When Lacey Dunkin pictured herself as a mother, she always envisioned raising boys.

Being single, Lacey didn’t see marriage as a prerequisite for children, Parents.com reported. Therefore, she applied to be a foster parent. By June 2011, after numerous hours of training and a home inspection, Lacey passed the certification test to become a foster parent.

As months passed without news from the fostering agency, Lacey began to worry. However, her life was about to change after one late-night phone call. She recalled that a social worker told her that:

“[S]he had a foster-care emergency placement: four sisters ages 5, 2-year-old twins, and 1.

I was barely awake, but I said yes.”

And just like that, Lacey was fostering four young sisters, who quickly looked at her as their mother figure. The next morning, as Lacey was preparing the eldest sister for kindergarten, she recalled:

“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. 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.”

Later that same day, Lacey learned that the sisters had another sibling, Lea, who had been born the night before. After a brief stint with a foster couple with previous experience with newborns, baby Lea joined her four sisters at Lacey’s.

After nine months, the girls were reunited with their birth mother. That month was hard for Lacey; however, she said:

“I tried to keep faith that they would end up where they were supposed to, and in my heart, that was here.”

And sure, enough, approximately one month later, the girls’ birth mother phoned Lacey asking if she would take all five girls, as it was too difficult for her to take care of them. Immediately, Lacey responded with a resounding yes, formally adopting all five girls in July 2013.

Two months later, one final sister, Cecily, joined Lacey and her mini clan. Their birth mother had been expecting again, and once she was ready, Cecily, too, was formally adopted.

Although Lacey is nowhere where she assumed she’d be at this point in her life, sh’s grateful for her “beautiful life.” She said:

“I want people to know that foster children are not bad, they’re not broken. Children are resilient, and want and need a loving home.”

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