President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, said Tuesday her and her husband Jesse’s decision to adopt two children from Haiti has “enriched our family immeasurably.”
Barrett made the declaration during the second round of hearings over her nomination for the high court, after Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) described adoption as “one of the most loving and compassionate decisions any family can make.”
The Barretts have seven children — five biological and two adopted kids.
As she explained Monday, Barrett and her husband adopted two children from Haiti: their daughter Vivian, whom she said “was so weak [when we adopted her] that we were told she might never talk or walk normally” and their son John Peter, who “joined us shortly after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, and Jesse, who brought him home, still describes the shock on JP’s face when he got off the plane in wintertime Chicago.”
Barrett, who is Catholic, added Vivian now “deadlifts as much as the male athletes at our gym, and I assure you that she has no trouble talking.”
In explaining to Cruz why they pursued adoption, Barrett remembered when she and her husband were engaged and met two different couples who had adopted children.
“We decided at that point, while we were engaged, that, at some point in the future, we wanted to [adopt] ourselves,” she said. “And I guess we had imagined initially that we would have whatever biological kids that we had decided to have and then adopt at the end, but after we had our first daughter, Emma, we thought, ‘Well, why wait?’ So I was expecting Tess when we went and got Vivian.”
The high court nominee said her family lovingly refer to Tess, one of their biological daughters, and Vivian, their adopted daughter, as “fraternal twins” because they are the same age.
“It really has enriched our family immeasurably,” Barrett explained. “And once we had adopted Vivian, at that point, we made the decision that we definitely wanted to adopt again, and so several years later, John Peter entered our family.”