My first encounter with adoption was when Korie and Willie adopted Will. Jep and I were married for a little over two months when they brought Will home. I got the privilege of keeping him when they were out of town and I worked at our church’s daycare to take care of him. I loved having little Will-man around. He still holds a special place in my heart, and him joining our family definitely played a huge role in adoption entering my heart.
I always knew I wanted to be a mama. One of the biggest miracles I’ve gotten to experience is seeing life coming into this world. Jep and I were blessed to have four healthy littles ourselves, all by the time I turned 28. As I was considering adoption and talking to Jep about it, something amazing happened. Jep wasn’t really at a place where he thought it made sense, mainly because we had been blessed with four amazing kids and that’s a lot of responsibility already. But then Jep got an opportunity to go to the Dominican Republic on a mission trip to see and work in an orphanage our church had established. We didn’t get to talk very much, since international calls are expensive and we didn’t want to rack up a crazy phone bill. When Jep got home, he was truly a changed person. I could tell his heart and soul had been outstandingly touched by his experience there.
The Robertson men are somewhat known for being tough and not very emotional, although Jep wears his emotions a little more on his sleeve than the rest of the men (probably got that from his Mom). He opened up to me in tears about how they gave the kids toys and candy, which the orphaned children loved, but it’s what happened next that really got to him. When they handed out plain white underwear and white t-shirts, the children became overwhelmed, crying and hugging all the folks that were there. These orphans had never received any new clothes in their whole life and had to share every piece of clothing. They were so grateful! Jep said he wanted to take the whole orphanage home and give them everything they would ever need. He apologized for not considering adoption until now and that he knew now that it’s not about us, but about these children.
I’m not going to sugarcoat it – the adoption process is hard and expensive. We had several near misses, and several let downs. Families or relatives of the children would change their minds. When our baby Augustus (Gus) was born, everything fell perfectly into place, all thanks to God. We got to go see him in the hospital, and Jep said, “This is our boy!” We took him home four days after he was born and have loved every single moment with him. The crazy thing about adoption is that we wanted to help mold and love this boy and teach him every good thing our parents taught us. But, in the end, he has and is still teaching us every day about love and what life is truly all about. We want to love God, and love people, and adoption is the perfect way to put that into practice.