Finalizing an adoption can range from a year to sometimes a decade. It's a decision individuals or couples make in the hopes of building or expanding their family.
However, many families are looking to only adopt one, or maybe even two, kids. As a result, many siblings are separated because different families choose to adopt them.
A 32-year-old woman from Fresno, California said she dreamed of becoming a mother, but she didn't view marriage as a prerequisite.
“Marriage wasn’t anywhere on the horizon for me at that point, so I kind of looked at my life and decided that was okay and that I didn’t need marriage,” Lacey Dunkin said. “But I knew that if I wasn’t a mom, I would regret it my whole life.”
So Dunkin completed her foster care training in 2011 and received a call from a social worker a few months later. She was asked to take care of a 5-year-old, 2-year-old twins, and a 1-year old.
"I didn’t even consider not keeping them together. It was all or nothing to me.”
Dunkin felt a deep connection to the four girls instantly, but after caring for them for nine months, their birth mother regained custody. Then she got a surprising phone call a month later.
The birth mother of the four girls contacted Dunkin a month later asking to take care of her girls again. She also just had a baby girl right after her four girls were put into foster care.
"I was shocked, because that must have been a hard decision to make. She had been considering it for a few weeks, but was worried that her family might judge her," Dunkin recalled.
While the adoption was finalizing, the birth mother found out she was pregnant with a sixth baby girl!
“This was my children’s sibling, so it wasn’t even a question for me to take her in too,” Dunkin said.
Dunkin is now a stay-at-home mom who lives with her parents and her newly adopted six children.
“They bring me so much joy, and chaos, but life would be so empty and bland and boring without them," she said. “I wouldn’t trade the six of them for anything. I am so honored to be their mother.”