A New York man who has fostered 30 children just adopted five siblings under the age of five, making him a parent to 12.
Lamont Thomas officially adopted siblings Zendaya, 5, Jamel, 4, Nakia, 3, Major, 2, and one-year-old Michaela on Oct. 17 with the help of Buffalo, N.Y., family court judge Lisa Rodwin.
In video footage of the special moment, Rodwin can be heard announcing their adoption has been approved. The kids, beaming, look around the room as loved ones clap in celebration.
“I fought for close to two and a half years just to be able to get them together, and we won, we got it,” Thomas told broadcast station WGRZ. “I wanted to be the difference, make a difference by being a difference for these youth.”
The New York resident told Good Morning America he was “fighting to keep back the tears” that day.
“Every day I think about it, my eyes swell up,” he said. “All that we endured to make this happen, it was something.”
He’s now officially a dad to 10 adopted and two biological children.
Though Thomas has fostered more than 30 children in the past two decades, it wasn’t always his intention to be a permanent foster father.
He told GMA that his intention was to help out some friends in need.
“In the beginning, I was helping out some friends,” he said. “They had lost their child to the system. I went on and got certified and became a foster parent. I haven’t stopped since.”
Thomas adopted twins Germayne and Tremayne, as well as another child, Jamie, in 2007. Not long after, he adopted another child, German.
He then went on to adopt his first-ever foster child, Michael.
All five of the adopted children are joined by Thomas’ biological son and daughter, Anthony and LaMonica.
Michael added that his dad never turned any child away, saying: “They either aged out or went back home to their own families.”
Eventually, Thomas’ first adopted children grew up and moved on to start families of their own. Before adopting the five siblings, Thomas thought his days of fostering were over.
According to Good Morning America, the five siblings are children of a man Thomas once fostered. They were scattered across the country, separated for over a year and a half, he told GMA.
“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.”
Thomas fostered the children for two years before he was able to legally call them his own last week.
“They bring new energy to me. They’re lovable kids, very affectionate,” he said. “They deserve to be raised as siblings, and that was my fight.”