Meet Robert Carter, a 29-year-old stylist and openly gay man based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Carter took the extraordinary step last month of adopting five children–all age 10 or under–at once.
Carter grew up in foster care and has always felt the sting of separation from his siblings. “I’ve always known I wanted to adopt because I grew up in foster care myself,” he told The Daily Mail. “I knew about my sexuality very young, so I always figured I’d have to adopt if I wanted kids.”
Carter became a foster parent in December 2019, taking in three of the brothers from the family: Robert Jr., Giovanni, and Kiontae. Only later did he learn that the boys had two other sisters, placed elsewhere in foster care. He immediately set up a date for the boys to reunite with their sisters, Marionna and Makayla, for an afternoon playdate. After seeing the five together, Carter had a moment of revelation.
“The kids saw each other and started hugging and crying and wouldn’t let go,” he recalls. “That was the moment I said ‘okay I’m going to take all five.'” Robert had been one of nine children, and was separated from his siblings when they entered foster care. He wouldn’t see some of his siblings again for 14 years.
Against the advice of his friends, Carter applied to adopt all five kids. October 30, a judge approved the adoption, making him a father of five.
“My five kids are amazing,” Carter opines. “A lot of people think it’s hard if you’re by yourself or don’t have a house, but it’s a lot easier than people think it’s going to be and kids need parents whether it’s two or one. After it was finalized, I just cried 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. I woke up the next day feeling relieved, at peace and blessed to have these kids.”
“I can’t even explain how unbelievable it is,” he concludes. “Just to have support and people sharing our story to bring awareness to the fact that we still have so many kids that need homes. 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.”
Carter has set up a GoFundMe Campaign to help cover the expenses of the adoption and to buy a home for the family. It has a projected goal of $150,000.