Family is one of the greatest gifts we have in this world. However, not everyone is as lucky to have one that is intact. Broken families are everywhere – a situation that sometimes can’t be helped no matter how much fixing is done.
Robert Carter understood how important it was to be with loved ones. So, despite being a single man, he decided to become a father to five siblings who were all in foster care.
Carter began fostering brothers Robert Jr., Giovanni, and Kiontae in December 2019. He later learned that they had two sisters, Marionna and Makayla, who were also in the foster system.
He found that the siblings hadn’t seen each other in six months. He and the girls’ foster moms came together so they could meet again.
“I understand how they feel,” Carter told WCVB. “I understand what they went through, so it really touched me. I was already thinking about adopting all of the kids but when I saw them crying, I was like, ‘Ok, I’m going to take all five to keep them together.’”
As someone who went into foster care in Hamilton County, Ohio, at age 12, Carter resonated with the siblings’ heartbreaking situation.
His mom had nine kids, and he was separated for years from his brothers and sisters. Carter remembers he didn’t see his youngest sibling—who was two-years-old at the time—until that brother turned 16. It was a painful experience that he didn’t want the five children to go through.
“I didn’t see him again until he was 16, so for me going through that, I knew how important it is for them to see each other and be around each other. When I had my boys before I got the girls, that’s all they talked about was their sisters,” the single dad said.
He was later given custody of his younger sister and guardianship of his younger brother once he was emancipated.
Carter worked to be able to afford a bigger house that can accommodate all his five children.
Stacey Barton, the adoption case manager, said she’d never seen a single person adopt this many kids before.
“Mr. Carter was the only foster parent willing and able to adopt all of the children,” she said. “His childhood background has made him aware of the importance of keeping siblings together. He says that he enjoys being their father and that parenting them is easier than he could have ever imagined! His life is busy, with a lot of love, laughter and loudness! I have enjoyed working with him and witnessing the children bond as siblings.”
Carter’s past experience greatly influenced his decision to adopt all five children. He took care of his younger siblings and also mentored and volunteered kids at South Avondale Elementary.
“Making memories to replace a lot of the bad ones.” he said. “Every night I talk to them and let them know, ‘I’m your dad forever. I know what it’s like and I’m always here for you.”
And that constant reassurance has worked wonders for his relationship with the kids.
Carter said that one of the girls, Marionna, didn’t like him in the beginning. But now, she’s already warmed up so much to him.
“She walked in my room last night and said, ‘I just want to say thanks for taking us in and taking care of us when our real mom couldn’t.’ It just really touched me. So just making memories, letting them know I’m here and they never have to go. I’m here for them no matter what,” he said.
This incredible gesture of kindness is something that not everyone can do. It requires compassion and tremendous amounts of sacrifice. Kudos to this single dad—and all adoptive parents like him—for putting these kids’ needs before their own!