Watch: Ohio Gay Man Adopts 5 Siblings to Keep Them Together

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Friday November 6, 2020

Watch: Ohio Gay Man Adopts 5 Siblings to Keep Them Together
  (Source:Screen shot/Mark Lyons/People magazine)

In a heartstring-tugging turn, a gay man in Ohio adopted five siblings - three boys and two girls - so they could stay together in a permanent home and not be wrenched apart the way he and his own siblings when he was a young boy in foster care, People magazine reports.

Robert Carter, 29, knew first-hand the trauma of having his family broken up from having been placed into foster care at age 12 without any of his own eight siblings in the same home with him, People recounted. Determined not to let that happen to the three boys he was fostering, Carter took in their two sisters as well - and then legally adopted all five children, who had been scattered across three different foster homes until he brought them all back together.

The siblings range in age from 10 to four years of age.

Good Morning America picked up the story, reporting that Carter is a "cosmetologist and wig shop owner" who lives in Cincinnati. His urge to reunite scattered family members began with his own siblings, two of whom he became legally responsible for after being emancipated and leaving the foster care system.

Carter became certified as a foster parent and took in the three boys at the end of 2018.

Carter decided to find the girls and try to bring them back together with their brothers when he realized that the boys spoke often about their sisters, though never about their parents.

"Once I did find out they had sisters, that's when I started to advocate to set up visitations," he told Good Morning America.

Eventually, Carter reintegrated the children's family, welcoming the girls into the home he'd made for their brothers at the beginning of this year.

"I can't even begin to try to put it into words what it means," Carter told People magazine. "Just the fact that they're together, the fact that they have something that will help them remember their past... it's beautiful to watch them grow up together and make memories together."

Carter said that being separated from his family left him struggling with depression for years. He recalled how, being one of the older of the nine children in his family, he had taken a leadership role in trying to care and provide for his brothers and sisters.

"I was the parent figure," he said. "I was the one trying to feed my siblings and going out trying to find food to eat.

"When we got into foster care," Carter added, "I didn't know where they were and if they were taken care of. That's what set off my depression."

Carter went on to say that depression is now gone - even as his home has now become "a lot louder" than it used to be.

"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," he told People magazine.

He also had a message for others thinking about fostering and adopting children in need of a stable, supportive home: "As long as you have the means and love to give to kids, then anybody can do it," he told Good Morning America.

Watch the People magazine video clip at this link.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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