Rescue babies

My Mollie is a rescue baby, and sometimes she makes me wonder “who rescued who?” Our first cat was a rescue of sorts (a friend had a stray and I needed a cat). Our second cat was another rescue of sorts (a couple needed to find homes for a litter of kittens).

So this past weekend at work, when my co-worker found a baby kitten that didn’t seem to have a mother, of course I said I’d take it home with me. One of our cats is nursing a kitten (we didn’t even know she was pregnant or had kittens until we encountered a random kitten near our RV), so I was hopeful we could get it to adopt this poor runty little stray. Our first cat took our second car under her wings, so I knew it was possible.

Well, the first night didn’t go very well. The mama cat hissed at the new baby. I gave it some wet cat food, and it licked up all the juice, so at least it wasn’t going to starve. The next morning, I took it up the hill to get some more wet food and try and get it to eat. The mama cat heard it crying, and came running. Mama started to grab the baby by the neck and take it to her hiding spot with her own kitten, but Mollie startled her. At this point, I knew there was hope, so I grabbed mama and stray kitten and held them both in my arms.

It worked!

Well, sort of.

I’m not 100% sure she is still nursing this baby. I am 100% certain she is protecting it from our other cats and from any dogs or chickens that get too close. The kitten was hungry enough that it ate some dry cat food yesterday morning, so we’re making sure to give the baby a chance to eat, helping mama guard it from any creature that would take the baby’s food. In mama’s defense, I think she is trying to wean her own kitten, so she is probably not letting either kitten nurse much.

We’ve left the tiny little baby with her, and it seems to be doing well, as long as we make sure it has the chance to eat until it’s full at least twice a day. It is a very curious and adventurous little thing, far more sociable than its adopted sibling. I’ve named her Peaches, in honor of the fact that she was found at a fruit stand.

I’m glad this worked out so well. I was starting to fear we were going to have to go buy kitten milk replacement formula and feed the little runt with a dropper, letting it stay in a crate in our new house until it was big enough to fend for itself. I’m allergic to cats, so keeping it inside wasn’t something I was excited about doing. Now, we have a new addition to our rodent elimination army, and that helps keep snakes away from our living areas (which is never a bad thing).

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Learning from others

I recently read a post from The Eco-Feminist that talked about her journey to becoming a mother. As an adopted child, it gave me a glimpse into what my own mother went through to become my mother. It made me cry, it made my heart swell with love, and it made me so fucking proud of the woman I know as mom.

I sent my mom an email with a link to that post, and a little bit of mushy “I love you” stuff about how I had never really thought about what she went through to adopt me.

Well, I had occasion to think about it again yesterday. I called my mom, just a routine “how are you, I love you” call. She answered the phone with “I was wondering if you’d call today”….

…which sent me into a panic, wondering what the hell I was forgetting that I totally shouldn’t be forgetting.

Turns out, yesterday was the anniversary of the day she and my dad took 3-month-old me home from foster care and became my parents.

side note: to make it even better, that day was also my mom’s father’s birthday. I miss my Papa. He was so cool!

I had never thought about that day as a big deal, because I am not a mother and never much wanted to be a mother. However, as I talked to my mom, I realized that it was a big fucking deal to her. I asked her if she had read that post, and she said that she did. She said that she could absolutely relate, and she was happy that this wonderful woman has a chance to become a mother at last.

Had I never read that post, I might have gone the rest of my life not really thinking about what my mom went through to become my mom.I mean, logically, I know that adoption is a long and drawn out process. I knew that there was paperwork, and social workers, and home visits, and more paperwork, and financial disclosures, and appointments, and more paperwork. But I had never thought about the emotional aspect.

Maybe because my mother always struck me as so very pragmatic, I never thought about how much hope and fear she went through trying to adopt a child. My mom was always fairly emotionally reserved in front of people. Throughout the six years of daddy’s illness, I never saw her cry for very long, I never saw her despair, I never saw her really seem like she was overwhelmed and on the verge of a total breakdown.

My adoption was always presented to me in a very matter-of-fact way. I’ve always known I was adopted, for as long as I can remember. The DFACS (Department of Family and Children’s Services) office had given my mom a little box set of books to help her explain to me that I was adopted (I still have those books); even before I could read, I knew those books were for me and they were about being adopted. It was always explained to me that I was not unwanted by my biological mother; she just knew that she, at 16 years old, couldn’t take care of a child as she would WANT to take care of a child and so she gave that child up for adoption in the hopes that this child would indeed be taken care of as a child should be cared for.

I always felt fortunate and loved. I was loved so much by two mothers that one of them went through the hell of giving up her child, and the other went through the hell of the adoption process to become the mother of that child. I was fortunate, because that child was me. Anytime anyone ever asked me if I ever wanted to know about my “real” parents, I was rather befuddled, because in my mind I HAD real parents. My mom and dad are the only mom and dad I’ve ever known, and they were damn fine parents. They were my real parents; I couldn’t understand why people didn’t think that mom and dad were my real parents. Of course I always had curiosity about my biological parents, but I never felt any overriding need to know more or meet them. I had my parents, and that was that. I understood that opening up the sealed case files might cause that woman great pain, as she might not have told her current family that she had once given up a child; or it might cause her great pain to know that I merely wanted to meet her to satisfy curiosity but had no need of a relationship with her.

side note: my mom offered repeatedly to help me have the files unsealed. I never took her up on it. I had a mom, and that was that.

After I hung up the phone, I went into the calendar function on my phone. I set a reminder for a yearly event for yesterday’s date, so that I can call my mom on her dad’s birthday every year from now on, and thank her for becoming my mom. I wasn’t always a good kid, because addiction is a motherfucker. No matter how much hell I put my mother through, she never quit loving me. I am the luckiest shithead in the world, because my adoptive mom is the truest definition of “mother” I have ever known of, and I am so grateful for that.

So this year, as Father’s Day approaches, I am thinking about my mother. That woman amazes me. She loved me no matter what. She raised three children basically on her own, because my father was sick for many years before he died; she had to be both mother and father to us. I couldn’t ask for a more wonderful mom; and I’ll have to make it a point to call her on father’s day and thank her for being her wonderful, beautiful self that did the job of two parents for a large portion of my childhood.

final note: I’m about to cry now, so I’m going to go clean house or something to distract myself so I don’t cry because I am fighting a sinus infection that is causing some really ugly vertigo as a result.