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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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2-22-22 turned out to be a lucky day for Spokane adoptee

An unusual birthdate 20 years ago may have signaled bad luck for one family, but for the Joneses in Spokane, 2/22/02 turned out to be a blessing.

Now on 2/2/22, a unique date consisting of only the number two, the family plans to celebrate their son Cory’s birthday with a new family tradition.

Jeff and Ann Jones moved back to Spokane, where Ann grew up, to start a family in the early 1990s.

After two “homemade” children, the Jones decided to adopt and brought their son Spencer into their family.

The couple initially wanted to adopt a group of siblings, but after a long wait they were ready to adopt Spencer from Vietnam.

But the Joneses said their family still didn’t feel complete.

Then Ann saw a photo of a baby in their adoption agency’s monthly magazine that spoke to her.

Ann showed Jeff the photo and he immediately agreed: There was just something about the boy, who was born Feb. 22, 2002.

The date reminded Jeff of his mother, who connects numbers related to people she loves with special meanings.

“My mom is going to love that,” Jeff recalled thinking at the time.

So they reached out to the agency.

Cory had been born premature and had extra needs, Ann said. The couple hoped to bring Cory into their home as soon as possible but the United States and Vietnam were renegotiating adoption agreements.

“We had been waiting 2½ years,” Jeff said.

Then their adoption agency called with some difficult news: A Vietnamese family wanted to adopt Cory. While the couple were happy Cory would join a family, it was hard to let go of the boy they had been praying for and hoping to bring into their home.

“We had been planning on this forever,” Jeff said. “We were just devastated.”

During the next six weeks, the couple struggled to move beyond their disappointment.

Then came another call from the agency.

“Well you’re not going to believe this,” Jeff remembers being told.

The grandparents of the adoptive family wanted to consult a fortune teller to see if the adoption was a good idea, Jeff recalled. The fortune teller warned them that Cory had an “unlucky birthday” and the family pulled out of the adoption.

The agency asked if the Joneses would still be interested in adopting Cory.

“I said, ‘We are,’ ” Jeff recalled, adding at the time, “We’ll go tomorrow if you let us go.”

About that same time the United States and Vietnam reached a new agreement, and the adoption process was able to move forward. So Cory found a home in Spokane when he was 41/2 years old.

Cory, who turns 20 today, loves working with his hands, coaching tennis and spending time with friends.

He has heard the story of his unlucky-lucky birthday many times from his parents.

“I think it’s pretty cool honestly, like how it worked out,” Cory said. “It turned out pretty lucky for me.”

The numeric date of his birthday this year has sparked a new birthday tradition, Ann said. They plan to give Cory doubles of every present to commemorate the luck that brought him to their family.

Many others with Feb. 22 birthdays have long looked forward to this year.

Spokane resident Josh Lemon turns 22 on 2/22/22.

He has been looking forward to this birthday since he was 10 and learned about golden birthdays – the once-in-a-lifetime birthday when a person’s new age matches the day of the month of their birthday. He calculated when his would be and realized, “Oh wait I have the best one,” Lemon recalled with a laugh.

He plans to celebrate with a trip to Northern Quest Casino to “see if I have any actual birthday luck.”

John Cleary, a math aficionado, turns 11 today (special to him because 2 times 11).

“He was just very excited,” his mother said.

It will only happen once in his lifetime, plus it’s a special celebration his brother and sister won’t get, said his mother Lianne Cleary, with a laugh.

The Cleary family plans to celebrate with two-shaped treats, a taco twosday dinner, a giant birthday “card” in their front yard and gifts in pairs.

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