Robert Dummitt and Nicole Dummitt

Recorded June 4, 2011 Archived June 4, 2011 42:02 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: MBX008147


Nicole Dummitt (44) and her husband Robert (Bob) Dummitt (45) talk about their road to becoming parents.

Subject Log / Time Code

Remember when they were offered the twins to be fostered; they were in the midst of losing Isiah, their first placement. “We needed the boys.”
Bob and Nicole describe the twins, Jacob and Michael. They were 14 months old. Jacob threw up all over Bob during the first visit.
They remember Bob’s father and how he got to meet and hold Jane during the last months of his life.
Nicole remembers the letter she wrote to the boy’s birth mother and the day in court when they knew the mother had voluntarily dissolved her parental rights.
They talk about open adoption and their choice to maintain open adoptions for all their children
Nicole remembers finding out she was pregnant at age 42, Bob was shocked and the kids were all excited.
The way they feel about their adopted children hasn’t changed at all, “just proves that love transcends how a person got to you.”


  • Robert Dummitt
  • Nicole Dummitt

Venue / Recording Kit


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00:04 My name is Nicole dummitt. I'm 44 years old today is June 4th, 2011 or recording in Lexington, Kentucky and I'm interviewing my husband Bob and I am Bob Bob dumb. It's on 43 years old. It's June 4th 2011 in Lexington, Kentucky, and I'm here with my wonderful wife, Nicole.

00:28 Being interviewed

00:31 How do you feel about doing this now that I forced your hand to come have a great about enough to run it and looked at it and what it was.

00:43 Most most of what I want to ask you about is kind of to me the most important part of our life and that's about our kids and our family and so I'm thinking about Marty emotional and thinking about questions, you know, if it's just a few hours ago the place the launching point for me was kind of when When I Was preparing to move here from San Diego. I called you because things are starting to get pretty serious and I remember thinking that I needed to talk to you about the reality of the fact that I was pretty much going to be infertile and how that was going to be for you and I remember calling you and

01:34 Asking you about it, and I'm just wondering if you remember at all that conversation and what your answer was.

01:42 I cheated and I did have to see this and I wasn't even trying to but I did see this on your on your list little bit their butt and I I have said don't remember that exact conversation. But I remember conversation about this new beginning in and what I'm hoping I said cuz this is what I believe now that I would have said is that you know, that's okay. That's no big deal. We want to kids will adopt kids. It'll all work out. No, nope. No problems. That is actually almost exactly what you and I remember remember just like falling in love with you even more real.

02:23 Not only was it was okay with you but thought you took it a step further and that you were okay with the possibility of adopting or so that was it always been

02:36 Eating before we ever met I think that had always been something that I was very open to just because of the world that it is and then we don't need to bring more people in the world and maybe we'll adopt and I kind of always kind of felt that way anyway, but obviously things are crazier now, so

02:58 That's cool. That that that that was something you thought of I never knew that actually cuz I think that as I was growing up I kind of was always sort of open to the idea of adoption and interesting that we found ourselves in that situation. Yes.

03:16 So having said that when when we had gotten married and then we were really I was kind of more ready. I think to start a family and I was supposed to know if we're going to do this. Let's do this thing and the realities of the fact that we were going to be foster parents with a potential to adopt and as all that was playing out. How how did you feel about the thought of some of raising quote somebody else's child?

03:53 I would say that it never occurred to me that to think of it as someone else's child as we as we start talking about adoption and then to the ways for people without a lot of means to adopt happens to be probably at least one one option is is foster care. And so really I never looked at it as raising someone else's child. That's obviously what we were doing it, especially in the beginning because we didn't have any guarantees of anything. But you know, we were just raising raising children, so

04:32 But it never occurred to me to even think in those terms.

04:36 I was happy about it.

04:38 Were you ever scared about being a parent? I'm sure I was but I don't think about that. I don't know why I can't remember actually having feelings of being scared about it because we decided we were going to do it and that's just the way it is, and I don't so I don't guess I didn't worry about it.

05:04 Do you remember I guess it's a two-part question. I remember the stink like it in the call from our social worker saying hey, you know, she had kind of a lift in her voice and said, you know, there's twin boys.

05:18 That are coming into care and I think you guys would really be great for them. And I just remember like

05:26 Being so excited. Yeah. Yeah. That was not my first placement. You know, we've had Isaiah first and it was an amazing nine months.

05:38 And and you know, I think at that point we knew he was going home. And so it was immediately.

05:56 Welcoming to have they the idea that that we would have the boys come see us and that we would get to any of that first day when we would get to go there where it where he was having a visitation and counter are they were having visitation the kind of Steven it was it was wonderful, you know and in so what as you were beginning to pose that question, I started think myself. Okay, maybe I was scared, but it wasn't because I needed it to happen.

06:26 Because that because Isaiah was scheduled to leave shortly in and it and there was this huge void coming up that we can feel and it did, just float and never look back really so

06:44 Do you remember looking through that to a glass? I'm seeing the boys for the first time in some little sure do your kind of sick?

06:56 Here, under the weather and their hair just so long that control.

07:04 And I'm

07:06 And I've been sucking on those thumbs.

07:09 And I know you were just doing just great.

07:14 Just perfect.

07:16 That was a really really good today. And my mom was there. I was working a job where I didn't have a lot of time it was definitely how early in an account have to get back and remember that I kind of had to leave but I was able to get get there for a little while and and and it was great.

07:37 Ready for a home visit after that

07:40 Was it difficult under the circumstances to allow yourself to be vulnerable to the loss again that they might not be able to stay with us forever.

07:51 I don't think I gave any thought to the lost that could happen because if they were feeling

07:57 That they were curing loss at the time not curing it but making me forget it or whatever. It was when Isaiah had to go back to his mom. You know, we knew that was going to be really bad and it was and so again, it doesn't occur to me to to worry about loss going when you're getting the good and you just go with it. No.

08:24 Could women look at it?

08:36 I don't know what to say.

08:38 I can still such a

08:42 Close well.

08:45 You know, it's obvious. We got into foster care in or thinking someday. We're going to get to adopt kids. We couldn't we're not folks that are going to have $30,000 to adopt from another country. And so we thought you know, if this this might work out for us and there was never any guarantees and we got into foster care program knowing there were no guarantees, but we hoped and and we wanted to get into it. And so Isaiah was the first placement and and

09:18 And he's such a good dude his two and a half right has been through some problems.

09:27 Isaiah had had his head

09:30 Run over by car.

09:33 That his mom was that his mom was driving because she lost track of it.

09:38 And so and he also suffered some shaking baby stuff.

09:43 So they were something since we're palsy mild, but he was wonderful.

09:54 Put smile. So cute. He was a great kid. We really really that was an amazing experience for us. I think individually and as a couple he was just a joy and it was such an honor to be part of his life. If we're not really now we were for a long time even after he left but it really was such an honor to do that. And I think that we went into it knowing that our job was to give him a good home and that it was there was it wasn't about whether it was a permanent home. It was about making everyday a good fact for him.

10:33 And at the same time we perceived the progress that the mom was making him and getting him back to not be much until you allow yourself to think we align ourselves to think this might just work out. This is pretty cool for us and then things went the way they went which is it was It was decided that the chi and done enough to get him back and they began transitioning and and and they decided on a day for him to go back and it remains my worst day ever.

11:15 That's them then progression to get to get us to there.

11:31 Remember

11:33 Okay, some Michael and Jacob are living with us Isaiah's doing his thing. We can finish seeing them once in awhile.

11:42 But the boys are just Tylenol because of Michael and Jacob were Twins. And at the time they were 14 million so funny so funny and I don't remember about how long after that and go ahead to see if Michael's right-handed suck on his left so that I could still do their thing and they were they were going all around and I feel like if we're recording something for posterity and I have to say that the very first day that Jake is that they visited Jacob threw up sausage on not right at that sits us the strangest memory to always have been will will have it now it's forever so

12:33 Not much. That was so funny, but they were such good guy smiling and just having a great time for smile. And I love that their hair was long. I thought it was great. The boys are tiling around. I don't know how many months they've been with us. Not that long and then

13:07 The social worker came in and told us about a young couple.

13:14 That was pregnant. So they were going to have this baby baby girl anytime like within weeks and that she was she really want to really thought that that we would look at home for her.

13:33 What do you remember about the day that Jaden came home from the hospital to live with us with this was you had to be at least a year? I think after the boys got there was a ride around a year because they came to us in a January and Jaden was born in a March so is right around that and and it had been getting to that point was it was wonderful. We felt like we could handle that and it was great and I'm

14:08 And it's and it's like it's like it always is if you feel like you have to you feel like you can handle one more and why not and

14:20 In the end it was at the same time. We had only ever dealt with 14 months and above and so it to be totally clueless about how to deal with with with a creature such as a newborn was I was a little a little out of control just because I have that was a little worried at that point just hadn't had to do it but it was wonderful. And when the Jessica I think was her name that brought her to us how to make it was it was it was wonderful. She was beautiful so tiny.

14:59 And I'd never seen a baby swaddled and she was like, yeah.

15:15 You know that was another situation where we were warned, you know, this is probably just going to be like at 9 months.

15:21 Fostering situation and we've already kind of survived the fear and disappointment of having one child go back home to their birth family and I think there's been a lot of sleepless nights about the Twins and whether or not would be able to keep them or not that was still very much up in the air will at that point we had to do with the twin uncle and his family who who who who owl very nice and totally supportive were mulling over the idea of adopting adopting them themselves. And so not only do we have their actual birth family that that may get it together. We're also dealing with uncles and aunts that and it might take them in and have every right to take them if they wanted them. So yeah those that was a that was a totally a day-by-day situation where I begin to definitely not count any eggs because

16:21 You do just never knew you never knew from day today. He had had one birth parent in jail. And how's that going to work out and and then other legal problems with the other one? And then yeah, just kind of

16:37 Not knowing what was going to happen with the difficult.

16:47 And I don't know. I don't know what you have next but

16:55 Later lichen

16:58 Shortly after Jayden came to us.

17:02 My dad was going through brain cancer and and having pneumonia and

17:10 Pneumonia getting to the point where we actually had to make the decision whether to effectively pull the plug and then don't remember the terms for it. But that's how it was when we decided not to and he came out of it and had another my gosh, you know for months of what I hope was quality life there and taking him taking Jaden to the hospital.

17:41 3 weeks old is 3 weeks old and and having him hold her actually in the hospital bed in a holder looking down and we have pictures of that and that's

17:54 That's pretty big stuff because I always wanted to share all of that with with him and got to share a lot of it and it's just really important.

18:13 What do you think?

18:16 Our kids are missing out on the most because they don't have the the gift of your father and their lives.

18:32 It was just it was just a really nice guy and he Nene took time to

18:39 To explain things and didn't just

18:43 I think he would have taken a lot of time with them. I think is the thing and it would have shown them that the things in his world and and really taken time to interact with them is as humans and and not

19:00 Shower going with toys and but would have really taken a lot of time and Ben.

19:07 Death Jester great-grandad that they would want to spend time with.

19:15 Fishing and probably hunting and I know and and the things that

19:21 Cuz I don't do but may

19:28 Chocolate

19:39 How do you feel?

19:40 When we finally got to adopt the boys. How is that day for you?

19:49 Well, that was a that was obviously a big load off because never until that morning did I get really confident because cuz that's what we said before which is so many things going on so many possibilities that can derail the whole situation. He just never never decided it was over cuz there was continually something cropping up. So it it was it was just an absolutely wonderful. It was it was it was just wonderful. I mean

20:27 And then the party after I'm done and then they were just there were just happy boys. I don't think they obviously didn't get the full impact of any of it. But but we were definitely mom and dad and and and

20:43 And they were happy and so was I

20:50 That we were going to be able to adopt.

20:56 Find a lot of Court visits that we went to even though we don't really have to I'm kind of a control freak. So if I could be there I was going to even if I wasn't going to say words I wanted us to be in the Mix A Lot and

21:11 There was a

21:13 There's a whole process that the state goes through legally and you know that families work a plan and or don't sand so we'd really kind of

21:26 I've been watching with bated breath the entire time and we are at the courtroom on the day when they were going to make some decisions about whether they would terminate parental rights and I've written the letter.

21:47 Kind of pleading to

21:54 To Keisha Keisha my hero who is on the boy's birth mom, and I actually I don't remember if I'd rather just her husband loves her and Jason, but I I just sort of wrote this letter of light.

22:11 I wish I hadn't read that so long. I wish I would have thought about it before now, but

22:16 Just saying hey, you know, we really

22:20 Really want you around and we really can't do this on her own and you know, we really want to have an open adoption and you know.

22:30 In order for us to to become parents, somebody else had to lose their parental rights.

22:42 You know that was not something that we took lightly at all.

22:47 But that we really need her and Jason Scott Abby.

22:55 Be part of the process because you know, there are amazing people and and their lives didn't go I'm sure the way that they had planned but that you know, that didn't take away how much they love their kids. And so

23:14 The judge I think heads been given that letter I'd given copies of its kind of all the players to make sure everybody knew. Hey, this is even though the state of Kentucky can't me a date and open adoption that that the dummett family is on board with making this happen. And if you could see your way to it, you have my word.

23:35 That that you'll be around as much as you want to and can and so they think that helped her.

23:45 I really do and they asked us to leave the courtroom and the judge and the attorneys and my Keisha and everybody talked about something and I remember that your mom and and you and I are out in that courtroom. Just I mean

24:05 Just

24:07 Waiting with bated breath. We just didn't know what was going to happen and I recall, you know, 5 minutes or so later. They asked us back in and a judge Bunnell was talking about how amazing I was type. Keisha was electing to

24:31 Voluntarily terminate her parental rights and

24:35 You know, she it was just an amazing moment. That was the most selfless act. I think anybody could have ever done.

24:48 I'm forever indebted to her via and respect her so so much and so that was kind of the deal. That was probably the emotional.

25:05 Turning point for it. Legally. There were a lot of other things really that you have to deal with with with home studies and with you know, there were still people could have still come out of the woodwork some grandparents that that we're here in town that could and so even though that was a wonderful time and a wonderful thing to have happened that it didn't I didn't see you any any anything and stone Brew definitely did the emotional okay that we can observe with the next step, So

25:45 That was probably

25:48 That was probably other than the actual.

25:51 Adoption decree being done that what that was the moment that about 2 years of

25:59 Sleepless nights and you know, okay, you have the the worries and the sleepless nights of food just being a parent but then the thought that that could all be taken away literally phone call front of somebody else within the bloodline if you will could step in and change the whole scenario. So that was two years of just the most fearful moments ever had in my life, but it was gone vanished in that moment.

26:31 And then we got to adopt Jaden.

26:34 Yes, and my memory of of that is not as as wrenching. I don't know. It's 441 it never seemed like any of of the relatives really ever stepped up to to make it hard charged that they might might tank her and so

27:00 But I know you're obviously worried worried that the mom and the dad would have would have gotten things together before that. You're she wants them totally get it together. But boy if they do then that's going to be pretty crappy for you. And so it's a very hard to deal with all of those seriously conflicting probably hard motivation probably hard just being in it to just be a foster parent, but then when you're in it

27:39 Kind of hoping and sisters horrible. You're hoping someone fails and then let's face it that you're you're not consciously saying that but you're that's what your hearts, well in order for your

27:53 Deepest desire to come to fruition. Somebody else's deepest fear has to come to pass for me.

28:07 We we talked already about the fact that we have open adoptions with.

28:15 The kids birth parents that was not typical or easy to decide and all the people around us had opinions about it.

28:28 How do you feel about the fact that we have open adoptions?

28:33 Well

28:37 The idea of open adoptions. I'll give a brief thing on that and then that came about during the time where we were kind of during time of worry about Michael and Jacob and where they would they would stay with us. We begin to think about options. And so we began to take class with the Catholic help me and they and their whole program is around open adoption. So we we learned a whole lot about them and and the difference between closed and open and basically what you would imagine and just having the birth family involved to whatever degree you were you're comfortable with is and how how amazing that is for the children. Yes to have a sense of where they come from and who they are outside of their Beno family.

29:31 And and answer your question. I'm I'm I'm totally happy with the fact that we did that. I think they may not even realize it but they're just they're they're getting to grow up with with them in their lives. And and there aren't when they're 18 or not going to have a thousand questions. I need answered. They'll need questions answered but there won't be as many and they won't be as horrible. I'm convinced and end is

30:03 And you know as as much more active as it makes our lives and with with visits and with with changes in birth parents lives that don't always make us incredibly happy they are what they are and then they're they're better than not having those a lot better. So yeah, there are times. You know, Jayden is Jayden can definitely she knows how to work the room very well and so she's six right now by the way you're talking and she she can definitely say things that are that that make you think that boy in about 5 years is going to be really really interesting because she she just has a way of implying things in

31:03 Talking about talking about the way things are going to be in and talk about what she wants that that's sometimes it can it can be threatening. Yeah. I used to not be and I used to just

31:16 Do not worry about that, but

31:20 And it's strange. I'm not threatened.

31:24 I'm not threatening that person would do a better job on them threaten that

31:30 But Jaden might think that are that the boys might think that I'm confident that we're going to do the right things and that we are going to be a better choice, but I'd like them to think that too. I guess. I hope you prepare yourself for the fact that your fears will come over last night.

31:52 Yes, you are an amazing Dad cell.

32:09 So after years of basically, you know, assuming and to whatever extent coming to terms with the fact that

32:19 You know, we were not a couple that was going to have our own birth children and you know infertility issues and stuff we end up finding it that at 42 I'm pregnant.

32:35 That was an interesting interesting phone call to get wasn't it.

32:46 How did you feel when you first learned that we were going to have a baby another baby?

32:58 It was quite a shock because I'm I'm a bit of a worrier and I worry about money and I worry about time and I'll worry about the children that we have now who decided that we are, you know where their mom and dad and so, you know as as wonderful as of a of a statement as it is, we're going to have a baby if it began to turn up all kinds of problems in men in my head, you know how it is, and I'm

33:33 And it it did it just took a while to really get get my head around it. I think it probably did you too. Oh my God. Yeah.

33:44 I thought I was just a really sick. So there was going to be a totally different problem. I was not at all prepared for that at all. I would say you.

34:01 I mean talk about that, please.

34:04 Do you want it?

34:08 I mean, I just shared like all the I was really really really worried that I was an older mom and you know, it's so scary scenario and

34:20 But mostly I was worried about how Michael and Jacob and Jayden were going to feel about.

34:28 No sharing

34:31 And weren't they excited and happy and never not once have I looked back in any kind of?

34:38 I regret that I can tell never forget Jacob cry at the table and I was so scared that he was upset. He was overjoyed that just that's awesome that says all about them perfect with her.

35:03 And James are a great older sister.

35:08 So McKenna is 18 months right now. That's our fourth child.

35:14 When I

35:17 I had a really normal pregnancy all things considering but then I got really really really sick really fast.

35:25 And we learned that we were going to have to deliver her 3 months early.

35:33 And a couple of days

35:37 What went through your mind?

35:41 I just had tons of worried about both of you.

35:46 Because of you because things happened people died, and I was really worried really worried about both of you.

35:57 And then someone overwhelmed with

36:01 With everything

36:05 But there were task to be done and it was we just got through it.

36:15 And it worked out.

36:18 But yeah, I mean I was I was just really really worried when the doctor says you need to go from hero to the hospital by the meeting. Let's then you start really need to go from this room over there.

36:33 And I had said

36:35 We haven't even decided on a name yet with the night before the surgery. We're like figure this one out.

36:47 Good found that name and I just loved it from the beginning. I'm glad we went with it.

36:54 You named your grandma's name for her middle name. Genevieve was good. Perfect fit.

37:01 So

37:04 When we had the emergency C-section, I was pretty out of it.

37:10 And my memories of those moments are pretty fuzzy.

37:18 When you got to see her for the first time.

37:23 What were the different things that went through your mind?

37:28 Was it?

37:32 Just total Joy.

37:35 Seeing her the first time that she was something I mean, obviously you three months premature if she was she was 1 lb 15 oz so that's tiny and the nurse, you know that they do this every day. So they're able to know that they can they can just treat them not like a ragdoll but pretty pretty callously from someone who has never seen it before she was totally fine all the time. But but but just a totally happy hearing, you know, it was obvious that things were going well and in so I was I was at ease and I was just just thrilled than that things are going well both with you and with her they were going about their business and time.

38:27 I was just happy to Total happiness for me joy joy time.

38:34 I don't remember much. I remember I remember cracking some jokes before the surgery started and then I remember them holding her up so that I could see her really really briefly. And I remember I was not prepared for how

38:53 How small?

38:55 What are the tiny baby 15 oz is for a human and that little hat on her head and she was bundled up and I literally felt like I saw her face for 2 seconds, and then I moved her out of the room.

39:12 But then later in the in the NICU and we got to go in and see her and she was laying on her belly and that picture that I have of you on one side of the incubator and looking at her and how small she was.

39:29 That was magic though because it was this.

39:33 She was she was just fighting her way through it.

39:37 Anyway, it was great a great time for us to kind of be together and with her.

39:45 And them

39:48 And that's the moment that you know, I remember that most that the delivery room stuff. I don't remember nearly as much as the time which is just spent there in that into an incubator thing during that first time.

40:02 A lot of pictures to that house

40:08 Is there any

40:09 Difference in the way you feel about our love.

40:17 How are kids that are adopted vs. Anal child that was not adopted. I thought about that a lot. And I've just never had any any difference of feeling myself people say that you're going to have that and they talk about once you had one of your own but I mean, there's just there are kids is no

40:44 That there is no difference.

40:47 It's impossible. I feel like we're in the elite club in a way that

40:56 That proves that

41:04 How you love somebody or

41:08 Or why you love somebody?

41:10 Incense

41:14 How they got to you, you know, right and I I'm sad that other people don't actually get to experience the

41:23 The beauty of that. I'm really so so grateful we are up to our kids will be grateful to you for making

41:38 These things happen. You are the you are the starter of things.

41:46 It's really really been great to thank you. Thank you, and I love you. I love you. Thank you for letting me interview you today. You're welcome. You're welcome.

42:00 Okay, why did I?