WLWT Digital Staff WLWT Digital Staff
HAMILTON COUNTY, Ohio —
Robert Carter, a single foster dad, officially became a father of five on Friday.
Carter adopted siblings Marionna, Makayla, Robert, Giovanni and Kiontae. He said he didn’t want the siblings to be separated.
The new father of five said he knows first hand how it feels to be removed from a biological home and separated from siblings.
When he was 12, Carter went into foster care in Hamilton County, Ohio, and didn’t see some of his younger siblings for years.
He later was granted custody of his younger sister and guardianship of his younger brother once he was emancipated.
Then and now, Carter wanted to make sure families stuck together.
“When permanent custody was awarded to JFS, the five siblings were already placed in three different foster homes,” Adoption Worker Stacey Barton said. “Mr. Carter was the only foster parent willing and able to adopt all of the children. 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 was fostering the three boys when he and the girls’ foster moms came together so the kids could see each other for the first time in six months.
“I understand how they feel,” Carter said. “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.’”
Carter said he feels that taking care of his siblings and being involved in mentoring and volunteering at South Avondale Elementary led him to adopt.
“Making memories to replace a lot of the bad ones.” Carter 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.’ Like Marionna. She’s warmed up so much since the beginning. At first, she didn’t like me. 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.”
Hamilton County experienced a record year in numbers of adoptions in 2019 with 259 children adopted, a 25% increase from 2018.