Parenthood
Single dad adopts and devotes his life to special-needs children that no other families wanted
"I knew I’d be able to care for them properly."
D.G. Sciortino
08.12.22

What did single West Yorkshire, UK dad Ben Carpenter do after adopting four disabled children?

He adopted a fifth.

At age 35, Carpenter was the father of Jack, 11; Ruby, 8; Lily, 6; and Joseph, 3. He then adopted 1-year-old Noah.

“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 Metro. “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 had experience working with disabled adults and children.

So, he thought it only natural that he adopt a special needs child.

“I knew I’d be able to care for them properly,” Carpenter said. “I told them who I was and where I worked and they were really positive and quite enthusiastic about me adopting a child.”

Carpenter is also an adoption advocate and has won awards for his advocacy.

“It’s a lovely feeling to be honest. Firstly, the child is no longer a ‘looked after’ child – they are officially yours,” Carpenter told Yorkshire 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.”

Noah, the latest edition to Carpenter’s family, was put up for adoption after his parents weren’t able to care for him due to his rare genetic disorder called Cornelia de Lange syndrome.

The condition involves intellectual disabilities, growth delays, heart and limb defects, and other issues that require complex care.

Noah may never be able to walk, talk, or eat on his own, but Carpenter says he enjoys caring for his son.

“He very rarely cries and is the most laid-back person with a wonderful personality. He has this presence; you just know he is in the room,” Carpenter said. “When he sees you he gives you a big beaming smile.”

He says his other children have already welcomed their new brother into the family and even try to help care for him.

His other children have conditions that range from autism to Pierre Robin syndrome.

Jack is autistic, Ruby has Pierro Robin syndrome and limited use of her arms, Lily is deaf, and Joseph has Down Syndrome.

“Nine years on, I have five children and I wouldn’t change a thing,” Carpenter said.

Carpenter says he has never felt the need to have biological children, and while his children don’t share his blood they share a lot of his same mannerisms. He also says he’s happy being single and raising his kids on his own.

If he were to be in a relationship, his children would always come first. He doesn’t have any current plans to adopt any more children but isn’t ruling it out.

“I’m one of these people who never says never. If in the future a child really needed me and my help, I’m sure I would end up adopting them. I definitely see myself fostering more children though, I just love being a dad.’

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By D.G. Sciortino
hi@sbly.com
D.G. is a contributing writer in Shareably. She's based in Connecticut and can be reached at hi@shareably.net.
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