One of the greatest tragedies that befall children in the foster care system is sibling separation. In many cases, brothers and sisters go to separate homes, and sometimes don’t see each other for years. One man couldn’t stand that thought, so the single dad adopted five siblings.
The Single Dad Who Adopted Five Siblings
In 2019, Robert Carter began fostering three brothers: Robert Jr., Giovanni, and Kiontae. It wasn’t long before he learned that the boys had two sisters as well- Marionna and Makayla. The girls were also living in the foster system, but were separate from the boys. The siblings had not seen each other in six months.
Carter would bring the kids together for visits, where the kids would often cry.
“They didn’t want to leave each other, and at that moment, I knew, ok, I have to adopt all five,” he said .
Carter also grew up in foster care, so he knew all too well what the kids were going through. He had nine siblings, and he didn’t see his youngest brother from the time he was two until he was sixteen.
“For me going through that, I knew how important it is for them to see each other and be around each other. When I had my boys before I got the girls, that’s all they talked about was their sisters.” 
Robert Carter adopted 5 children today. He spent some time in foster care himself and wanted to make sure all these siblings stayed together.Posted by Hamilton County JFS Adoption & Foster Care Recruitment on Friday, October 30, 2020
Carter got a bigger home to accommodate the larger family, and on October 30, 2020, the family of four became a family of six. Stacey Martin was the case manager for the adoption. This was the first time she had seen a single dad adopt five siblings, but the moment she saw the family together she knew it was right.
“I’ve had married couples who have adopted six or seven, so this was a unique experience for me. Children need families, and it’s an opportunity for Mr. Carter to show the community that he can do it and others can too.” 
Carter, for his part, is just happy that the process is over. Now, he and the kids can just focus on being a family.
Siblings in Foster Care
For children in the foster care system, siblings can provide a sense of comfort. They can serve as a protective factor for each other’s mental health, help them adjust to their new home, and even help improve each other’s performance in school.
Placing children in the same foster home has also shown to result in higher rates of reunification, adoption, and guardianship.
Sadly, for a variety of reasons, siblings are not always placed in the same foster care home. Separation and infrequent visiting can cause sibling relationships to wither, and in some cases cause permanent estrangement.
Reasons why siblings might not be placed in the same home include:
- Considerations arising from the trauma the children have experienced.
- There are multiple siblings
- The siblings have different needs
- The siblings don’t enter foster care at the same time
- There is a lack of foster homes that can accommodate a sibling group .
Placing siblings together is always a top priority for caseworkers, however, it is just not always possible. If they cannot place siblings in the same home, they will often attempt to place them with separate foster parents who are relatives or friends to help maintain a better connection. They may also try to put the siblings in the same neighborhood or school district, or at the very least ensure regular visits so the kids can maintain a relationship.
Sibling groups provide a unique challenge to the foster care system, especially those that are more numerous. Robert Jr., Giovanni, Kiontae, Marionna and Makayla are incredibly lucky that their dad adopted five siblings. Now, they won’t miss out on the special sibling bond that could have been taken away from them.