On June 9, 2010, these two beautiful children arrived at our front door. All of a sudden, I was a parent to three kids. Overnight. Just like that. Bam! It blew me away. I had a 5, 4 and a 3-year-old and let me tell you, that isn’t easy. Going to the store to do errands with three in tow was an incredible feat. Especially when you consider that these children were not mine from birth. When you bring children into your life from another home, there is a lot to consider. There is history there. There can be neglect, abuse, substance abuse or criminal activity. You never know what their history is. More importantly, you never know how that history is going to affect your life and the life of those you love. Unfortunately, these two actually joined our family at a difficult time. I had just had surgery in April and was not feeling well. We kept expecting that I would feel better as time went on, but I kept saying that something wasn’t right. While I was trying desperately to figure out what was going on with my health, the rights of our two were terminated and we moved on towards adoption. Our two were adopted within 9 months. I had never heard of such a thing with DCF. It usually takes much longer than that to move through the entire process. We thought we were very lucky that it was that quick. Were we really that lucky though or was there something going on that we didn’t know?
See what we didn’t know was that our two precious kiddos had a lot of challenges. We were not fully prepared for this. We didn’t know if it was the transition to our house, trauma from the past or their age that made them behave the way they did. When these two kiddos came to our house, the first thing they did was rip apart their new bedroom. They ripped down the curtains, the blinds and everything else they could get their hands on. When I took the three of them to the park, these two would gravitate towards anyone and everyone. They would sit next to a complete stranger. They would call all women “mom” and all men were “dad.” It was scary. It was also incredibly sad.
After a couple of weeks, one of them bit our oldest daughter. At that time, my husband threw his hands up and told me to call DCF. He wouldn’t put up with them hurting his little girl. I called DCF and put our notice in. I felt so sad. I was broken. I didn’t know what we did wrong. I thought with love, consistency and routine, that I could get them to change. While waiting for another placement to come along for them, we continued to bond. I saw a change in the four-year-old that gave me immense hope that she was reachable. I couldn’t have been more delighted. I called my husband and told him that I had seen a “light” in her and felt that we could make a difference in their lives. We agreed to call DCF and tell them that we were in it for the long hall. I called the school and re-registered them for September. I also got them both into therapy. We adopted them in March of 2011.
As we continued to parent over the years, we realized that the “light” that I saw may have been interpreted differently by each of us. Bill would ask me how intense that light was. I told him it was a flicker and not a bonfire. Hey, If we don’t keep our sense of humor, we can easily be lost in despair. It had not been easy. No matter how much love, consistency, therapy, therapeutic mentors, ICC members we worked with, our children still struggled to behave. Now I have to say that these two kids have strengths in abundance. In addition to their struggles, they had so many wonderful things going for them. They were sweet. They would do anything for you. Unfortunately, they also wanted to constantly control every situation. Whenever I witnessed them playing with younger children, they were so very good with them. All of a sudden, I had a lightbulb moment. We needed to sign up to foster children. We needed to become foster parents!!!!! Dun…dun…dun!
About Jill Cummings
Jill Cummings 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.