. Barrett had contacted the couple a few weeks before the story aired to inform them that Miller was actually the biological sibling of one of their adopted children.
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Ara and Robert Hunt had been foster parents for nine years, and had adopted three children – all as babies. Though the couple, whose children range in ages from 11 to 33, knew Miller needed a home, they had concerns. “We were scared,” Ara Hunt, a 42-year-old part-time Realtor who also owns a cleaning business, tells Yahoo Shine. “It took us about two to three weeks to text him.”
In early September, Barrett let the couple know that Miller had been in a car accident and was in the hospital with minor injuries. Something clicked. “This is our sign,” she said. When the teen got out of the hospital, she visited him. Once she got to know the young man, Ara’s worries vanished. “He’s the most loving, caring kid,” she says.
After first inviting him to their house as a guest, Ara and Robert, 56, asked him to stay for good.
On Oct. 25, the day after his 19th birthday, Miller got his wish: He moved in with the Hunt family.
“We’ve been having lots of family time, going to the movies, softball practice, four wheeling, just being a family,” Miller, who has opted to legally change his name to Logan Robert Hunt, tells Yahoo Shine. “That’s really all I’ve ever wanted.” As for being reunited with his younger sister Shyann, he describes the experience as “beyond amazing.”
The teenager is finishing his high school degree with night classes. He advises other foster kids, if it's possible, to get a court appointed special advocate (CASA) volunteer like Virginia Barrett, who worked on Seth Miller’s case for the past 11 years.
“My story is not a pity party,” he says. “It’s more like a life lesson.”
Barrett, meanwhile, is glad to have had a role in Miller's happy ending.
“Helping him when he was homeless was very rewarding, but putting him in contact with the family who adopted one of his siblings, and having them want to adopt him was above and beyond,” Barrett says.
According to the National CASA for Children organization, volunteers are desperately needed to advocate for abused and neglected children. Although 234,000 children nationwide have a CASA volunteer standing by them each year, an additional 400,000 do not. Ideally, volunteers watch over foster children until they are placed in permanent homes, like Barrett did in Miller’s case.
Ara Hunt expects the adoption process to be complete by early next year. She considers this holiday her adopted son’s first “real” Thanksgiving, embraced by the family that will soon be officially his. “A lot of kids look forward to presents and things like that,” Miller says of the holiday season. “Just having a family, that’s the true gift.”
His new mom agrees. “Seth was brought here to change our lives. I sincerely believe that,” she shares. “It’s taught us humility. It’s taught us to be more thankful.”
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