By Jesse Wood
A GoFundMe fundraiser is currently ongoing to help a Watauga High School drama teacher who lost thousands of dollars when an adoption agency declared bankruptcy and closed overnight.
Former students Kevin Logan and Dylan Russell spearheaded the campaign for Sarah Miller, who is affectionately called “drama mama” by her students. The campaign outraised its goal of $15,000. Currently, 188 people have raised $16,235 in the past 20 days.
“Mrs. Miller has always been an incredible mentor, friend and teacher. She’s just loved by everyone in the community and she had a profound impact on my life and the person i am today,” Russell said. “So when we found out about the setback regarding the adoption agency declaring bankruptcy, Kevin and I knew we had to do something.”
Russell said they reached out Trimella Chaney, who started the drama program at WHS. “We vetted the idea with Mrs. Chaney. She thought it was a lovely idea and pitched it to Mrs. Miller who was so grateful,” Russell said.
Below is the campaign story put forth by Russell and Logan. Donate here.
We always called Ms. Miller our “drama mama.” To all of her students she was more than a high school theatre teacher. Each year, Ms. Miller invested her time, energy, and love to her students at Watauga High School. She would spend countless hours teaching us how to become other characters on the stage, but she spent even more time teaching us how to become ourselves. She celebrated every curtain call with us, as well as every college acceptance or personal success. She was there for us during our most formative years. She loved us and believed in us and dreamed with us.
She was more than a high school teacher to us. She was our “drama mama.” And we love her dearly.
We were elated when we found out she wanted to share her love with a baby through adoption. We began talking about what names we liked best, what books we would read to her child, and who would be the best babysitter. We were excited to welcome this baby into a big village.
Last month, we were ecstatic to learn that an expectant mother from the West Coast expressed interest in Ms. Miller. But several days later, Ms. Miller’s adoption agency declared bankruptcy, abruptly and permanently closing overnight.
Ms. Miller had spent years saving money and meeting with financial advisors to cover her adoption expenses. Adoption agencies require substantial upfront payment, and Ms. Miller invested thousands in this agency, with confidence that they were one of the oldest and largest agencies in the country. When the agency declared chapter 7 bankruptcy, Ms. Miller discovered that she and other former clients should not expect to get the money they paid to the agency back. As you can imagine, this is a huge financial setback.
Fortunately, the expectant mother reached out to Ms. Miller after the bankruptcy, and still wishes to move forward with an adoption placement plan. Ms. Miller has found a new set of lawyers and a new adoption agency to re-do her home study and other paperwork. This means paying again for services she had previously paid for through the bankrupt agency.
We need your help to keep these new expenses from standing in the way of making this dream a reality. This placement could happen in mid-May, and we want to help Ms. Miller get to the West Coast to be there for the baby’s birth.
Please share this page widely and give whatever you can to this incredible “drama mama.”
While we are still waiting and while so many unknown variables remain in the air, we are undoubtedly sure of one thing: witnessing Ms. Miller’s resilience, grace, and love have reaffirmed our belief that Ms. Miller is ready for this child. The love that this baby will inherit is inspiring. And this big village is ready for one more.