The kids had been neglected and subject to abuse and spent years in foster care before being adopted.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on February 16, 2022
A gay couple from Pennsylvania adopted six siblings who remained in foster care for 1,640 days. Steve Anderson-McLean and Rob Anderson-McLean adopted all of the kids to prevent them from being split up. The couple adopted Carlos, 14, Guadalupe, 13, Maria, 12, Selena, 10, Nasa, 9, and Max, 7, on May 23, 2019. Steve Anderson-McLean recalled the moment of adoption in an emotional interview with Good Morning America. "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," said Anderson-McLean. "We never imagined we'd be lucky enough or blessed enough to have six."
Steve and Rob Anderson-McLean have been together for over 18 years. The couple initially held a commitment ceremony in 2006 before getting married in Maryland in 2013. The couple raised two kids—Parker, 25 and Noah, 21, from a previous marriage. After the children grew up, they wanted to adopt kids as they weren't done parenting. After doing preliminary research in adoption, Steve Anderson-McLean found that siblings were often split which can be incredibly damaging to them. "Such a staggering amount of sibling groups are broken up and it broke our hearts," said Steve Anderson-McLean.
As they searched for kids to adopt, they stumbled upon six siblings listed on a website. Steve realized the kids were neglected and had been subject to abuse and had been in the foster care system for nearly five years. Steve knew he could transform their lives with love but he didn't expect them to transform his and Rob's life for the better. "We instantly fell in love," said Steve Anderson-McLean. "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," said Rob Anderson-McLean.
Steve and Rob Anderson-McLean matched with the kids in June 2018 and they moved in to live with them a month later. The connection was instant. “After the first week they were asking if they could stay forever,” recalled Steve, reported TODAY. The couple took them to the park and the zoo. “That was all new to them. Having fun was new to them,” said Steve. They are now a happy family of eight people. Steve said living in their home has come as a huge relief to them. “They had been let down by adults so many times in their life, and were nervous it wasn’t going to happen,” he said.
One moving moment was when their 7-year-old son Max looked at Steve and went, "I’m adopted.” Steve knew where Max was coming from having moved from foster home to foster home. "You can’t get unadopted right?" he asked Steve. "I had to reassure him that he will always be our son,” Stever told him. They've now lived with the couple for more than a year but it feels like they've been home for years say the couple. "It feels as if our emotional bonds were years in the making," said Rob Anderson-McLean. "There are no rules as to what can constitute a family and the love that we share."