WEST SALEM, Wis. -- West Salem couple Clint and Kymberly West already had two healthy, biological children when they adopted their two sons; Onesimus in 2008 and Rock in 2009. Both boys came to them through domestic adoption and Clint and Kymberly strongly believe a higher power had a hand in bringing them together. "When you adopt a baby - there's no denying that God picked this baby over here and you over here and smashed you together and you are a family that God created."
Faith or fate? You decide. But listen to the rest of the story before you do because long before they ever had children, Kymberly made a statement that Clint remembers to this day. "She's like, 'I think we have twins in Africa.' She tells me about it and jots it down in her journal. I said, 'let's adopt from Ethiopia.' And she was like, 'I don't feel like we have kids in Ethiopia.' I said, 'there's no other place to adopt kids in Africa.'
Not quite true. It turns out there's an American run orphanage called Good Shepard's Fold in a little town in Uganda. So this past January, with the help of Lutheran Social Services - they turned in an application. "I was like, 'when do you think we're going to hear something?' And he's like...'I don't know. March 7th.' So March 7th were laying in bed and I said, can you just check your e-mail? Cause it's March 7th. Check it please. And he checks it and it's twin 11-year-old girls. And I'm like, 'oh my gosh. These are our twins."
A few months later, on May 8th - Mother's day, they both flew to Uganda to meet their new daughters Martha and Grace. "They had flowers for mother's day and said, Happy Mother's Day, mama.'"
They spent several weeks in Uganda waiting for the adoption to go through. "It was really overwhelming. I was physically sick. I was so anxious. I've never been to a 3rd world country. You see it on TV but it's a whole other ballgame when you smell it and taste it."
"I sat with a couple of boys and on had HIV and he said, 'what if they would have been sick, would you have taken them?' And I said, 'yeah, I would have.' And really they're just asking, 'what if it would have been me?' They know what's going on. They know that they aren't leaving." I went with Martha and Grace to say goodbye to their friends and their mouths were smiling but their eyes...it ripped your heart out. It wrecked me."
On June 13th, they arrived at the La Crosse airport to a host of family and friends anxiously waiting to meet them. "I didn't know there were going to be that many. I thought it would be the family."
Today life is all kids of crazy for the West's! "People will say, 'you've got your hands full.' and she'd say, 'of good things.'"
Good things that they truly believe were always part of the plan. "I think about the fact that on April 13th 2002, we walked down the aisle and at that time God already had twin 2 year old girls that we were bound to adopt this year. To think that we have kids in our family that have our name and are forever graphed into our family tree that come from Chicago and Houston, Texas and Uganda, it's really out of this world humbling, but satisfying at the same time because we made a difference."
Because of adoption, this family has been uniquely woven together. "I just would never dreamed that's what our family would have looked like. Never in a million years. Would you have it any other way? No! Definitely not. They're just ours - all of them."
If you would like more information on adoption there are two organizations in La Crosse that can help. To contact Lutheran Social Services, check out http://www.lssadopt.org/AdoptionOptions. For information on Catholic Charities go to http://www.cclse.org/adoption.php.