Not many families would be willing to adopt six siblings at once, but that’s exactly what single mom Lacey Dunkin did.
The 32-year-old California woman and her six young daughters are featured in a new Parenting article that highlights their journey to becoming a family.
Dunkin became a certified foster parent in June 2011 as a single woman. She waited several months, hoping to raise a boy and wondering if she wasn’t getting any placements because she wasn’t married, according to the article.
In the middle of one September night, though, Dunkin said she received a call asking if she would accept an emergency placement: Four young sisters needed a temporary home.
“I was barely awake but I said yes,” she told the magazine.
The report has more about the family’s amazing story:
Within a couple of hours, Dunkin had four confused little girls burning off nervous energy darting around her living room. “They were small and scared, and brought in the middle of the night to this stranger’s house,” says Dunkin, who along with her mother calmed the tired, crying girls and tucked them into bed and rocked the baby to sleep.
The next morning, Dunkin called in to work and prepared to take Sophia, the eldest, to her kindergarten class. “I was making her breakfast and she asked me if I had any daughters and if she could be my daughter, which broke my heart,” says Dunkin. “She asked what she could call me and I told her, ‘My name is Lacey, and you can call me whatever you want to call me.’ By the time I found her school and dropped her off, she was introducing me as her mom.”
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Later that day, Dunkin learned the girls—Sophia; the twins, Natalie and Melanie; and the 1-year-old, Kaylee— had a sibling, Lea, born the night before. (Lea temporarily went to a foster couple with prior experience with newborns.) Nine months later, the older girls reunited with their birth mom. Says Dunkin: “I tried to keep faith that they would end up where they were supposed to, and in my heart, that was here.”
After about a month, the girls’ birth mother concluded it would be too difficult for her to care for them. “She called and asked if I would take all five,” says Dunkin. “I immediately said yes.”
But she was in for another surprise. The girls’ birthmother soon gave birth to a sixth daughter and wanted Dunkin to take her, too. She agreed, and adopted all six sisters in 2013, the report states.
“I want people to know that foster children are not bad, they’re not broken,” Dunkin said. “Children are resilient, and want and need a loving home.”
Children in foster care are often stereotyped as unwanted and unadoptable because of traumatic circumstances in their lives, but stories like Dunkin’s and her six daughters’ are proving the doubters wrong. More families are opening their homes to large sibling groups, children with disabilities and even children with fatal conditions. These loving families are proving that no child is unwanted.