Selfless single man adopts his SIXTH child with special needs
[June 18, 2021: Joe Duggan]
Ben Carpenter, 37, from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, adopted his first child at the age of 21.
He became the youngest gay man to adopt when he took on his first child and has since adopted another five children with special needs after setting out on a mission to help the most vulnerable kids.
In April last year, Ben brought home his sixth adopted child, Louis, aged two, after he had taken some time out to grieve following the tragic death of his fifth child, Teddy.
Jack, now 14 years old, has autism and was Ben's first child.
He also has Ruby who has complex needs, age 11, Lilly who is profoundly deaf, age nine, and Joseph, age six, who has Down's Syndrome.
Ben's fifth adoptive child was Teddy, who sadly passed away in November 2019.
Teddy had a rare genetic disorder called Cornelia de Lange syndrome and passed away from sepsis and not as a result of his complex needs.
The doting dad then took a break from adoption to allow himself the time to grieve the devastating death of his son before adopting for the sixth time.
In April 2020, Ben brought home his sixth and most recent adopted child, Louis, now two years old, who has cerebral palsy and is blind.
Ben, who worked in the care sector before setting out on his adoption journey, says that he always knew he wanted to have a family but not necessarily be a biological dad.
He added: "I've always known what I wanted. I never wanted to become a biological dad because being a parent is so much more than that.
"I wanted to help kids that were the most vulnerable and the ones that were most in need of a loving and caring home.
"I had a lot to prove at such a young age. I needed to show that I was mature enough and could offer these kids what they needed.
"The good thing about adoption that you can't do in pregnancy is picking the gender of the child.
"So to begin with I chose a boy and then a girl because I thought that would be the perfect set up and luckily got accepted and matching with my son and daughter, Jack and Ruby.
"I was then asked if I would take my biological daughter's sister which I agreed to do.
"So I had two girls and one boy and I thought I should even it out again and adopt another son.
"So I applied for a boy with Down Syndrome and within three days I was matched to a baby boy who had just been born with the condition."
A few years later, Ben had been reading a magazine article which is how he came across the next boy that would join his family.
He says that he read about a severely disabled boy, Teddy, who was in desperate need of a family and got in touch because he thought he could help.
Ben added: "There were lots of conversations and visits and it was agreed that we would be a lovely match and the adoption was approved.
"I then had my five kids and I was so happy. They were all doing amazing.
"However in 2019, Teddy tragically passed away as a result of sepsis.
"I was devastated and I felt guilty for a while because I kept wondering if there was something I could have done to fix it.
"Before Teddy passed away, I had been contacted to see if I would consider another child. It was a little boy with severe brain issues.
"I had said yes, but when Teddy passed I needed to put the process on hold to allow myself to grieve.
"In early 2020 I realised that this little boy also needed me and I could be his last option so I called the social worked and started the process again.
"In April 2020, Louis came home to be with us and has gone from strength to strength ever since."
Ben says that all of his children have amazing sibling relationships and that his house is full of love and joy which has allowed them to flourish.
He added: "I had always dreamed about having a big family and I am so happy that my kids are a part of it and that they have so many siblings.
"I often sit and imagine them all at each other's weddings.
"They are all so supportive of each other's needs and I am so proud that I have created a happy, loving and stable environment for them to grow up in.
"As much as I have changed their life, they have also changed mine.
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