It’s been over a year since TODAY first met Monica and Robert Kinder, a couple who tackled an urgent part of the opioid crisis in West Virginia by fostering more than 20 children over the past seven years.
When we last spoke to them, they’d already adopted five daughters. And since then, family life has gotten even better — and bigger!
The Kinders now have a new roof on their house, with work paid for by Lowes and donations from TODAY viewers who wanted to contribute after first learning the family’s story. The couple also bought a transit van big enough to carry the whole family, which now includes two sons.
In April, Monica and Robert adopted 3-year-old James and in June 2-year-old Nolan, both of whom were born with drugs in their systems. Prior to the adoptions, the couple had been fostering the boys, and TODAY was by Nolan's side for his big day.
“I want to thank Mr. and Mrs. Kinder for being parents who make my job a little bit easier,” the judge said during the video hearing.
After that, Robert told NBC News correspondent Stephanie Gosk, “They’re my boys now.” When she asked what his hopes for them were, he said, “Be the best they can be and honest — be honest.”
Monica explained that it takes “a lot of devotion” to raise these kids. “You have to be willing to work at this, just like a job.”
And it also takes help to raise the toddlers — and the boys’ five big sisters are happy to do their part. After all, Mom and Dad have done so much for them.
Kinder daughters Serenity and Cayleigh call their parents “role models.”
“We can’t really repay them until we’re older,” Cayleigh said. “So when I can repay them, I’m going to repay them with everything I have.”
The teen wept as she explained the importance of what Robert and Monica have done.
“It makes me understand that there is good people in the world that want to do good things for people ... not just sit around and do nothing,” she said. “I didn't think I was going to get adopted — seriously I didn't. Because I was 7 at the time, and I didn't understand a lot of stuff. But when anybody mentions adoption, it makes me happy because I know that they're wanting to help people out, like me.”
Still crying, she added, “It's just a miracle, I think, when anybody adopts a kid.”