MIDLAND—The Ewing family does everything together. They wash dishes, go grocery shopping and spend hours playing electronic games in the living room.
"We've got to do everything together. If we don't, we won't have time together," Robert Ewing said.
As a single adoptive father, Ewing said, each day is filled with nonstop activity.
Wake up at 5 a.m. Breakfast at 6. Baby goes to daycare. Dad goes to work. Big brother Dominic walks the little ones to the bus stop. Dad gets off work at 2 and picks up the baby while Dominic greets the other boys at the bus. They eat snacks. Do homework. Play, eat and go to bed.
"Then we do it all over again," he said. "My day is very full, but it's workable and doable."
He wouldn't have it any other way.
Adopting six boys was never in Ewing's plan. But after hosting some exchange students in his home more than 16 years ago, he knew parenting was something he could do.
"When I first started the (foster care and adoption) process, CPS told me, 'No way.' It would never be possible for me as a single male to adopt," he remembered. But Ewing was persistent. After sitting through hours of training, he endured a grueling home study process and opened his life to all kinds of scrutiny.
"They took their time but eventually said OK," he said.
He was handed multiple anonymous case files of children available for adoption and selected two African-American brothers—Dominic, age 10, who suffered a stroke at age 4; Damon, age 6, who had severe ADHD.
"I was drawn to them," he said. And in 1995, Domonic and Damon became his sons. One year later, he adopted his third son, Devon. The boys adjusted well in their new family, but Devon continued to struggle with emotional problems. Tragically, on Nov. 17, 2007, he was killed in a high school fight.
Ewing and the boys did their best to cope with the grief. He worked long hours while Dominic and Damon buried themselves in video games.
"After about a year, I looked up and thought, 'We've got to keep moving.' It wasn't healthy," Ewing said.
He knew his older boys would be gone soon, and he couldn't bear the thought of an empty home. He had been looking into adoption before Devon's death, so he decided to go forward with the process and called Buckner Children and Family Services. He became licensed as a foster parent but knew he wanted to adopt.
Within a few months, the opportunity was presented to him—three brothers needed a home. And the youngest boy had a special birth date—Nov. 17, the day Devon died. Ewing knew it was part of God's plan.
"God made him two years to the day before he knew what was going to happen to Devon. There's definitely a master plan," he said.
The brothers—Darrios, 7; Dante, 7; and Daeshawn, 5—lived in a foster home in Dallas, so Ewing took his older sons for a visit. Dominic and Damon were apprehensive at first.
"I didn't like it," Dominic said. "I thought we had enough kids. I thought they were going to be my replacement … but they grew on me. Then I started to like them more and more."
"We're like their shining knights," Damon added. "They're all spoiled, but there's something special about them."
On Sept. 30, 2010, the adoption was finalized and the Ewing family grew by three.
Ewing said he wants all of his sons to be "happy, educated, healthy and know they are loved." He cut back on his work hours so he could spend more time with his kids.
"I want to make a difference," Ewing said. "The career part, I had that. My heart is here."