(NEW YORK) — A single father who has taken in dozens of foster children over 20 years is now a proud parent of 12 after adopting five siblings.
Lamont Thomas of Buffalo, New York, adopted siblings Zendaya, 5, Jamel, 4, Nakia, 3, Major, 2 and Michaela, 1, inside Judge Lisa Rodwin’s courtroom on Oct. 17.
“I was fighting to keep back the tears,” Thomas told Good Morning America. “Every day I think about it, my eyes swell up. All that we endured to make this happen, it was something.”
Thomas has fostered more than 30 children since 2000. He’s now dad to 10 adopted kids and two biological kids.
“In the beginning, I was helping out some friends. They had lost their child to the system,” Thomas said. “I went on and got certified and became a foster parent. I haven’t stopped since.”
In 2007, Lamont Thomas adopted twins Germayne and Tremayne and another child, Jamie. Shortly after, he adopted another child, German.
After those four adoptions, he adopted the first child he fostered, Michael.
Those five adopted children joined Thomas’ biological son, Anthony, and daughter, LaMonica, to make one big family.
“He was my third foster home and it ended up being my forever home,” Michael Thomas, 27, told GMA. “He [knew] my biological parents.”
“Lamont never turned [a child] away,” he added. “They either aged out or went back home to their own families.”
Years after adopting Michael, Lamont Thomas thought he was done taking care of children. His older children had moved out, some even starting families of their own.
But in the case of the five siblings Zendaya, Jamel, Nakia, Major, and Michaela, Thomas decided to “come out of retirement.”
He said he once fostered the siblings’ father, which is how he learned the kids needed a home. So he got re-certified and applied to foster with intent to adopt.
“The kids ended up being taken into care — I believe it was due to neglect,” Lamont said. “They had them in four different homes, four different cities. They were separated for over a year-and-a-half.”
Thomas fostered the brothers and sisters for two years and, last week, adopted them together.
“They bring new energy to me. They’re lovable kids, very affectionate,” Lamont said.” “They deserve to be raised as siblings, and that was my fight.”
LaMonica Thomas said she enjoyed growing up in her growing home and loves her five newest siblings.
“It’s amazing he’s taking on all of them,” LaMonica, 27, told GMA. “He does anything for everybody. He’s a really a great man,”
Michael Thomas said caring for children is his father’s “God-given call.”
“We’re all grown now, I can’t believe he’s started all over again,” he laughed. “Lamont has been a life-saver to me. I wouldn’t be the person that I am today, had Lamont not ventured in my life.”
Lamont Thomas said there’s a true need for foster parents in the world.
“I wanted to make a difference by being a difference, and I love what I do,” he added.
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