While it’s true that none of us gets to choose our relatives when we’re born, we can have a say in who we choose to call family. That’s just what foster dad Robert Carter did when he decided to adopt an entire brood of five siblings.
29-year-old Carter, who’d spent years in the Ohio foster care system himself, knew only too well what it was like to lose touch with loved ones. He entered the system at age 12. It wasn’t until years later that he was finally reunited with his younger sister and brother.
The children Carter adopted, whose names are Marionna, Makayla, Robert, Giovanni, and Kiontae, were living in three separate foster homes when he was awarded custody.
“Mr. Carter was the only foster parent willing and able to adopt all of the children,” caseworker Stacey Barton told WCVB-5 TV. “His childhood background has made him aware of the importance of keeping siblings together.”
Prior to the adoption, Carter was already fostering the three brothers. When he arranged for the girls and their foster moms to meet up so the children wouldn’t lose touch with one another and realized how distressed they all were at the end of the visit, he knew there was only one course of action.
The responsibility was a lot for the single dad to take on by himself, but Carter was determined to keep these kids together. It’s not always easy. You can choose your family, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to feel like a family overnight.
Right now, Carter is concentrating on earning his children’s trust and trusting that in time, love will come along, too.
“[I’m] 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.’”
And isn’t that what being a real family is all about?