And Then There Were Five – Part 1

I was incredibly blessed with a beautiful childhood. I had wonderful parents. A mom and a dad who adored me until the ends of the earth. There was one huge thing missing though. Siblings. I longed for a sibling. Growing up as an only child has its advantages, but it also has gross disadvantages. As a child, I felt that the disadvantages far outweighed the positives. At a very young age, I began to respectfully request siblings. Whose kidding who? I didn’t respectfully ask anything. I begged. When I was old enough, my mother proceeded to share that it took her many years to conceive me and while she and my dad were open to having additional children, it just never happened. So being the thoughtful child that I was, I brought up adoption. My parents said that they had considered it.

Now back then, parents didn’t share everything with their children like parents do now. I have no idea why they didn’t go forward with the idea. I don’t know what stopped them. As I mentioned before, I was a thoughtful child, so I took it upon myself to call a couple of local adoption agencies for domestic infants. You know, my parents were busy raising me and working. I was trying to assist them by having brochures mailed to us. Guess who was the only one perusing through the brochures? Yes! It was me.  I found adoption to be truly fascinating. I loved everything about it. It was then that I decided that I would adopt a child when I grew up.

By the time I was twelve I had it all planned. I would get married, have my own biological children, and then adopt a daughter internationally to complete my family. This wasn’t a pipe dream. This was a reality. It was important for me to provide a life to a child that wasn’t biologically mine. One that came from the beautiful gift of adoption.

Fast forward many years.  I married my long-term boyfriend Bill of 14 years when I was the ripe age of 34. Given that we had been together for 14 years, we knew we were not going to take any time to get to know each other better. We knew each other well by then!  So we immediately delved into trying to obtain parenthood. Unfortunately, it wasn’t that easy.  After nearly a year, we sought assistance. Unfortunately, after another year of trying everything we could at that time, we were left with nothing at the end. We were not able to move onto IVF due to my immense weight gain from the medications I was on trying to become pregnant. So finally, I turned to Bill one night while we were driving and said to him “What if we just don’t have children?”  It was something I was seriously considering.

As much as I wanted to become a parent, it wasn’t something I felt that I needed to do. I hadn’t dreamed of being a parent my entire life. I wanted to be a social worker. I wanted to change the world. I didn’t have to be a parent. What did Bill say back to me that night? “Don’t you think we will get bored with each other after awhile?”  Now Bill and I have a wonderfully playful relationship with each other. We both have a somewhat sarcastic sense of humor, so I didn’t take any offense to what he said. My response was that we should go straight to the next step on my plan and consider adopting from China!  Bill had known this was my game plan all along, so this didn’t take him by surprise in the least. He was totally on board. We had a new plan!

The next day, I began making phone calls to adoption agencies that specialize in International adoption.  After considering who we were going to adopt from and how we were going to get there, I worked furiously on the immense amount of paperwork necessary to adopt from China. I can’t say that this was an easy process. We had many bumps along the way. China changed their rules and we no longer fit within their guidelines. However, we stayed the course, fixed some issues and forged ahead.

Due to the many bumps in the road, I decide to change our course just a little and take the DCF Mapp classes while we were waiting on our Chinese adoption. I wasn’t sure if we would ever get to China given all of the pitfalls we had, therefore, I wanted to pursue the China avenue and the DCF avenue at the same time. It is a terribly long story that I will save you from reading. However, the best part is that we were finally after three years able to travel to China and adopt a 2 year 9-month-old toddler.  She was beautiful and bright and brought immense light into our lives.  She was such an easy toddler. She loved to sit at the table and work on puzzles. She loved to watch cartoons and dress in her princess dresses. She loved greeting her dad at the end of the day, having a bath and curling up to watch TV. She was a dream. She still is a dream. She is now 13 years old.

When we found out we were travelling to China, we told DCF that we had to put our home on hold. They encouraged us to call them after we had our daughter home a year if we were at all interested in pursuing adoption through the state. Given that I didn’t want to have just one child since I was an only, how wonderful our sweet daughter was and how much we enjoyed parenting, at exactly one year, I called DCF and told them that we wanted to renew our home. We updated our home study and began the search.  It was a whirlwind. 

Our first call came on the way to NY. We turned right around. That baby girl who was only a week old was only in our home for a week.  We were so sad to see her go, but we knew it was for the best. She needed to be with her biological mother. 

Months later we got a phone call about another special little girl. She had just come into care. She had four broken bones. They called us and asked that we take her for just for a few days. I wasn’t keen on doing so because I didn’t want to have my heart broken, but we said yes. We knew we could give her a lot of love until she was placed with another family.  She was part of a sibling set of four. She was only supposed to be with us for a short period of time. Four months later, I called DCF and begged them to move her onto a new family. She was beautiful, a perfect addition to our family. We were head over heals in love with this little girl. The fact was that she was going to be reunified with her biological family. She should have never stayed with us past the few days she was supposed to.

Can I just say that I was so unbelievably proud of myself for calling DCF and asking for her to be removed. It was painful. We cried hysterically. However, we didn’t want our daughter to continue to bond with her knowing we were not going to be her forever family. As far as we were concerned, she was ours. However, we didn’t get into this to strictly foster. We were on the “adoption” track. I am not sure if we made an impact in her life, but we loved her like she was ours and I think of her always.

After our sweet and perfect little girl moved on, we began to search and search for our forever daughter. She had to be out there. We really wanted another daughter to complete our family. It wasn’t easy. The wait seemed endless. One day we got a call from a social worker who was covering for our regular social worker. This was the call we had been waiting for. However, the call didn’t go as planned. They had a little girl that wasn’t legally free, but more importantly, she had a brother. They were a sibling set.  In addition to that, there was another family that was interested. I hung up the phone and was absolutely stunned. The thought of having two children added to the family was overwhelming, but we decided to take the leap.

About Jill Cummings

Jill graduated from Curry College where she double majored in Sociology and triple majored in English, Psychology and Women’s Studies. She lives in West Boylston with her firefighter/paramedic husband and five adopted children. Jill is currently a stay at home mom who is never at home and plans on working with DCF in the future. She attends conferences and trainings regularly in trauma and other assorted subjects for the benefit of her kids as well as herself.

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