HOWLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – November is Adoption Awareness Month. Tonight, we’re highlighting a Howland family who recently finalized the adoption of their 12-year-old daughter. They say the process, although challenging, is worth it.

Her smile says it all. For 12-year-old Aminata Munno, “it’s pretty cool” to now have her parents’ last name.

“I feel happy. I feel more of a part of the family although I already was. I just felt more like, just, it’s official,” she said.

Aminata’s adoption by Michael and Danielle Munno was finalized just last month on Oct. 26.

“I am officially a dad of a daughter now. It’s been awesome, it has been,” Michael said.

The Munnos have two grown sons, Drew and Isaiah, but fostering had been on their hearts for years.

The couple began mentoring and eventually became foster parents. Aminata was placed in their home just before she turned 10.

“We just had a connection, to be honest. We had a connection from the beginning. Ami was only supposed to be with us temporarily,” Danielle said.

They said pretty early on, they knew they wanted to adopt her.

“I say all the time, like, can you believe she’s our daughter? Can you believe this happened? Because two years ago, three years ago, when we started the process of just fostering and taking classes, we never imagined in a million years that we would be here,” Danielle said.

“I love how they’re always compassionate. They’re really loving and caring. They have a big humor in the family and I think that they just shower me with love, gifts, attention, and I think that’s what every child needs,” Aminata said.

Although the adoption process can take a while, the Munnos say it’s worth it.

“See it through. I mean, it can be challenging at times but it’s definitely rewarding and it’s something that you can’t overthink, you just have to do it,” Michael said.