Single Father In UK Adopts 5 Children With Special Needs

"Parenting is so much more than blood," said 35-year-old Ben Carpenter.

June 21, 2019 - 12:34 pm
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PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - A man from the United Kingdom became a single father when he decided to adopt five children with special needs.

35-year-old Ben Carpenter works for social services as an adoption panel member, where he helps approve potential adopters and helps place children who are looking for their “forever families.”

He told KDKA Radio’s Marty Griffin and Wendy Bell on Thursday afternoon that he adopted his first child, Jack, when he was only 21 years old. “It took three years for that process, making me 23 when the official adoption went through. One led into five.”

Since then, Carpenter has since adopted four more children - Ruby, age 8, Lily, age 6, Joseph, age 3, and Noah, age 1 - who all have disabilities. “Jack has autism and he also has OCD. His life has to be in a constant routine. Ruby has an array of different disabilities; she has scoliosis of the spine, she’s registered has blind,” Carpenter told Marty and Wendy. “Lily is profoundly deaf and uses British Sign Language. Joseph has Down Syndrome and Noah has a very rare syndrome called Cornelia de Lange syndrome.”

Carpenter said that knew adoption was the right choice for him because he never wanted a relationship or biological children of his own. “Being a parent is much more than being biologically linked to a child. Parenting is so much more than blood,” Carpenter said. “It was about giving back and putting my expertise to benefit the children’s lives, which I did. All medical professionals are just dumbfounded by how well the children have thrived in my care.”

The key to helping all of his children, Carpenter explained, is patience. “I have a structure to our household,” Carpenter said. “I look at our life as like a triangle; if anything in that triangle is a bit loose or wobbly, the whole thing crumbles. So we keep structure and routine.”

Despite the love he has for his children, Carpenter told Marty and Wendy that he some people still make derogatory comments towards him. “Yes, I am single. Yes, I am gay. Yes, I’ve got five children. Yes, they all have disabilities. It’s 2019 for goodness sakes. There’s no such thing as a stereotypical family anymore.”

“I rise above all of the comments,” Carpenter said.  “At the end of the day, I am me. I love my children. My children love me and we live a wonderful life.”

Carpenter is currently trying to raise money to build a sensory room in his house for his children. “A sensory room is a place where the children will experience light therapy and stimulation from vibration,” Carpenter told Marty and Wendy. “ All of the things that we take for granted those children have to focus on to obtain daily experiences.”

More information on Carpenter’s project can be found here.

Ashley Funyak contributed to this article.

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