Lead Stories

Yours. Mine. His.

"Yours. Mine. His." Continued...

The family

The Crawfords didn’t set out to care for orphans.

They met when Robin was in the 8th grade and Victor was a sophomore at Conway Christian School.

The first time she saw him, he was standing on a picnic table singing “Splish, splash (I was taking a bath),” a rendition of his routine from his job at Johnny Rockets.

His classmates loved it. Robin didn’t.

“Who is that weirdo?” she asked her friend.

The two shared few common interests.

She was a jock, the shooting guard star of the basketball team who wore No. 23 like her hero, Michael Jordan. He was the happy goofball, the guy who made strange voices or faked seizures to freak out his friends.

She was a technophobe and he liked gadgets. She listened to country music but favored praise and worship on Sundays. He despised country and drove around singing “Shout to the Lord” in his car.

Their families were also different. Hers had strict rules and ate fried pork chops. His was more flexible and sometimes made a meal out of pinto beans.

When she graduated, the school retired her jersey. When he graduated, the school invited him back to teach computer science.

But the chemistry was always there. She’d get mad about his strange antics until she’d burst out laughing. He relished cracking her up.

“We get each other,” Robin said. “Even today, he really does annoy me a lot. Because when you’re that different, you get annoyed. But there really is like a mutual respect for each other. I respect him more than I do anybody else.”

Victor always moved slowly. It took him months to hold her hand at the movies. They didn’t have their first kiss until they’d been dating a year.

After Robin finished high school, Victor wasn’t rushing into marriage, either. But by the time she was 21 and he was 24, she’d had enough. She told him to make up his mind.

Victor gave her his best rationalization.

“I’m not against marrying you,” he said. “I really hadn’t thought about it.”

They wed in December 2004.

The calling

Victor can recall a few moments in his life that radically changed him.

One, of course, was meeting Robin. The other was meeting a boy named Nolan.

In 2005, Victor was working with the youth ministry at Langston Baptist Church in Conway. About a dozen people — all but three of them teens — agreed to travel to Honduras for a mission trip.

The decision was unusual for both the church and Victor. While the church supported missionaries, the congregation didn’t actually go on the journeys themselves.

But the youth leader had heard about an orphanage that needed some help and Victor was among those who agreed to go.

After all, didn’t the Bible say something about taking care of widows and orphans?

Their plane touched down in the community of Roatan, at an airport so small they had to walk off the tarmac.

The village they visited reminded Victor of a commercial, the kind where viewers are asked to spare a few dollars a day to help the impoverished.

These were those people.

Many lived in tin huts with mud floors. Naked children ran through the streets. One boy, maybe 7, carried eggs he’d purchased for his family.

There were women washing laundry outdoors and a potent stench from the lack of sufficient sewer.

The orphanage stood out amid the destitute landscape. It was a large building with thick walls and armed guards outside.

The Langston youth were there to play with the children, to kick soccer balls and sit with them during Bible clubs while a translator read the Scriptures.

One of those children was Nolan.

The boy became fascinated with Victor, following him everywhere. He was a stubby shadow in a Pokemon T-shirt.

Nolan’s plump cheeks and crooked teeth reminded Victor of himself as a boy.

Victor also kept thinking about his wife and their plans to start a family. She was already talking about having children, but he couldn’t get past Nolan.

Here was this boy with no family who adored him. His plans suddenly seemed selfish.

“Growing up in church, we never talked about orphans,” he said. “We never talked about poverty. The best we ever did was we prayed for missionaries. It was a foreign concept until this point in my life.”

After a week in Honduras, Victor came home with a new purpose.

As Robin drove him back from the Myrtle Beach airport, he told her his goal: he wanted to adopt Nolan.

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