From left: Bella Robertson, Korie Robertson, John Luke Robertson and Willie Robertson
10/10/2013 at 10:00 AM EDT
When Duck Dynasty stars Willie and Korie Robertson
adopted their son, Will, they didn't have the money to pay the adoption fee.
"We said, 'We're good for it – we'll come back,' " Willie said Wednesday night in Washington, D.C., at the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute's Angels in Adoption Gala, where he and his wife were honored.
"We've paid it, by the way."
The Robertsons arrived in the nation's capital about two hours before the event, to take a short break from filming their hit reality show and talk about the importance of adoption.
"There shouldn't be kids without homes. It just shouldn't happen," Korie told PEOPLE.
When she accepted her award, she started crying as she reminisced about her parents loving, open home, and adopting their son when he was 5 weeks old.
"From the moment we found out about him, he was ours," she told the audience. "I swear, I had labor pains the night before I went and picked him up at the foster home he was living at. He's our child, just like our biological children."
And while the reality show brought them fame and money – family is all that matters, they say.
"I've done a lot of cool things in the past couple of years, I've been to Super Bowls, I've met Presidents – but the best decision we ever made – that made the biggest impact on our life was the adoption of our son Will," Willie said.
The couple's trip to the District was brief.
"We'll be back to work tomorrow. We still have to work in Louisiana."