Robbie experienced at least three miracles in his young life,
including two narrow escapes from death.
From the moment of his conception to the moment of his
death, Robbie's life was always in the loving hands of his
Thank you, Sherre, for this awesome snowglobe!
Part One: The Miracle of the Two Babies
The fact that Robbie was ever born at all is one of God's
miracles and one of His best gifts to Hamp and me. We
had longed for children for the first 16 years of our
marriage, but had none. I had managed to conceive
one time (in 1977), but the tiny little embryo lodged
itself in my right fallopian tube instead of passing on to
my womb, and so we lost both the tiny little baby and
half of my chances to conceive at the same time.
(Please see Angel Baby Jordan's page at the end of
Robbie's Memorial for the story of this tiny baby.)
In 1982, Hamp and I underwent many fertility tests
and workups, but an exploratory surgery in September,
1982, showed that my one remaining fallopian tube
had adhered to part of my intestines (during the
recovery period from one of my earlier surgeries) and
had been pulled completely away from my ovary.
Without corrective laser surgery, the doctor told us
that it would be impossible for me to conceive. We
had decided to have the corrective surgery, when we
learned of an opportunity to adopt a baby who was
due to be born in January, 1983. We decided to go
with the "sure thing."
On January 20th, 1983, I discovered that I was 7
weeks pregnant---and a couple of hours later we l
earned that our beautiful little adoptive daughter had
just been born. God gave us two babies on the very
same day!!! Since Hamp and I were both 39 at the time,
well past the time that most adoptive agencies would
consider us as prospective parents, we felt that both
babies were direct gifts from God--two miracles! God
had made the "impossible" a reality!
Laura Elizabeth Smith was born on January 20, 1983,
and her brother, Robert Hampton Smith (Robbie) was
born seven and one-half months later, on
September 8, 1983. Hamp and I were truly the happiest
parents in the world!
Hamp, Saralyn, Laura, and Robbie October, 1984
I guess I'm a slow learner, as God sent me a
dream of the coming miracle exactly 9 months
before Laura was born---in other words,
about the time of her conception. The dream
came to me several nights in a row and became
more and more vivid. Finally, I sat down to write
about the dream, but I still didn't realize it was a
promise--I thought it was just my wishful thinking!
I wrote the following poem first in blank verse and
then later adapted it to a rhymed poem:
They haunt me mostly at morning
In that hazy time between waking and dreaming,
Their childish voices call out to me
And their little hands reach up for mine.
I scoop them up into my arms
And swing them around with glee,
Glad for their return and their high spirits.
They lead me on a merry chase
Through meadows banked with flowers,
And we lie at last, exhausted,
Underneath a shady tree.
Why is it that their faces seems to change each time?
And can there really be a "ghost"
Of someone never born?
They come to me in morning light,
Their voices sweet and clear,
And bid me leave my mournful night,
Their lips pressed to my ear.
So, from my bed, I rise and sweep
Them both into my arms,
And, glad to leave my dreamless sleep,
Surrender to their charms.
They lead me on a merry chase
Through flower-scented fields,
And though I run a sturdy race,
They always know I'll yield.
Their childish faces, filled with glee,
Seem different every morn;
Can apparitions really be
Of someone never born?
Saralyn McAfee Smith
Please note that it was my ignorance that led me
to write "of someone never born!" For I should
have written, had I believed the message God was
sending me, "of someone not yet born." It was more
than a year after my children were born that I
remembered these poems and sought them out.
Then I finally realized their true import: God had
been telling me, at the time of Laura's conception,
that He was going to send me two children!! And
in my dreams, the two children were always a boy
and a girl, just as God knew I would have!
Mother's Day, 1984
A happy and blessed mother of children!!
Part Two: Robbie's Miracle Escape from Death
In late May, 1997, we were happily preparing for
Laura's graduation from 8th grade and were almost
ready to go out to dinner to celebrate before the
actual ceremony. A tremendous thunderstorm hit
Dodge City shortly before and produced almost
flash-flood conditions. We had never seen so much
water in the drainage ditch behind our house. As
Laura and I were finishing up our hair and make-up,
Robbie asked to go outside to check on the depth
of water in the ditch. As it was still raining slightly,
he changed into a swimsuit so that he wouldn't get
his clothes all wet.
A short time later, we received a phone call from the
police--Robbie had just been pulled from the south
end of the drainage ditch near the river--more than
2 miles from our house--and an ambulance was taking
him to the hospital. With all thoughts of the graduation
forgotten, Hamp, Laura, and I rushed to the hospital,
afraid of what we would find.
Amazingly, though Robbie had been swept away
(without our knowledge as we were all in the house)
and had been washed through numerous concrete
underpasses and even underground for several
hundred yards, he was totally uninjured, except for
some scrapes on the bottoms of his feet where he
had attempted to stop himself. He was also hypothermic,
so the hospital kept him overnight and warmed him
up--we were all afraid that the horrific experience
might trigger an outburst of his seizures. But no seizures
came, and he was able to come home the next morning.
We learned later how God used many people to save
Robbie's life. A teen, Brett Tompkins, who lived several
blocks down from our house was in his back yard and
saw and heard Robbie being swept away. He immediately
ran into his house and called 911, and the rescue squad
was quickly dispatched.
A woman (a Mrs. Smith, but no relation to us) who lived
about a mile from our house heard the alert on her police
scanner and realized Robbie would be swept right past her
house. She and her family ran outside and grabbed a garden
hose, which they were able to toss to Robbie as he came
alongside their yard. He was able to grab onto the hose and
held on for a few minutes, but they were unable to pull him
in against the swift current. His hands and fingers were so
numb from the cold water that he lost his grip. Mrs. Smith
and her family watched in horror as he was washed away;
they were certain they would never see him again. But they
had given the rescue squad enough time that the rescue
vehicle was able to get ahead of him and set up their rescue
efforts just short of the river.
The rescue squad knew that he would emerge from the
underground tunnel just short of the river, and they set
up ropes there, and were able to catch him and pull him out.
They all had a good laugh when Robbie's only words were,
"I hope there aren't any women up there," for the swiftly-moving
water had torn off his swimsuit back at the initial rescue site.
We have since walked the route of the ditch Robbie was washed
down, and it is truly miraculous that he was never flung against
any of the concrete structures and that he was able to keep his
head above water, even in the underground passage that was
almost completely filled. We know now that God still had plans for
Robbie's life, and that he would live almost three more years
following this amazing incident.
Robbie had his "fifteen minutes of fame" by having his rescue
featured on all the Kansas television networks, as well as all
the major Kansas newspapers the next morning. One friend
wrote that she had heard that he "was the first person to
swim across Dodge City!"
Laura and I were able to make it to her graduation after all.
Once we were sure that Robbie was not injured and appeared
to be okay, Hamp told us that he would stay with Robbie and
for us to go on. So, Laura had several reasons for her beautiful
smile in her graduation robe and cap that evening!
Part Three: Robbie Escapes Injury or Death a Second Time
Only six months after his escape from death in the flash flood,
Robbie was once again protected by his guardian angels. He
was riding his bike home from his friend's house, only a few
blocks away. It was dark, but the streets were well lighted
by street lamps. He was coming down a steep hill on a road
that was intersected by another street. He could see a car
approaching the intersection, but the car would need to stop
at the stop sign, so Robbie wasn't worried--he would have
easily cleared the intersection before the car could start up again.
Unfortunately, the driver of the car did NOT stop, but drove
straight through the intersection, never even checking the
cross traffic. Robbie's bike was struck directly and he was
thrown 20 or 30 feet through the air. But his angels were there!
Instead of landing on the rough road, Robbie was thrown to the
grass at the side of the road. He suffered a couple of scrapes
and bruises, but no real injuries. His bike, however, was totaled.
Again, at the providence of God, the house at the intersection
where Robbie was thrown belonged to close friends of ours--and
they immediately telephoned us, reassuring us that Robbie was
conscious and coherent and seemed to be okay.
Of course, we all panicked and jumped into our car right away
to go to the scene. When we arrived, Robbie was being tended
to by an ambulance crew, whom our friends had called. We
talked to him and could tell that he was not badly injured,
but the rescue squad wanted to take him to the hospital for
X-rays as a precaution.
We praise God that He again spared Robbie at this time when he
could so easily have been killed, and we are grateful for the extra
years that we had with him.