Wednesday, February 12

Bad times make the good times better

Nothy left this comment in my last post, "bad times make the good times better". That is a concept that Mr. Lina and I have been talking about. But let me give you some context of our conversations.

We're pretty avid watchers of "The Critter Room". Foster Dad John (FDJ) fosters cats (and lately kittens) and he has a web cam showing the room so you can see most of the antics they get up to all day. Considering we are both allergic to cats and Mr. Lina adores cats, I thought this would be good for him. It seems to be backfiring but that's a story for another day.

Most of his foster families are a stray cat who is found pregnant, she has her kittens at the shelter and then they go to FDJ. Sometimes it takes a little while to gain the trust of the mama cat but she's usually pretty happy when she figures out that her kittens are safe and there is food available. The last two litters have been a little different.

From Critter Room Facebook Page
The "Artificial Intelligence" fosters were GlaDOS and her son Hal. Another cat had a HUGE litter of kittens 5 days after Hal was born and it was decided that maybe GlaDOS could take care of a couple of them so it was easier on the other mama cat. Apparently GlaDOS went over to Holly, Jarvis and Eddie, sniffed them a bit and sort of said "oh that's where you went to" and brought them over to Hal. She was a very good mama cat and she's now adopted with Holly.

So there were some conversations about adoption and how sweet it was to see GlaDOS not caring if they were her kittens or not, these were little guys who needed a Mom.

Foster Dad John (FDJ) had a long break without kittens. It was kind of driving Mr. Lina a little crazy but most of the kittens from his litters have Facebook pages so we still got our kitten fix seeing how everyone was adapting to their new families.

GlaDOS and Holly have a Facebook page.
With this litter, the Pixar kittens (Dory, Sully and Dash), it's the first time since we started watching that they weren't tiny little kittens. Dory and her boys were found under a barn, she's a bit more feral than other mama cats that we've seen and she was REALLY skittish. The boys were already 8 weeks old, about the age we usually see them adopted. Dory was rarely seen on camera the first few days, she ran from FDJ and would come out briefly for food. When she was fixed at the shelter, they docked her ear because they weren't sure if she would be adoptable and the docked ear indicates she's been spayed. FDJ had to put a screen shot up of Dory so we'd know who to look for.

Dory in the middle, Dash left corner, Sully sleeping on the catcave. Link
Not only was she not sure about FDJ, she was also pushing her kittens away from her - what good feral mama cats do when her milk has dried up and it's time to move on. She would hiss at the kittens and sometimes swat if they came close to her. It was hard to see and the kittens were pretty confused.

But with patience, and slowly trusting that the room was safe, food was always available, she's really blossomed. She loves rubs from FDJ, runs to the door when she hears him. It's very sweet. Yesterday she even rolled onto her back to get some belly rubs. She plays with her kittens now that she knows they don't have to leave. FDJ figures she probably had a home, she responds to human things like rubbing fingers, but she probably spent the last two years on her own.

Such progress
So going back to Nothy... Bad times make the good times better. We've had a few moments that made us a little leaky with Dory. Seeing the first time she rubbed up against John, or when she forgot to be afraid and briefly showed her belly for the first time. Each of these things if done by other mama cats would be cute but not remarkable. With Dory, it means so much more.

If all goes well, the kittens will be adopted on Feb 22nd. They have been deemed a bonded pair and won't be separated. Dory would not do well with all the noise and confusion at a PetSmart for an adoption event. Instead, FDJ is going to personally take her to her family and show them how to win her over.

One aspect of adoption I struggle with is drawing up the list of what I want. I wouldn't do this if the child was biologically mine. I'd take what I was given by genetics. But with adoption, we need to decide on ages and challenges we can deal with and those that we can't. I struggle with finding the limit because my heart wants any children, but there are physical and developmental issues that would mean I'm not the right mom for that child. Mr. Lina struggles from having confidence in his own parenting that he could rise up to the challenges. His list limits where mine extends too far.

But he found himself thinking about adopting Dory (not really as she lives in Washington State). He thought he could find the love to overcome her challenges and be patient with her and how rewarding a head boop would be from a cat that had been so skittish.

And then he thought, if I could for a cat, why not for a child? I know there are miles of differences between a cat who could happily live in the corner of a bedroom and a child that needs to interact with the world, but it's facilitated a few conversations. Conversations that can be kind of scary.


  1. I'm confident that you both could easily handle any issues that come up from any child. We all do, whether they're our own or not. We're not born with an innate knowledge of how to deal with a special needs child--or even a non-special needs child--but we work it out as we go, because that's what being a parent is. You *can* do it, and don't write off the perfect child for you just because it's not the right age or the right genetic makeup or whatever--be open to anything and go with your gut. You'll all adapt and work together as a unit, you just have to trust yourselves and your abilities.

    *Hugs* and keep us posted on your adoptive journey!

    1. Oh believe me, I've got confidence and I've seen him with my friend who has Down's Syndrome, I know he has more patience than I do. I guess what the kittens have allowed is for him to reconsider things in a way that feels... safe. It's a good way to keep conversations going.

  2. I really love that this is helping him out. As an aunt of a Down's child, everyone tends to think that those who raise special needs children were always more patient and knew what they were getting into on Day 1. That is patently untrue. We just found what works best for our family, just like everyone else and just like you will. :)

    1. I completely understand. People rise to the occasion often because they have to not because they thought they could.


Thanks for your comments, I love to have a two way conversation. I seem to be getting a lot of spam from anonymous users and am turning off the ability to comment that way. I really would like to hear from you so if you do want to add your two cents without an OpenId, email me at seraphinalina at gmail dot com.