On May 23, 2019, Steve and Rob Anderson-McLean’s family grew by six after adopting siblings who spent five years in foster care.
In June 2018, the Pennsylvania couple was matched with Carlos Guadalupe and Maria, Selena and Nasa, as well as Max, Guadalupe and Maria. The following month, they opened their home—and their hearts—to the kids, who were removed from their biological parents’ home due to abuse and neglect.
Steve and Rob have been together over 20 years. They first held a ceremony of engagement in 2006, before they tied the knot in Maryland in 2013.
The couple raised two kids—Parker and Noah—from Steve’s previous marriage. But after the children grew up and moved out, Steve and Rob realized they “weren’t done” with parenting. They started to explore the possibility of adopting.
They discovered that siblings are often separated in foster care.
“Such a staggering amount of sibling groups are broken up and it broke our hearts,” Steve told Good Morning America.
They had originally planned to adopt two to three children. But when they saw six siblings on an Ohio foster care site, they fell in love with them and decided to give them a better future.
The couple was also informed about their tragic past and that they had been in foster care for almost five years.
Steve and Rob knew they could give the kids a better life, and they also didn’t want them to be split up.
The children immediately connected with their parents when they moved into their home in August 2018.
“After the first week, they were asking if they could stay forever,” Steve said.
Many of their firsts were made possible by their dads. They brought them to places they’ve never been before, such as the park and the zoo. The yard was also used for family play.
Initial fears were raised by the dads that Carlos, the oldest of the siblings would have trouble accepting the idea of having same-sex parents. As it turned out, they had nothing else to worry about.
“We thought with Carlos being a teen, he might have a hard time,” Steve said. “But it has not bothered him one bit.”
Finally, after spending 1,640 days in foster custody, the siblings were adopted in May 2019. Steve remembered a poignant moment from the adoption hearing held in Judge Joseph K. Williams’ Pittsburgh courtroom.
“The judge asked, ‘Do you understand at this point forward they are your children? They are just as much as your biological children.’ Obviously, we knew that, but when I looked up and saw all those eyes, it was very emotional,” he said. “We never imagined we’d be lucky enough or blessed enough to have six.”
“I’d say our kids have brought a great kind of crazy to our lives. It’s heartwarming and so exciting to see how they connect with us,” added Rob.
The children were equally happy that they had finally found their forever families and are now living a better quality of life.
“The kids felt this huge sense of relief,” Steve said. “They had been let down by adults so many times in their life, and were nervous it wasn’t going to happen.”
After the adoption was finalized the kids were able to finally write their last names. Steve remembered one night when Max, then 7 years old, looked at him and said, “I’m adopted.”
“I nodded and he said, ‘You can’t get unadopted right?’ And I had to reassure him that he will always be our son,” he said.
The dads constantly reassure the kids that they aren’t going anywhere, and the message has been well-received. As Carlos told Steve one time: “I’m not a foster kid anymore. I don’t have to carry that title around. I finally have a real family.”
Anderson-McLeans has been a family for over three years, and they continue their success with the love and happiness that fills them household!
Check out the family’s interview with TODAY for more on their incredible adoption story.
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