The Little Couple Shared A Sad Truth About Parenting Their Adopted Kids

The Little Couple’s Bill Klein and Jen Arnold had long dreamed of starting a family, and in 2013 they finally made their vision a reality. But bringing home adopted son Will and daughter Zoey didn’t prove to be a trouble-free experience. Instead, the youngsters had to cope with the transition into their new lives – a process that ultimately taught their new parents some heartbreaking truths about adoption.

Of course, it isn’t always easy to assimilate after emigrating to the U.S. from another country. And both of Klein and Arnold’s children were indeed born in other nations; the couple adopted Will from China, while Zoey came from India. As it happens, though, the kids seemed to have an especially difficult time adjusting to their new lives – albeit each for different reasons.

All of this came at a particularly tough time for Arnold and Klein, too. After years of miscarriages, Arnold received a devastating health diagnosis, giving her no choice but to leave India during the process of adopting Zoey. And the hard times only continued for the family when they all got home – with the reality stars choosing to finally open up about their troubles a few years after the fact.

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Yes, as many know, Klein and Arnold are no strangers to the small screen, making their TV debut on TLC reality series The Little Couple in 2009. And according to the network’s official description of the show, the pair “are just like your average couple – except for the fact that they’re both under 4 feet tall.”

The TV personalities were both born with skeletal dysplasia, or dwarfism, although they each have a different type of the condition. Businessman Klein’s spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia, for example, affects the growth of his spine and the ends of his bones. The congenital syndrome has required him to undergo in excess of 20 operations, and he stands at just 4 feet in height.

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Arnold, meanwhile, has spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia type Strudwick, which was named after the first patient to have been diagnosed with the condition. It’s affected Arnold in a similar manner to her husband, although there have been some differences in the ways in which the disorder has altered the ends of her bones. And the neonatologist – who stands at a little over 3 feet tall – has had to undertake even more surgical procedures than her husband.

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In fact, Klein and Arnold’s respective conditions brought them together for the first time – although it would take years for the pair to fall in love. Klein later described this meeting to TLC, explaining that the encounter had occurred at a Baltimore-area hospital when the two had both been ten years old.

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“[Arnold] was in for surgery, and I was in for physical therapy,” Klein reminisced in a TLC segment. He also recalled his future wife’s mood post-op, adding, “I remember that I was very happy when I first saw her, but she was not in a good mood because she just had surgery the day or two before.”

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Surprisingly, Klein’s recollection of that initial encounter was so clear that he could even remember the room in which he had met Arnold. And while Arnold admitted that she couldn’t bring to mind that particular event, she nonetheless claimed that her husband’s description was accurate – and she believed they had indeed met, too. “Everything he described about that day, me and the people in the room was perfect,” she said.

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But although Klein and Arnold didn’t keep in touch after that run-in, they did almost meet again a decade later. At that time, they had the same doctor, while Arnold also had her sights set on enrolling in medical school. So, she shadowed her surgeon – something Klein was also doing.

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And the medical staff who saw both Klein and Arnold sensed the potential for a romantic connection. Arnold said of the potential matchmakers, “[They] actually tried to set us up a few times, believe it or not.” Despite that goal, though, the pair never went out together; in fact, they didn’t even cross paths while they shadowed their shared doctor. “I never got to meet [Klein], because we did it at different times,” Arnold explained.

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Thankfully, things would turn out differently the third time around for Arnold and Klein – although even that meeting almost didn’t happen. During that period, both the businessman and the doctor had accounts on a website called datealittle.com. “I wrote to her, but she wasn’t paying the bill for her registration, so she could not read my email,” Klein said.

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Then, three months after that, Arnold finally decided to log back online following some encouragement from her “best friend and a glass of wine.” And while she admitted to initially activating the account to find female friends, she ultimately decided to message exactly one man on the website, too.

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“I searched all of the profiles for young men my age with good jobs, who weren’t married [and who were] looking for love, and [I was] looking for people that I didn’t already know,” Arnold said. “I came across Bill’s profile, so I sent him a random email and said, ‘Have we ever met before at a Little People in America conference? You look familiar.’ That was my great pickup line.”

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The line worked, though, and Arnold and Klein subsequently started sharing phone calls as they lived in different cities at the time. And Klein knew he had to go meet Arnold in person after around six weeks of the pair getting to know each other. You see, the doctor had apparently dozed off while talking to him, and this, he claimed, meant that “she was either too comfortable or too bored.”

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Klein had already fallen for Arnold, in fact, so he wanted to make sure that she was on the same page. He therefore took a flight to Pittsburgh, and the pair subsequently met up at Starbucks before going on an official date. Arnold later recalled, “We had the longest conversation ever… It was awesome. I knew right away that this one was great.”

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So, despite still living in different parts of the U.S., Klein and Arnold embarked on a relationship. And in 2009 they made things official and married before making a life together in Houston, Texas. In the city, Arnold held a pair of jobs: director at the Texas Children’s Hospital’s Simulation Center and professor at Baylor College of Medicine.

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Klein, meanwhile, has had his hand in a slew of successful business ventures. Following the completion of his studies at New York University, he began a career in sales and ultimately worked his way up to management positions. Since then, he’s also started his own company selling his proprietary version of puppy pads for potty-training dogs.

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And, of course, Klein and Arnold have had their TV show to keep them busy. The Little Couple has followed their lives since 2009, with the show’s opening episode including footage of the duo’s wedding ceremony. Cameras followed Klein, too, as he moved from New York City to join Arnold in their new home of Houston.

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But The Little Couple doesn’t just share Arnold and Klein’s happy times. Yes, the series has also let viewers witness the difficulties that they encounter – both as little people and as individuals going through life. In 2013, for example, Arnold faced a serious health scare when she found out that she had stage three choriocarcinoma – an uncommon form of uterine cancer.

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Furthermore, that cancer diagnosis highlighted yet another struggle that Arnold and Klein had faced. You see, choriocarcinoma typically grows from uterine tissue that would otherwise transform into the placenta during gestation. And, heartbreakingly, Arnold had endured a miscarriage in September 2013 – just months before being informed of the choriocarcinoma.

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Earlier in 2013 Arnold had also talked about her fertility struggles with People. “For a lot of people, loss tears them apart,” she said. “In general, we are pretty tough people. I feel very lucky and fortunate to have the wonderful life I have. We are good at putting things in perspective because of our life experiences.”

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Thankfully, though, good news was on the horizon for Arnold and Klein. In February 2014 the medical professional revealed to People that, after her last chemo treatment, her cancer had gone into remission. “I’m doing great,” she stated. “Everything is moving in the right direction.”

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And in spite of their long-time struggles with fertility, Arnold and Klein would go on to become parents twice over. In 2013 the couple officially adopted their first child from China: a son named Will. Then, within a few months, they were ready to add another member to their family: Zoey, a girl who originally came from India.

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Both Will and Zoey have types of dwarfism, just as their new parents do. In fact, in Will’s case, his condition had reduced the chance that he’d be adopted at all. But, of course, that didn’t put Klein and Arnold off. The couple then traveled to India with Will to bring Zoey home to Texas. And, naturally, the new parents looked forward to bonding with their little ones.

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Deciding to adopt had actually marked a big change in Klein’s way of thinking about parenthood. In 2018 he admitted that he had once had a “selfish attitude” about becoming a father. “I wanted a kid that was genetically mine,” the businessman said. But a reality check regarding just how many children needed homes – and love – had eventually changed his mind.

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“We talked about how many kids were out there that didn’t have a home, that needed love and support from a family and were relegated to a life of institutionalization,” Klein explained. “I think that I couldn’t have done any better a job through surrogacy, through the old-fashioned way or anything else. When I saw Will’s [and] Zoey’s picture[s], I fell in love immediately.”

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That love would help Klein and Arnold through the tough times that came as Will and Zoey adjusted to their new lives. What’s more, that transition period took place in the midst of Arnold’s cancer diagnosis and treatment. The health crisis would force the mom home early from the trip to New Delhi, India, where she and Klein had traveled to pick up Zoey.

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And while Arnold had already become close to Zoey before that, the little girl had yet to forge the same connection with Klein. He later wrote in the couple’s 2016 book Think Big, “Without her new mommy, [Zoey] was inconsolable. Trying to soothe Zoey only made things worse. Her cries echoed throughout the house… Zoey obviously wanted and needed her mother.”

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Then, when Klein brought Zoey back to the U.S. on his own, things didn’t get any better. Instead, after he introduced her to her new home in Texas, Zoey “wailed next to the front door.” The businessman added in the book, “[Zoey] didn’t want anything to do with it, and she didn’t want to be near her new daddy.”

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In fact, bonding with Zoey became tough for both Klein and Arnold. “She really wanted nothing to do with us,” the doctor admitted to People in 2017. On top of that, the couple also had to deal with Will’s many health challenges. “He had hearing difficulties and has undergone surgeries,” Klein explained.

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Fortunately for Klein and Arnold – and Will and Zoey – the new family didn’t give up on forging connections with one another. And it all paid off for them in the end, too. Indeed, in 2017 the parents reported to People that they had been stunned by how their children had managed to adapt to life in the U.S.

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“They’re getting to an interesting age and finding their real passions,” Klein added of his son and daughter. “They’re really into artwork right now. Their verbal skills continue to surprise me, and they’re doing so well in school. It’s fun to watch them grow.” And for all that he and Arnold had put into building a family, he felt even more happy for what the kids had accomplished.

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“After everything we’ve been through, it’s a very exciting time,” Klein explained. Viewers of The Little Couple have been able to see some of those happy moments unfold on camera, too. Nevertheless, Klein told Glamour in 2015 that he and Arnold tried their best to keep Will and Zoey grounded despite their small-screen appearances.

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“The large majority of what we do is off-camera, because we want [Zoey and Will] to grow up in a normal, comfortable environment and experience what they want to experience without it being something that they have to do in front of an audience,” Klein claimed. And considering how well Zoey and Will apparently adjusted in the end, it seems as though the couple’s methods worked.

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In recent years, though, Klein, Arnold, Will and Zoey have all taken on some new challenges. Most notably, the family relocated from their home in Houston to a new one in Florida. And at first, some fans mistakenly credited the impetus for the move to Hurricane Harvey, which hit Houston in 2017.

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That wasn’t quite the case, however; instead, Arnold had received a job offer she couldn’t turn down from the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg. Arnold had been treated there as a young child, and now she serves as the medical director of its Simulation Center. So, while the decision to leave Houston in the fall of 2017 proved to be a tough one for the family, ultimately they felt that they’d made the right choice.

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On The Little Couple, Klein said, “While there might be a little bit of remorse at the end of the day [about the relocation from Houston], this is going to be a good move for everybody.” And he went on to outline the upside of life in Florida for himself, Arnold and their two children.

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“There are so many big benefits to moving to Florida,” Klein stated. “We will be closer to family.” Nevertheless, he admitted that having Zoey and Will in tow would make the move a bit tougher. He added, “Looking for a house is not an easy task; looking for a house with two kids [is] nearly impossible.”

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And it stands to reason that Will and Zoey could have looked at the relocation with trepidation. After all, as we’ve heard, both had trouble transitioning to life in America when they first arrived. Understandably, then, Arnold told People in 2019 that the kids had felt “a little concerned” about leaving Houston. Yet, as usual, the close-knit family made it through. “They’ve adjusted really, really well,” Arnold added of his son and daughter.

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