Buffalo, New York (CBS NEWS)— When 48-year-old Lamont Thomas became an empty-nester, it was the end of a parenting legend. Back in 2001, this divorced dad of two took on a foster kid named Michael Perez.
“He was a good young man and I just hated to see him in the system,” Lamont said.
He eventually adopted Michael, who now works as a nurse.
“I don’t believe that I would be the person that I am today without the morals that he instilled in me, the extended family that I have now,” Michael said.
Turns out, Michael was just the beginning. Over the next 15 years, Lamont fostered more than 30 kids in Buffalo, New York, and adopted five of them. He did this all on his own and with all of his heart.
“Every child that I have had, it was my goal to make a difference in their lives,” Lamont said, who eventually retired from fostering.
“It really was a shocker. I didn’t expect for him to restart and to do it all over again. It’s just amazing,” Michael said.
Today Lamont is back in the game, in a big way. Not long ago, he took on five siblings, all under the age of 6. Lamont, who works as a caterer, said he did have other plans for these years. But those plans have now been shattered with mayhem.
Lamont decided to foster all five — Zendaya, Jamel, Nakia, Major and Macaela — after he found out they were going to be split-up. To guarantee they stay a family, last month he adopted them.
“I had to help them. They deserved to be raised together,” Lamont said.
Fortunately, he has a great support system through church and friends. He’s not opposed to adding a wife to the mix, should such a saint exist. But if not, he’s also fine going it alone, for as long as it takes to make a difference.