On May 23, 2019, Steve and Rob Anderson-McLean’s family grew by six after adopting siblings who spent five years in foster care.
The Pennsylvania couple matched with Carlos, Guadalupe, Maria, Selena, Nasa, and Max in June 2018. The following month, they opened their home—and their hearts—to the kids, who were removed from their biological parents’ home due to abuse and neglect.
Steve and Rob have been together for over 20 years. They initially held a commitment ceremony in 2006 before tying the knot in Maryland in 2013.
The couple raised two kids—Parker and Noah—from Steve’s previous marriage. But after the children grew up and moved out, Steve and Rob realized they “weren’t done” with parenting. So, they started exploring adoption.
During their research, they learned that siblings were often separated within the foster care system.
“Such a staggering amount of sibling groups are broken up and it broke our hearts,” Steve told Good Morning America.
They initially planned to adopt two or three children, but when they saw the six brothers and sisters on an Ohio foster care website, they instantly fell in love and wanted to give them a better life.
The couple also learned about their tragic history and that they had been in the foster care system for almost five years.
Steve and Rob knew they could give the kids a better life, and they also didn’t want them to be split up.
When the children moved into their home in July 2018, they immediately connected with them.
“After the first week, they were asking if they could stay forever,” Steve said.
The dads allowed them to experience many of their firsts. They brought them to places they’ve never been before, such as the park and the zoo. The family also played in the yard.
The dads initially worried that the oldest of the siblings, Carlos, would struggle with the concept of having same-sex parents. But as it turns out, they had nothing to worry about.
“We thought with Carlos being a teen, he might have a hard time,” Steve said. “But it has not bothered him one bit.”
Finally, after 1,640 days in foster care, the siblings were officially adopted in May 2019. Steve remembered a poignant moment from the adoption hearing held in Judge Joseph K. Williams’ Pittsburgh courtroom.
“The judge asked, ‘Do you understand at this point forward they are your children? They are just as much as your biological children.’ Obviously, we knew that, but when I looked up and saw all those eyes, it was very emotional,” he said. “We never imagined we’d be lucky enough or blessed enough to have six.”
“I’d say our kids have brought a great kind of crazy to our lives. It’s heartwarming and so exciting to see how they connect with us,” added Rob.
The kids were equally happy to have finally found their forever family and living a better life.
“The kids felt this huge sense of relief,” Steve said. “They had been let down by adults so many times in their life, and were nervous it wasn’t going to happen.”
After the adoption was finalized, the kids could finally write their new last names. Steve remembered one night when Max, then 7 years old, looked at him and said, “I’m adopted.”
“I nodded and he said, ‘You can’t get unadopted right?’ And I had to reassure him that he will always be our son,” he said.
The dads constantly reassure the kids that they aren’t going anywhere, and the message has been well-received. As Carlos told Steve one time: “I’m not a foster kid anymore. I don’t have to carry that title around. I finally have a real family.”
The Anderson-McLeans have been a family for three years now, and they continue to thrive with the love and happiness that fills their household!
Check out the family’s interview with TODAY for more on their incredible adoption story.
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