It's been a big year for TLC's "The Little Couple," and the well-deserved good news just keeps coming! Not only did Bill Klein and Dr. Jennifer Arnold reveal that they've adopted a toddler from China — William, whom they recently brought home to their newly built, customized dream house in Houston — but they're also well on their way to bringing home baby number two — a girl, Zoey, from India. Zoey, who has dwarfism, like William, isn't home just yet, but it shouldn't be long now.
Will William come along to India when it's time to pick up his little sister? "Absolutely! That is the plan," said Arnold, when we chatted with the couple about their adoption adventures, parenthood, and how they're navigating this new and exciting chapter.
Are you prepping William to be a big brother?
Klein: Not yet. Right now, we're just trying to prep him to be a 3-year-old boy running around the house without being too ingenuitive. He started climbing yesterday, and it's been an adventure ever since. I feel like I'm living with MacGyver now.
Watch an exclusive clip from this week's episode of William's very first airplane ride:
What made you decide to adopt another baby so soon after bringing home William?
Klein: We both belong to an organization called LPA (Little People of America). We registered with them three or four years ago, and we've been slowly inching up the list as prospective parents. And in Houston [after tough bouts with two miscarriages and torturous months of injections], we started to change focus to adoption almost solely, almost immediately. At that point in time, we were also registered with a website called Rainbow Kids ... who introduced us to Will.
So what happened is that the people we were registered with from LPA wound up giving us a call subsequently to our starting the process with William in China, and our name had come up first on the list. She said, "There's a little girl in India, and she's up for adoption, and it's your turn. Are you interested?" So Jennifer and I had a little bit of time to sit down and discuss it, and we thought, how can we possibly pass up this opportunity? So we jumped in. We've been waiting for both of those opportunities to come up. We just didn't think they'd come up as close to each other as they did.
You've shared how William was abandoned at a hospital before you adopted him. Can you tell us about Zoey's background?
Arnold: We don't have as much information on Zoey. We know that she was dropped off at a women-and-infants shelter by her birth mother and her birth mother's sister. We don't know for sure that she was an unwed mom, but it appears that way. And Zoey was left for reasons we don't know. We don't know if it was because she was a little person. A lot of times you learn a little bit more as you get to the final steps. We believe she was left within the first month of her life.
How has the rest of your family reacted to William and the adoption?
Arnold: They are thrilled to pieces. I think that everybody he meets falls in love with him, and our family is no exception. My parents live here in Houston with us, and they are just wrapped around his little pinky. And all of Bill's family who have since met him are just madly in love. I have this new thing with family and friends: They want a pic of the day, so I have to send them [one]. And I get in trouble when I don't send a pic of the day of Will and what he's up to.
What are you doing to make time for each other?
Klein: That is at the top of our agenda. We talked a little bit about it, and we thought that’s a perfect job for the in-laws — my in-laws anyway. We want to give them some grandparent time, and we thought that might be very convenient on a Friday night. You know, a good movie and maybe an Italian restaurant in my future. And the nice part about not doing the fertility stuff is that Jennifer's allowed to have a glass of wine again, which is great. We can enjoy it together.
You've also spoken about your childhood, about how kids can be cruel. How do you plan to help your children navigate these difficult times?
Arnold: To have a little bit of thick skin and to be thankful for all the good things that you do have. The way I was raised is the advice that I'll give our children. My mom always instilled in me a sense of self-confidence. No. 1: If I let every person who put me down or made fun of me get to me, then the end result would be that I'm miserable, not them. And it would negatively affect my quality of life. No pun intended, but life is short. This is the life I've been given, and I can't change it. I've got to make the most of it and enjoy it.
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Is there a chance that you'll adopt another baby, or is two enough?
Klein: I don’t think we're on any other lists right now, so that's good. We'll probably want to settle in with these two. There's a lot of stuff that's unknown about Zoey that we really need to get our arms around, in the way of potential medical issues that may or may not be there. While we're certainly armed to teeth with the support of our family and friends, I think that our children will always be our focus, and we don't want to spread ourselves too thin.
The show has evolved so much. How does it feel now, looking back and having so many pivotal life moments documented on film?
Klein: We're pretty fortunate. We have HD, and we have professional cameras following us around to document our home videos. I won't complain about that. We were just talking about the fact that some of the things that were covered in China, you could never capture better than a professional crew. It's amazing the things they were able to catch. And all of us are actually in the picture. It's not someone holding the camera and wanting to be part of the experience. So while it's still TV, and it's still sometimes work, there's definitely some bennies involved, and that's one of the biggest ones.
What's on the horizon for the series? Any plans to change the title to "The Little Family"?
Klein: That's all stuff that's out of our control. We invite the cameras into our life and tell them, "Hey, these are the things that are happening over the next days, weeks, months." Hopefully they follow us to India, and then we'll see what Bill as the head of the PTA (Parent Teacher Association) sounds like.
"The Little Couple" airs Tuesdays at 9 PM on TLC.