Throughout his life, my oldest son Kevin has made it very clear that he never wants to get married or have children. Well, until Anna came along, that is.
While Anna was visiting us in Connecticut, Kevin announced that they “want to adopt, maybe internationally.”
“That’s great guys!” I said, “But adoption is very expensive.”
“Expensive?” Kevin said, “I thought it was free.”
Free? I’m not sure who these kids think they are, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, but I couldn’t even adopt a kitten.
I was never a fan of cats… until one stormy night when John and I returned from a business trip, to find a beautiful grey cat on our front porch.
My parents had our dog Max for the week and it was pouring rain.
“Can we just let him in for the night?” John asked.
“Okay, just for one night.” I replied.
Needless to say, one night turned into 2 years.
We named the cat Charlie. He was an outdoor cat who went on his adventures but always returned home. He wasn’t much work because he didn’t use a litter box and preferred the outdoors.
Charlie was sweet and fastidious, his coat was a beautiful soft grey and he was always grooming.
I learned so much about cats and all that they have to offer… and yes, Charlie grew on me. Ultimately, I accepted Charlie as part of our family.
My kids fell in love with Charlie and so did I.
I have to admit, that this “dog person” who couldn’t stand cats, had changed her tune.
One day, Charlie didn’t come home.
We were all heart-broken and spent the following days and months looking for him.
My son, Marc took it the hardest, first going on about how much he missed Charlie… which turned into how much he wanted a kitten.
“I miss Charlie too.” I said to John, “Maybe we should get a kitten.”
John loves cats.
That’s all it took, one statement from me, and we were on our way to a local animal shelter. We stopped to pick up John’s mother to help us pick out a kitten.
I was excited and looking forward to leaving with a beautiful, new kitten that day.
Apparently, so were the two little blonde girls that got out of the car next to us with their parents.
We were greeted by a woman from the shelter who motioned for all of us to take a seat at a table and fill out a form.
Once we completed and handed in our applications, the women turned to the father of the two little blonde girls. “So where are you planning on keeping the kitten?” She asked the little girl’s father. “Well, the living room, bedroom or basement.” He replied.
“So, you’re going to keep a cat in the basement to catch mice.” She snared.
“No,” The dad replied, “I meant that the cat could have the run of the house.”
The woman glanced at my application and turned to me.
“So, have you had any other pets?” She asked.
“Yes, lots. ” I replied.
“Well, how did they die?” She inquired.
“How did they die?” I repeated, “I’m almost 50 years old! Do you want me to recall how every pet I owned died?”
At this point, the two little blonde girls looked scared to death themselves.
I tried to stifle my sarcastic wit that wanted to shout, “Well, let’s see… one of my dogs died in a NASCAR accident, one ran off and joined the circus… one died of a heroin overdose… oh, and yes… it was very tragic, one committed suicide.”
Instead, I held my composure and tried to recount what I could remember.
“What do you do for a living?” She asked, “And can you afford to care for a kitten?”
“I’m a waitress.” I replied, starting to feel that I wasn’t at all worthy of adopting a cat.
“This is ridiculous!” John whispered in my ear, as I heard the little blonde girls asking their parents if they were going to get to hold a kitten today.
We should have left then, but we stayed, we wanted to hold a kitten too. I was right on board with the little blonde girls.
The woman led us into an old renovated house that was the animal shelter and up a set of very steep stairs to the third floor. There in a large cage was a female cat and her six kittens.
“The mother is feral, so no one can touch the kittens.” She announced.
The little blonde girls began to cry.
This was shaping up to be a stellar Saturday.
The woman explained that we would have to pay the fee and then we would be notified if we were approved to get a kitten.
On the way out the door, John’s mother asked, “How much is the fee?”
“One hundred and seventy dollars.” The woman replied.
“One hundred and seventy dollars!” John’s mother said in shock, “They’re feral cats!”
“What ever happened to free kittens in a box at the grocery store?” John mumbled.
Needless to say, neither myself or the other family paid the fee.
We walked back to our cars in silence, with the exception of the sobs from the little blonde girls.
I never realized that adoption was so hard and so judgmental, even with a cat.
I’m just not sure that I’m cut out for it, but if Kevin and Anna want to adopt a child internationally, I’m thinking that they should get a hold of Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt.
My Life, I Swear.