Growing up with a sibling is a special experience.
Though it can come with some arguing, rivalry, and a lot of shared space growing up, all siblings have a special bond that lasts a lifetime if they are lucky.
Unfortunately, siblings that go through adoption and fostering processes are sometimes separated, which causes them to be denied that bond.
But there are parents like Lacey Dunkin who made sure that no one in a family of six sisters ever felt separated.
Despite having to go through quite a lot of hoops to make sure she would have custody over the big family, she never hesitated to take on the group of girls.
Since she was 25, Lacey Dunkin has known that she wanted to be a mother, whether she was married or not.
After she was certified to adopt in June of 2011, she received a phone call that would change her life forever.
The caller was seeking a foster parent to take on four sisters at once.
Dunkin agreed without hesitation, and the girls moved in with her and her parents immediately.
“I can’t tell you why I felt so compelled to say yes, but I did,” she said. “And I didn’t even consider not keeping them together. It was all or nothing to me,” she explained to Country Living.
Unfortunately, after nine month of being with the girls, the birth mother regained custody of all four girls, including a newborn living with another family.
But then, Dunkin received another phone call around a month later – this time, from the birth mother herself.
The girls’ biological mother decided she wanted what was best for the girls, which she said meant giving them to Dunkin.
But the birth mother’s decision came with one request: she wanted Dunkin to adopt all the sisters, including the newborn.
Though Dunkin accepted the offer, the adoption surprises did not stop there.
During the yearlong adoption process, the mother discovered that she was pregnant with a sixth child.
Of course, Dunkin agreed to adopt that baby as well,totaling six little girls that she would be adopting.
Though the process was definitely unorthodox, the family could not be happier to have all of the sisters together.
“They bring me so much joy and chaos, but life would be so empty and bland and boring without them,” explained Lacey to Country Living.
“It’s an honor to be their mother, they melt my heart.”
Around three years have passed since the monumental adoption, and Dunkin feels so fortunate for six daughters.
Sophia, 9, Natalie and Melanie, both 7, Kaylee, 6, Lea, 4, and Cecily, 2 all get to grow up together with a mother who never hesitated taking them on as an entire family.
Recently, Dunkin shared a touching photo on Facebook of all her daughters gathered together.
So I was nominated in the Motherhood Dare to post one picture that makes me proud or happy to be a mom. I chose this picture.
I chose this picture not because it’s a beautiful picture, although it is, but because of the memory of taking this picture. The memory of the chaos and stress that preceded this beautiful happy picture of me and my girls.
What you don’t see is the yelling, pleading, bargaining that went on prior to this picture. The tears and whining and pouting and me flipping out saying, “all I want is one nice picture of us all, is that too much to ask???” You don’t see me asking my mom to race down to the park, me texting my sweet photographer that it’s been the “morning from hell”, or me rudely honking at a woman who was taking her sweet time to close her door so we could park. (Not my best moment).
This picture reminds me that even during the hard times, life is beautiful. That pressure produces diamonds, and that things don’t have to be “perfect” to be great.