Interested in giving daughter Naleigh, 4, a sibling, the actress and the singer began the adoption process with their sights set on Korea, only to eventually learn international adoptions were becoming increasingly difficult.
That’s when the couple began researching the idea of a domestic adoption and received quite the surprise much sooner than expected. “My lawyer called and said, ‘There’s a birth mother and she’s due in four weeks. She’s all yours if you want her!’” she recalls.
“So I had to talk Josh into that one. He thought it was going to be a few years and that we were going to end up with more a 9 or 10-month-old. He looked at me and said, ‘You’re telling me in a month we’re going to have a newborn?’”
“I said, ‘Yeah, it’s perfect timing … we’re both here, we’re not working, this is great [because] we can spend time with her,’” she explains. “And it actually has been beautifully serendipitous and graceful because we’ve gotten to spend all this wonderful time with her.”
Recently, the family of four — who reside full-time in Utah — continued Heigl’s childhood holiday traditions of hitting the snowy slopes with their skis. But when Kelley had the task of taking Naleigh to her first class, it didn’t take long for her parents to realize some traditions just don’t die.
“All my siblings would go off and ski and [my parents] sent me to ski school, but every day I would come home with a note pinned to my jacket that just said, ‘Katie did not enjoy her day at ski school,’” Heigl shares, adding she would “cry and cry” during the ski session.
“Josh took Naleigh … and I was pretty sure I was going to get a very similar note — I did. She was not into it at all, hysterical in fact.”
As for the doting dad? He was equally beside himself. “Josh is driving home on the phone with me, ‘I’m just so disappointed she won’t even try,’” the actress shares. “And I said, ‘Josh, she’s four … she’ll get it! She’ll get the hang of it.’”
Unfortunately for Kelley, along with the arrival of winter weather comes a few sneezes, sniffles and colds as well.
“Adalaide had a little head cold for about a week and then Josh started thinking he was getting sick. He makes this noise when he thinks he is getting a stuffy nose,” Heigl shares, before imitating the sound.
“I’m dead asleep in the middle of the night, that’s what I hear and I wake up to it. I said to him the next day, ‘What’s the problem Josh?’”
When her husband of almost five years — they celebrate their anniversary Sunday — admitted he couldn’t breathe, she encouraged him to look to the couple’s baby girl for a bit of inspiration.
“I said, ‘Everybody in this world gets head colds. Your baby is handling it better than you are! I think you’re going to survive this,’” she says with a laugh. “But, all in all, 90 percent of him is amazing.”
– Anya Leon