Many people have been reminded of the true meaning of the word “family” through the story of a kindhearted, single Black father from New York.
Despite a divorce that ended with him becoming an empty-nester, Lamont Thomas sorrowfully imagined that his journey of raising children was over.
He however began to realize that he still had plenty of love left to give. So he adopted Michael Perez in 2001.
“I don’t believe that I would be the person that I am today without the morals that he instilled in me, and the extended family that I have now,” Perez shared.
Perez’s adoptive father shared, “He was a good young man, and I just hated to see him in the system.” And Adopting Perez was just the beginning, as it turns out.
More than 30 children would be fostered by Thomas over the next 15 years.
“Every child that I have had, it was my goal to make a difference in their lives,” Thomas explained. “I’m proud of them.”
His kind-heartedness even extended to adopting five siblings, all under the age of six.
“It really was a shocker,” said Perez. “I didn’t expect for him to restart and to do it all over again.
When Thomas learned that the siblings were going to be permanently separated, he decided to foster all five of them, but he ultimately decided that the best way to preserve their family unit was to make them a part of his.
“I had to help them,” he said. “They deserved to be raised together.”
There was an unexpected side effect of Thomas’s story when it first became a national positive spotlight.
“Women calling from all over the place,” he said. “One of them told me, ‘I think you’re my husband.’ I was about to change my number!”
Nevertheless, he made it clear to his newly found admirers that the priority of his life is, and will always be, his children.