Lacey Dunkin of Fresno, California, had completed her training with Aspiranet to become a foster parent in June 2011. She didn’t know what to expect, though she was leaning towards wanting a boy.
“When I was daydreaming about having a family, I just saw myself with a boy,” Dunkin told Parents Magazine. She dreamed about it so much that she received a race-car bed from a family member as a gift.
She wasn’t sure when she would receive a child, and a few months passed before Dunkin got a late-night call from Aspiranet. But the call was nothing like she had initially expected.
Dunkin was told that there was an emergency foster placement, and was offered four girls in between the ages of 5 and 1. She immediately said yes.
All of a sudden, she went from a single girl in her 20s to a mother of four little girls. It would’ve been five, as they had a newborn sister, but that sister was sent to a different family better equipped to take care of newborns.
One can imagine how scared Dunkin must’ve been having four kids all of a sudden, and how scared the girls were as well to get a new foster mother overnight. The change was so immediate, and all Dunkin could hope for was the best.
The next day, she was thrust into motherhood as she helped the oldest daughter, Sophia, get ready for school. While talking to her, Dunkin heard something that broke her heart.
“She asked me if she could be my daughter,” Dunkin said about Sophia.
Dunkin told her to call her whatever she wanted, and before the end of the day, Sophia was referring to Dunkin as her “mother.” Imagine going from not having any children, to being called mother by a 5-year-old girl in an instant.
Dunkin didn’t know the circumstances that brought these four girls to her home, but she was determined to make it their home too.
For nine months, she treated them like they were her own.
“They attached to Lacey so quickly,” said Jeri, Dunkin’s mother. And Dunkin felt the same way.
“It just always felt right, from the first moment I met them, I knew they had a special place in my heart,” she told People. She had no idea how long they would stay with her, but she would cherish every day she had with these girls.
After the nine months, the kids’ birth mother had regained custody of them. Dunkin was allowed to go visit the kids, but it wasn’t the same as having them in her house—until she got another call.
Only a month after the kids had returned to their home, their mother called asking Dunkin to adopt all five of them!
Along with the five children, the birth mother had given birth to a sixth child; Dunkin did not hesitate to adopt the baby, which was also a girl.
It turns out her instinct to immediately say yes to the kids that first night was right. Though it isn’t easy to raise six young kids, Dunkin has found a way to make it work, and doesn’t regret it one bit.
She stresses to people that “foster children are not bad, they’re not broken.” Every single one of them deserves a chance, no matter where they came from. And Dunkin taking in six children all at once shows that she just wants these children to be loved.
“I wouldn’t trade the six of them for anything.”