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Heroic dad found out his three foster kids had two more siblings. He adopted all five so they could be together

Lily Wakefield November 10, 2020
gay man adopts five children to keep family together

Robert Carter adopted Marionna, 10, Robert, 9, Makayla, 8, Giovanni, 5, and Kiontae, 4. (Hamilton County Job & Family Services/ Facebook)

A 29-year-old former foster child in Ohio has adopted five children to keep their family together.

Robert Carter was separated from his eight siblings when he entered the foster system in Hamilton County, Ohio, at the age of 12.

He and his siblings were taken into care as his mother struggled with alcoholism and was unable to look after them, but once they were separated in the system, he didn’t see some of them for years.

Many years later, Carter and his partner Kiontae Gillan decided to foster three brothers, but soon found out that the boys had sisters too.

They arranged a meeting, and all five siblings were able to be together for the first time in six months.

According to Hamilton County Job and Family Services, Carter said: “I understand how they feel. 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’.”

Although Carter and Gillan recently separated, Gillan is still known as “papa” to the boys, and was present at the ceremony when Carter officially adopted Marionna, 10, Robert, 9, Makayla, 8, Giovanni, 5, and Kiontae, 4.

(Hamilton County Job & Family Services)

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.”

The cosmetologist, wig shop owner and now dad-of-five said of his hopes for his new family: “Making memories to replace a lot of the bad ones. 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.”

More: adoption, fostering

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