The Cunningham Siblings Story

Now and thenI came to find Sibs Raising Sibs after hours and months of Google searches trying to find something, anything or anyone who was in my situation. I knew I wasn’t the first one to ever take on the responsibility of raising siblings. I just had to find the right keywords. A big thank you to Isabel for reaching out to me after I commented on a Facebook post, it made my day. She asked me to write about us so here’s our story.

Like most of the people in our situation it starts with a death. On July 8th, 2014 we lost my Bonus Mom (I despise the word stepmother reminds me of Cinderella) Corina (the kids biological Mom) very unexpectedly to a heart attack. She was only 42. Cori had been with my Dad since I was 10 and was a very big part of my life. After I got one of the worst phone calls of my life I packed a bag (I live in the Chicago suburbs) and headed to Missouri where she and the kids lived and spent the whole week comforting my Dad and youngest siblings, Laura and Jordon. But then I had to come back to home.

Our father has always struggled with an addiction to drugs and alcohol on top of anger issues. I really felt uncomfortable leaving the kids with him. He has never been a reliable person and can never hold a job or home for very long. But at the time there was not much I could do besides be there. As soon as I got back home I started talking to my boyfriend, Mike, about taking in my siblings and what we could do to make that happen. As the months went by I called my dad and siblings every other day to make sure they had what they needed and were being taken care of properly. Then one night at the beginning of October my Dad called me and I could tell he was very drunk and asked me if I would come get the kids because he couldn’t “handle it” anymore. I told him that I would but I wouldn’t be able to until I came for cousin’s wedding the first week of November which was a little more than 3 weeks away and he said that would be fine. Two weeks later I got a phone call from Laura and she was screaming and crying saying that Dad was very drunk and hitting Jordon. So I told her to hang up with me and call the cops and then call me back. The cops came and took him to jail and asked the kids where they wanted to go and they said me but I was 8 hours away and I financially couldn’t come any sooner, so they stayed with their Aunt for a week until I could get there. I couldn’t eat or sleep for a week until they were with me. When I finally got to Missouri I went and picked the kids up for the evening and we went to dinner at a friends’ house and then I took them back to their Aunts house until our meeting with the Department of Family Services to see who would be a better home for the kids me or their Aunt. After a 4 hour long talk and planning it was decided that I was the best placement for the kids.20150516_131844

On November 10th, 2014 I became the legal guardians of Laura and Jordon. We packed up what we could fit of their stuff and headed to Chicago. We have been taking everything day by day and just had our 1st Famliversary as I like to call it. The kids are doing wonderful. Jordon was on the football team in the fall and is in wrestling this winter. Laura made the varsity bowling team, is in Concert Choir and recently had her Sweet 16! I couldn’t be more proud of them; they have shown such strength and courage over the last year and half. My love for them has grown even more and I would choose them over and over again.

Thank you to Jessica for sharing your sibs raising sibs experience.





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