Every kid deserves a family. Every child should have at least one person that they can trust to keep them safe, someone to encourage them and love them unconditionally. Sadly, for many kids growing up in foster care, stability is something they never get to experience. Right now, there are over 400,000 kids in foster care in the US, and that number is only increasing. The chances of a child being adopted decreases as they get older, and finding families willing to take in more than one child is often extremely difficult. Not only do children in foster care have to cope with the stress of an unstable living situation, but they’re often separated from their siblings, the only family they really have.
Robert Carter knows what it’s like to dream of having a stable, loving home. At 12 years old, Carter entered the foster care system along with his eight siblings. Carter was the third oldest out of the nine, and as a result, he found himself wanting to protect his younger siblings. Due to his mom’s alcoholism, she was unable to care for her children and they were removed from their home. For a child in foster care, each instance of loss and instability shakes your sense of what “home” really means.
Carter went years without seeing some of his siblings, but thanks to his strength and optimism, he did extremely well in foster care. So well in fact, that after his emancipation he fought for and gained custody of one of his little sisters and guardianship of one younger brother. The trauma of being pulled from his home and separated from his siblings changed Robert Carter, but rather than dwell on his own hardships, he put that energy to use helping kids just like him.
In December of 2019, Carter took in three foster sons named Robert Jr., Giovanni, and Kiontae. Unbeknown to him at the time, the three brothers also had two sisters in the foster care system from whom they’d been separated for about six months. Remembering how challenging it was to be separated from his own siblings, Carter was determined to do something about it. He took his three foster sons to visit their sisters, but the pain of watching them leave each other again was too much for him to bear.
“We met up for visits, and all the kids were crying,” Carter told WLOX News. “They didn’t want to leave each other, and at that moment, I knew, ok, I have to adopt all five.”
“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.’ ” said Robert Carter, local single foster dad. #fostercare #adoption #NationalAdoptionMonth https://t.co/VsEXGwuVmF
— Hamilton County, OH (@HamiltonCntyOH) October 29, 2020
On Friday, during National Adoption Month, Carter celebrated his new family in the most touching way possible – by making it official. Robert Carter went from a foster dad to a father of five in an instant, and he couldn’t be happier. Rather than growing up in foster care, the five siblings now get to grow up in a loving home together.
Carter has all the love in the world to give his five kids, but understandably, he’s now looking to give them a slightly bigger home as well. Carter is working tirelessly to save for a new house, and a GoFundMe is now in place to help him reach his goal.
“I’m relieved because I tried to go through the process before and it didn’t work out,” Carter said, “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.”