Robert Carter knew what it was like to be separated from your siblings. He was placed in foster care when he was 12 years old and separated from his eight siblings. So when the 29-year-old Ohio based man saw five siblings who'd been torn apart by the system, he decided he had to bring them back together.
Carter reunited siblings Marionna, Makayla, Robert, Giovanni, and Kiontae on National Adoption Day. He had been fostering the three boys since 2018 and brought them together with their sisters thanks to the girls' foster moms. Then, he adopted all five children, unwilling to keep them apart from each other any longer.
Adoption worker Stacey Barton said in a press release from Hamilton County Jobs and Family Services, "When permanent custody was awarded to JFS, the five siblings were already placed in three different foster homes. 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."
Carter says that when all five siblings came together for that reunion, everyone was in tears, the kids and foster parents alike. "I understand how they feel," he said. "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.'"
The adoption was made official on National Adoption Day, according to WLWT5. From this point forward, these five kids have a parent forever. "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.'
"Like Marionna. She 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."
He took in the five siblings in January and the adoption finally became official on October 30. Since he's had five kids in the house, Carter says things have become "a lot louder than I'm used to." He told People, "I'd rather have that noise and know they're together than to not have it and have peace and quiet and know they're separated. It's worth it."
The more time he's spent with them, the more their unique personalities have slowly started to shine. "They give me purpose," Carter said. "And just knowing I have my own family now for the rest of my life, and I get to see them grow up and prosper and see how far they go... it's immeasurable."
Carter's heartwarming story spread like wildfire, and eventually, a GoFundMe was set up to raise money to help Carter give these five kids the best lives possible. The page is called "New Home for the Carters" and says, "After adopting five beautiful children on 10/20/2020, the Carter family is now looking to buy a new forever home where the kids can grow into our next future leaders."
The goal was set at $250,000, and so far, more than $130,000 has been raised for this new family. The GoFundMe hasn't even been posted for two weeks.
Donations are pouring in from friends and strangers alike. "Mr. Carter is an amazing man with a big heart!" reads one donation note. "I pray you and your beautiful family find the perfect house to make many wonderful memories!" If you'd like to donate to the new, expanded Carter family's house fund, click this link.