Robert Carter was already a hero, in our book, for taking in three foster kids. But to adopt all three boys and their two sisters to keep the siblings together? That’s legendary.
Carter, an openly gay hairdresser from Cincinnati, Ohio, was just 29 years old when he made international news last November for his inspiring act of selflessness.
“I’ve always known I wanted to adopt because I grew up in foster care myself,” he told Daily Mail at the time.
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Carter explained that he was separated from his eight siblings at age 12 when he was placed in a foster home. His youngest sibling was 2 at the time, and he didn’t get to see them again until he was 16. He became caretaker of his younger siblings, missing school to watch over them, before he was eventually granted custody of a younger sister and guardianship of a young brother.
Carter had plans of starting a family of his own, and because he’s gay, he figured he’d likely have to adopt if he wanted to have kids. That process started in December 2018, when he began fostering brothers Robert Jr., Giovanni, and Kiontae.
Then, Carter found out that the boys had been separated from their sisters, Marionna and Makayla, for six months. So, he reached out to the girls’ foster mothers and arranged a play date.
“The kids saw each other and started hugging and crying and wouldn’t let go,” he said. “That was the moment I said, ‘Okay, I’m going to take all five.’ … I know the pain of being separated too well, and I could not let that happen to them.”
Carter cried after finalizing the adoption of the five kids — who were all 10 or younger — because “it was over and I didn’t have to worry about if they were going to be moved or would have to suffer anymore.”
He said that he woke up the following day “feeling relieved, at peace, and blessed to have these kids.”
A GoFundMe campaign organized on Carter’s behalf in October 2020 originally sought $150,000 for a new home for the family. But now, six months later, donors have already given more than $277,000.
In a profile on the Hamilton County Job & Family Services website, adoption worker Stacey Barton said Carter is a true hero.
“Mr. Carter was the only foster parent willing and able to adopt all of the children,” Barton added. “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.”
But Carter struck a humble note in his Daily Mail interview: “I’m just happy that I’m able to help encourage people to step up as foster and adoptive parents so we can get these kids into great hands,” he said.
We’re proud of Carter for living out and proud as a gay dad and for starting one family by helping to reunite another.