Austin Payne and Madison Payne Robertson were just 10 and 8 years old, respectively, when the brother-sister duo graced the June 2004 cover of MetroFamily Magazine along with their parents. Graduates of Edmond Memorial High School, they now each own homes in Edmond, and each has married their high school sweetheart. Austin is pursuing his dream to become a firefighter and Madison works for a group of doctors. One of the most memorable parts of their childhood was when their parents decided to foster local kids. The family opened their home to around 15 children and adopted two. Austin and Madison share how their lives have changed since they were cover kids:
Do you remember anything about being on the cover of the magazine?
Austin: I don’t really remember it!
Madison: My face doesn’t look too happy. I was excited to match my Mom and then she put me in a cheetah headband and that made me mad!
What’s the most positive change you’ve seen in the Oklahoma City metro since you were on the cover?
Austin: Getting the OKC Thunder. That’s a given.
Madison: Oklahoma City is more family-oriented and people are a lot more accepting now. This picture was taken two years before we became a foster family. As soon as we had brown babies in our family, people started judging us. Now it’s so common that people don’t notice.
What was it like to be a foster family?
Austin: I always wanted a little brother. I thought it would be really cool, and though our mom cautioned us not to get too attached, I enjoyed it. When I was in sixth or seventh grade, [my adopted brother] was an infant, and I would wake up before school, get him out of bed and change and feed him. When I was 16, I would be out with my buddies and would need to stop by my house. They’d say ‘we’re going to be there forever’ because I would get caught up playing with my little brother.
Madison: I loved to play with babies, so when the idea got brought up, I said, ‘yes, I want to take care of babies!’ I liked knowing we were helping these kids. It was a good experience. I think it’s really easy and people make it more complicated than it should be. I wish more people were open to it.
What made you want to stay in Oklahoma?
Austin: It’s where I’m from and where my family is.
Madison: My plan hasn’t always been to stay here. I had a lot of anger for how people treated us [as a foster family]. My job stability was the first step to keep me here. Because my husband and I want to have a family together, we want to be close to our family. The low prices here are great, too, and we were able to buy a house this year.
What do you like to do for fun?
Austin: I like going to Thunder games. And my wife and I just bought a house, so we’re constantly doing things to it.
Madison: My husband and I like to go hiking and exploring. Our favorite place in Oklahoma is the Wichita Mountains.
What’s your proudest moment since you were on the cover?
Austin: Becoming family for my little brother and sister.
Madison: I tried going to college and it just wasn’t for me. I’m proud that I stuck with that decision and have learned you can succeed doing your own thing.