*photo by Crystal at Love, Me Photography.
People often ask (especially fellow adoptive parents from China) how we managed to add 3 kids to our family in the span of just two years. Well, it goes a little something like this. We began our first adoption journey in 2002, when Jakob was 3 years old (he's now 8 and has Down Syndrome for those that don't know). We knew we wanted one more (haha), but given that it had taken us several years to conceive Jakob and after meeting a precious little girl named Emma, who was adopted from China by friends of ours, we decided that adoption from China would be the perfect way for us to complete our family. We were DTC in February 2003 and began the wait, which at that time was 13-14 months, for our first daughter. We received our referral in Nov 2003 (after a slight speed-up in the process) and adopted Jaden, at the age of 10 months, from Zhuzhou, Hunan in January of 2004. In the summer of '04, we decided that we were having so much fun as a family of four that we'd take the plunge and go for one more daughter from China. We completed our paperwork for our 2nd daughter and were DTC in January 2005 for an infant age 0-12 months. That spring, after looking at Holt's waiting child photolisting, we started to think that maybe we would adopt a child between the ages of Jakob and Jaden instead of "going through the baby stage" again. After talking to Holt about another little girl who we were ultimately not matched with, we got a call from Holt on May 12 about a little girl in Nanning, Guangxi whose file they had just received. They said she was 5 years old and asked if we'd like to have a look at her file. Well, one look was all it took. We immediately began the paperwork to adopt Wen Ling (now Jacey) and were told on May 26th that she would officially be ours. Very shortly after that, we got the shock of a lifetime when we found out that another little Westbrook would be coming along as well. So much for that whole "not going through the baby stage again" thing, lol. Thanks to the hard work and determination of our GREAT social worker, Barbra, we were allowed to continue with Jacey's adoption in spite of the fact that we were expecting (Holt and China have a rule about putting a year between children, whether they be adopted or biological). Anyway, Jacey came home in October 2005 and our sweet little surprise, Jack, was born just 3 months later in January 2006. So, here we are, a family of SIX! Not what we expected, but perfect for us just the same. The whole situation reminded us of the country song that says something like "If you want to hear God laugh, just tell Him your plans." :)