A Day in the Life of a Foster Family

Beth and Matt Penna adopted a hound mix named Rookie from us last year. Since that time Beth has become an active volunteer and the family has jumped on board as a volunteer foster family. Just recently the Penna’s decided to adopt Gilmore, a cat we saved from near death.

To set the scene Matt and Beth agreed to foster a kitten from us named Antoinette. This is less than a week after Antoinette moved in with them.

A Day In The Life of a Foster Family
By Beth Penna
Genre: Non-fiction

Scene takes place on living room couch Monday night. End of a fun but busy day.

Characters: A loving middle class family. Typical people of middle class; middle aged. Husband just turned 50 on July 28, a week ago. Perhaps he is ready to embrace a loving aspect of himself as never before. There is a wife (MUCH YOUNGER than her husband, of course) and 2 children ages 8 and 3 1/2.

A large, much-loved hound mix dog (Rookie) is relaxing and resting his head on wife's lap. As the couple relaxes and talks at the end of the day, a silver tabby kitten (Antoinette) jumps onto the couch right in front of the large dog's face, stares him down eye-to-eye and then scampers boldly over his back and onto husband's shoulder. She purrs into the husband’s ears and settles into his arms. She blinks eye kisses while staring into his eyes, then brings her face to his chin and brushes her little whiskers against his face. She is purring blissfully on his stomach with her head turned in against his heart. His shoulders visibly relax and he takes a breath as all the miles, work hassles and worries of the day melt away. The dog slowly lifts his head, looks over at the kitten, then puts his head back down on wife's lap with a big dog exhale.

Husband pauses a moment as if to ready himself for an uncertain reaction from his wife. He wants to speak and is not quite sure what she will say. Will she tease him? He doesn't know but as he looks down at the kitten, he decides to take the risk and say the words, but he must be careful and guarded so as not to compromise his position of authority. He finds just the right way to speak what is on his mind without revealing too much commitment to his true intentions.

When neither child can hear him, he says, "Do you think these two can co-habitat?"

He watches the wife's face. Her confusion at his words is typical. She asks for clarification. "You mean the two kids? Do you mean us two?" He doesn't answer, just holds her eyes with his gaze.

"Oh, you mean Rookie and this kitten?" He nods with a slight smile. He hopes she will just fill in the conversation for him, as she often will.

"Well, the kitten has been doing very well with him, you did already re-name her (Jamba) and I got a collar for her. But Matt, she gets along with everybody, everywhere. She would have no problem getting adopted right away." The wife's eyes slid up and to the right as they always do when she is recalling a scene in her mind. This time she was re-living the events that took place an hour earlier. Neighbors had gathered in her driveway because the family who used to live across the street were visiting from Texas and had stopped by.

Wife had brought the kitten out to be held by the group. At least two different people were ready to adopt her on the spot as they passed the kitten around and received her kitten kisses and charm.

Wife, "But if you decide you want to keep her, it's okay with me."
Husband, "Of course it is," with a disgusted little snort and eye roll.

7AM Next morning in kitchen.

Wife wakes up and makes coffee. She is letting hound mix out into yard and begins to prepare breakfast, plug in computer to check e-mails. Husband enters room from downstairs where he was working in his office. He got behind on his sales report for last week. He wanted to stay up last night, but a cat named Gandolf (originally Gilmore and recently adopted from AEAR) started grooming him while he was saying goodnight. Husband was lured into a happy, tired sleep.

He says good morning to wife, silver tabby kitten in arms. Wife happens to be e-mailing AEAR, a rescue group who sent the kitten to them to be fostered. She thinks of the conversation the night before, and wants to settle the issue once and for all.

WIFE " Do you want me to have them take this kitten off the web site?" (Thinking it would be a nice belated birthday gift.)

HUSBAND No words, but a big smile. Snuggles the kitten a little closer.

WIFE "Because she really is a crowd-pleaser. She's going to get adopted right away.
Wife looks at husband’s face. He still doesn't answer, so she decides to take an indirect approach. She knows the man will never say, "Yes adopt her.”

WIFE "Did you see what see what Jamba (the kitten's new name) did to Reno (young black and white cat the couple bought two years ago)?

HUSBAND His face lights up and animatedly he describes the cats playing.

"Reno was on his back with his paws stretched out. The Kitten was hiding then charging at him. It was so cute to see Reno with his stomach in the air pawing at her."

Wife smiles calmly and watches her husband walk upstairs to get ready for another day. He has forgotten to eat his breakfast. As he walks up the stairs an eight-year-old boy is sitting on the top steps and asks, "Are we adopting the kitten?"

"Daddy will have to think about it", he says.

The wife is thinking to herself, "Better a great kitten than a red corvette and a mistress...."


Footnote: Beth e-mailed this story to her husband at work. Within hours she received an e-mail back. It said, “Let’s adopt the kitten. I love you, Matthew.”

Date: August 08, 2009
Posted By: Beth Penna

View All Blog Entries

View All Adoptable Pets »

"We Need Homes!"