An Ohio man has become a father of five after adopting a set of siblings during Adoption Day in Hamilton County.
Robert Carter is officially a father of five after adopting Marionna, 10, Robert, 9, Makayla, 7, Giovanni, 5, and Kiontae, 4. Carter expressed how relieved he was. Speaking to TODAY, Carter said that he was so nervous that everything would fall through at the last minute.
He said he had tried to "go through the process before," but it sadly didn't work out. "I'm just happy it's over," he said, "I'm their dad for the rest of their life." He then reassured the kids that they would never have to go through "what they went through again."
He went into foster care
Carter knows how it feels to be separated from your brothers and sisters. When he was just 12, he was also placed in a foster home. He told TODAY that he didn't eat for one week. He was traumatized for having been separated from his family and not knowing where they were and whether he would ever see them again. He would later be granted custody of his younger sisters and then guardianship of his younger brother, the WLWT 5 report said.
"I knew I had to adopt all five."
In December 2019, he became a foster parent to three boys. When he learned that the boys have two other sisters, he became determined to adopt all five, so they will still be together. He recalls seeing everybody "crying and hugging and not wanting to let go." Prior to the adoption, the five siblings were already in three different foster homes, and he was the only foster parent who is willing to have all five children adopted.
"I want her to have a childhood."
Carter said he immediately connected with Marionna, who also acted as her sibling's mother figure. "When I was 10, I was left in charge to take care of everyone," he recalls, "I'd steal food" because it was the only way that he and his siblings could eat. Marionna, he said, was responsible for everything, and he understands what that was like.
However, that is not what he wanted for Marionna. He wants her to have a childhood, something that he didn't have. He said that it's not her job to make her siblings a bowl of cereal but that he would rather that she play.
An opportunity to show that he can do it and others can too
Adoption Worker Stacey Barton said that he never had a single father adopt five children before, Fox 19 noted. He said he had married couples who have adopted six or seven. So this was a unique experience for him. He furthered that adopting the siblings is an opportunity for Robert to show the community that one can do it.
Now that they are a family again, the children have started sleeping in their own beds, an indication of their confidence coming back now that they will no longer be separated. "We're a family forever," Carter said.
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