Bonding Through Adoption

by Bob Burch

Oona and Mabel at home

 

When Kimberly decided to adopt a new kitty for Christmas, she looked at the photos on Dakin’s “Adopt a Pet” web page, searching for one who would be perfect.  And there she saw Nala, a two year old orange tabby who was blind and missing an eye.  She took this moment as a sign that Nala was supposed to be their cat. It was only recently that she and her husband Nate had adopted a daughter named Mabel from China, who also has one eye and no vision.

When she arrived at Dakin the next day, Kimberly made a beeline for Nala, but was dismayed to learn that someone had paid for a 24-hour adoption “hold” on her.  When she explained to the adoption counselor why she felt so drawn to Nala, the counselor called the person who had Nala on hold, relayed the story, and that person graciously withdrew their claim so Nala could join Kimberly and Nate’s busy Leverett household that includes six children (ages 2-22 years old, including another adopted daughter, Amelia, who has retinopathy), a Corgi named Tubby and a cat named Sammy.

The family had recently lost their beloved cat Mr. PussPuss, and Kim was inspired by her late pet when considering a name change for Nala.  “Somehow, I felt like she was an Irish cousin of his, so we named her Oona McPussPuss,” laughs Kimberly.

“It’s always lovely to see my kids interacting with a kitty,” she says.  “Adoption is a family thing for us.  It bonds us to focus on one thing - this pet - and what they’re thinking.  The kids learn to be empathetic.  It’s not unlike adopting a child.  You have to go slow and give them time to bond because they’ve probably just undergone a traumatic experience."

 This good advice is working.  Kimberly reports that the new arrival is doing fine and getting a bit better every day as she settles in.  She describes Oona's personality as "quirky and loving."

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