Ben Carpenter, from the United Kingdom, became a single father after choosing adoption as a gateway into parenthood. As of Father’s Day in 2019, he became a father of five when 1-year-old Noah joined his four other children: Jack, 12, Ruby, 9, Lily, 7, and Joseph, 4. Yet, the young ones share something in common: they all have some form of disability.
Thirty-six-year-old Carpenter, from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, gained the confidence to take on the responsibility of being a dad from working with adults and children with special needs. He knew that he wanted to be a father at a very early age.
“Even at the age of 21 I knew I wanted to be a father as soon as possible—I may have only been young but I’ve always had an old head on my shoulders,” Carpenter told the Mirror. “I was convinced with me being single as well that they wouldn’t take me seriously—but I was over the moon when they did.”
Carpenter adds that he “wouldn’t change a thing.”
Over the last decade, he fulfilled his wish, and he became a father of five children, each with different special needs, such as autism or Pierre Robin syndrome, which causes developmental malformations. He has also become an advocate for adopting children who are disabled. The Carpenters’ latest addition, Noah, has a rare genetic disorder called Cornelia de Lange syndrome, which causes physical, cognitive, and medical challenges.
“I knew it was only right for me to adopt a disabled child because I knew I’d be able to care for them properly,” he recounted. “I originally saw an advertisement from local adoption social services looking for adoptive parents; and I thought, well, they’re not going to want me as a single guy. But I told them who I was and where I worked and they were really positive and quite enthusiastic about me adopting a child.”
In 2019, Carpenter was named “adopter extraordinaire” by the British Citizenship Awards.
Yet, despite the happy father’s already-sizable family, Carpenter says that he sees himself fostering even more disabled children in the time ahead. “If in the future a child really needed me and my help, I’m sure I would end up adopting them,” he shared.
“It’s a lovely feeling, to be honest. Firstly, the child is no longer a ‘looked after’ child—they are officially yours,” he told the Examiner Live. “They are no longer in the care system and they have your surname. They are part of the family unit. As a parent, that is a wonderful feeling. For the child—if they are aware—it is a feeling of security.”