Single 'superdad' adopts fifth disabled child and urges other single people to follow his lead
34-year-old Ben Carpenter recently adopted his fifth disabled child, and for National Adoption Week, is encouraging other prospective parents to do the same
Raising just one child can be a challenging experience for most parents, so one can reasonably imagine that it gets exponentially harder with each additional child. But 34-year-old Ben Carpenter, who happens to be a single father to five children, each of whom suffers from some form of disability, wouldn't trade the experience for anything else in the world.
According to the Mirror, Carpenter recently adopted his fifth child, Noah, and the dad says watching his kids achieve the seemingly impossible makes it all worthwhile. "I love it," he was quoted saying. "People say it's hard work but I love every bit of what I do. They're amazing kids. They don't ever let their disabilities hold them back, they just get on with life."
Carpenter, who some believe is the youngest gay adopter in the world, adopted his first and eldest Jack, when he was just 21 years old himself. The now-11-year-old boy suffers from autism linked to obsessive-compulsive disorder but has flourished under Carpenter's nurturing care.
Endearingly called the 'Super Dad', Carpenter then adopted seven-year-old Ruby, as well as her six-year-old half-sister Lily. Ruby suffers from Pierre Robin Syndrome, a congenital condition of facial abnormalities, scoliosis, blindness, and has limited use of her arms as a result of missing bones. Lily, on the other hand, is deaf.
He then went on to adopt three-year-old Joseph, who has Down Syndrome and has to use a colostomy bag, But he would not stop there and decided there was more he could give. After seeing Noah in an adoption magazine, the 34-year-old made up his mind to give the baby boy a home, as well as four loving siblings. The 15-month-old boy suffers from a rare syndrome and has severe birth defects affecting his arms and legs but despite the disabilities, Carpenter said he "instantly fell in love".
Carpenter had previously worked with adults and children with special needs but decided he wanted to become a father. Because children with disabilities or learning difficulties are the hardest to place for adoption, he knew it would be a viable option for him.
However, despite having a lending hand in the form of his 65-year-old mother Rita, he confessed that things are not always rosy. "It has its moments, I can’t sugarcoat that, we have some really trying times," he said. "I have five children all with really complex needs, there is a lot of appointments up and down the country which can be quite draining."
The 34-year-old said that it's often the little things that get overlooked when it comes to the joys of being a father. "I love everything about being a father," he revealed. "Just the simplest things you take for granted. When your children are playing in the garden and they look up at you and smile."
He continued, "I remember the first time my son fell over and I felt this pain and love rushing over me. My child was hurt and I felt his pain. It isn’t the fact that he is adopted, or has additional needs, I am his parent and you put everything else to one side."
During National Adoption Week, which is currently underway and takes place between October 15 and 21, Carpenter implores prospective parents to consider children with disabilities as well. "I accept it is not for everyone but I just urge people to think outside the box. There are children being overlooked," he said. "In today’s society is a child with learning difficulties a big deal? You could have a biological child with learning difficulties. You could make a difference to these children's lives and they could bring so much love to yours," he added.
The 33-year-old from Huddersfield has been called an 'adopter extraordinaire' and 'something of a unique individual' by the British Citizenship Awards (BCA). He was given the Medal of Honour inscribed with the words 'For the Good of the Country' earlier this year. The award is the latest to be picked up by Ben. Earlier this year he won the Achievement Award at the Examiner’s Community Awards. He also previously was named Britain’s Adopter Champion of the Year.
A spokesman for the BCA had said: "When he started his adoption journey 12 years ago, Benjamin was the youngest gay adopter in the UK. Now the single dad has five children."
When he’s not looking after the children, Ben works to educate other prospective adopters and sits on a local adoption panel. "Adoption is the most rewarding, satisfying and challenging thing I have done."