A single father officially became the adoptive dad of five foster siblings after they had been split up in foster care.
In December 2019, Robert Carter began fostering his three sons, Robert Jr., Giovanni, and Kiontae, but it wasn’t until later that he knew the brothers also had two sisters, Marionna and Makayla, who were also in the foster system.
The siblings had been separated for six months, but Carter made an effort to reunite them and took his sons to visit their sisters in their foster home. After finally being reunited, the children cried during their visits and found it difficult to leave each other.
“They didn’t want to leave each other, and at that moment, I knew, ok, I have to adopt all five,” Carter said to WLOX News.
With this plan in place, Carter set about working hard so he could get a bigger house. Finally, on Adoption Day on Friday, October 23, he officially adopted all five siblings in Hamilton County, Ohio.
Adoption case manager Stacey Barton said she’d never had a single dad adopt five children, but after seeing the family together she knew it was meant to be.
“I’ve had married couples who have adopted six or seven, so this was a unique experience for me. Children need families, and it’s an opportunity for Mr. Carter to show the community that he can do it and others can too,” Barton said.
Carter’s determination of keeping the family together came from the fact that he was also separated from his own siblings when he was a child in foster care. His mother gave birth to nine kids, and he was put in foster care at the age of 12.
After being separated from his youngest brother, who was two years old, it was 14 years before Carter saw him again.
“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,” Carter explained.
“I’m relieved because I tried to go through the process before and it didn’t work out, but now I’m just happy that it’s over and I’m their dad for the rest of their life, and they know that they’ll never have to go through what they went through again.
Carter admitted that it took some time for one of his new daughters, Marionna, to warm up to him.
He said that she didn’t like him at first, but she recently walked into his room and said: “I just want to say thanks for taking us in and taking care of us when our real mom couldn’t.”
Carter said the experience ‘really touched’ him, adding that he’s determined to be there for his kids ‘no matter what’.