Family Life

'What I'm made to do': single dad adopts four children with disabilities

When he started his adoption journey nearly 10 years ago, Benjamin Carter was the youngest single gay father to ever adopt in his area. 

The 31-year-old from west Yorkshire now has four adopted children, all with special needs, and is contemplating a fifth. 

In 2016, Carter won an award for Adopter Champion of the Year by the organisation First4Adoption. 

Each one of his children have special needs, 8-year-old Jack is autistic with OCD. Ruby, 5, has Pierre Robin syndrome, a visual impairment, scoliosis and limited use of her arms. Lily, Ruby’s 3-year-old biological half sister, is deaf and uses British Sign Language (BSL) to communicate. Newly adopted 2-year-old Joseph has Down syndrome and uses a colostomy bag.

Carter understands the unique needs for each child, but doesn't define them. 

"All my children have the, 'I have a disability. So what?' attitude," he tells Gay With Dads

The family live on farm with farm they share with resident rabbits, chickens, geese, ducks and peacocks. Carter says that raising the children is just what he's meant to do. 

"Our life is so complete. They're complete with me and I'm complete with them, really," he says. "I've been very lucky. I may get it when they become teenagers. Obviously they will have their own demons when they get older with their adoption."

All the children have learned British Sign Language in order to be able to communicate with Lily. Even her sister Ruby, who has limited use of her arms, has earned to communicate with her. 

"They do it through facial gestures and body language. It's quite fascinating to see, really, when they're together," Carter says. 

Ruby has even learned to do thing for herself without her arms. 

"She's learned to adapt, so she'll use her legs or she'll use her mouth or chin to do it," Carter explains. 

The children all share a dream of going to Disneyland one day. 

“They want to do all the white knuckle rides when they’re older — and I can see them doing it, especially my son."

When he's not taking care fo the children Carter also works helping would-be parents get started on their adoption journeys. He encourages parents to "think outside the box" and adopt older children or children with special needs. 

“I do so many talks in my local [community] where I am — and when I first start my meeting with these prospective adopters, I ask them, ‘What are you looking for in adoption?’” he says. “Every adopter starts in their heads with what I call the Angelina Jolie or Madonna adoption — where everything is perfect.”

While it was a long journey, for Carter now his little family is perfect. 

Search results for
View all