There wasn’t a dry eye in Judge Joseph K. Williams’ Pittsburgh courtroom on May 23. After spending five years in foster care, six brothers and sisters had finally found their forever home with Steve and Rob Anderson-McLean.
“The kids felt this huge sense of relief,” Steve, 48, told TODAY Parents. “They had been let down by adults so many times in their life, and were nervous it wasn’t going to happen.”
Steve and Rob, who have been together for nearly two decades, first learned about Carlos, 14, Guadalupe, 13, Maria, 12, Selena, 10, Nasa, 9, and Max, 7, in 2018. “We saw their picture and fell in love,” Rob, 47, told TODAY Parents. “So many sibling groups are broken up because people just want to adopt the younger children. Steve and I knew these guys needed to be together.” The state agreed.
In July 2018, the kids came to live with Steve and Rob. (The couple are also parents of Steve’s sons Parker, 25, and Noah, 21, from a previous marriage.) “After the first week they were asking if they could stay forever,” Steve told TODAY Parents. “We took them to the park and to the zoo. We played in the yard. That was all new to them. Having fun was new to them."
Though Steve and Rob were initially worried about Carlos’ adjustment to life with same-sex parents, their concerns quickly melted away. “We thought with Carlos being a teen, he might have a hard time, Steve said. “But it has not bothered him one bit.”
Indeed, all six are just happy to have two loving dads that take them to the trampoline park on Friday nights. Gushed Rob, “We feel so lucky.”
Now that the adoption is finalized, the kids can’t pass a pen without proudly writing their new last names. Selena gets off the school bus with pictures she’s drawn of her family. “The other night, Max, our 7-year-old, looks at me and goes, ‘I’m adopted,’” Steve told TODAY Parents. “I nodded and he said, ‘You can’t get unadopted right?’ And I had to reassure him that he will always be our son.”
Steve and Rob are constantly reassuring the children that they aren’t going anywhere. The message seems to be sinking in. As Carlos told Steve recently: “I’m not a foster kid anymore. I don’t have to carry that title around. I finally have a real family.”