How a cat helped me realize that adopting children won’t be easy

The way that my husband and I have chosen to have our children is a little different than the way that most people go about it. We don’t want to have any biological children. We only want to foster and adopt our children. This has always been our plan, and while we realize adoption isn’t the right thing for everyone, we’re pretty excited about it.

Recently we decided we want to adopt a cat.

I work primarily from home, so I really wanted to have a pet to cuddle and sit with me during the day. We found a cat through an adoption website and quickly got attached. We talked to the woman who needed to give the cat up for adoption, we set a date to come meet the cat and take her home with us, and we even decided on a new name for the cat. Clearly, we were getting excited about having our first pet together.

But a couple days before we were supposed to get our new kitty, the owner of the cat changed her mind and decided she really wanted to keep her. She called to let me know, and she apologized if she was breaking our hearts.

We said we understood, but I felt a ball of sadness forming in my throat. It felt silly, being so sad over a cat I’d never even met.

I even teared up when I hung up the phone.


A couple hours later I looked at my husband and said the words I had been thinking since I got the phone call.

“This is a glimpse into our future, getting attached to kids that we won’t be able to keep.

We were certain that a cat was going to be ours, only for it to be pulled away from us at the very last minute. It was a sudden reminder of what we’ll face in the years ahead as we begin fostering and trying to adopt our children.

We won’t have control over the timing of when our kids become ours — that will be our reality. More than that, the likelihood is that we may get a child into our home, bond with them — and then not be able to adopt them because of circumstances beyond our control.

I looked at photos of a cat online, read about her, talked with people who had cared for her — and just like that, I was becoming attached.

How much stronger is that attachment going to be when it’s a child in my home and in my arms?


But this is what we’re signing up for, this is the fight we’ve chosen. We want to be part of ending the pain of foster care.

The negative ripple effects of foster care are immense, and the time I spent working in a foster care group home for pregnant and parenting teenage girls taught me that firsthand.

We’ve chosen to become part of the fight, hoping to impact children’s lives in a positive way. It’s not going to be easy or without pain, but we’ll be ready for it when the time comes.

For now, we’re just going to adopt a cat and snuggle the mess out of it…

…starting now.

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