We've been fostering kittens for nearly three months now. It's very rewarding to know that you are saving a life or three by taking these babies into your home and caring for them until they are big enough for adoption, but no matter how hard you try, you can't help but fall in love with them so the goodbyes at the end of the foster period are bittersweet. You're happy because you know you've given them just what they needed to thrive and blossom and be ready for adoption, but at the same time, you are very sad to see them go.
We've had Ivy and Lily for just over four weeks. We got them at four to five weeks old, so they were teeny tiny, and I honestly was concerned they weren't going to make it the first weekend I brought them home. But finally they started eating better and soon started thriving. Today was the day for them to go back to the shelter for their spay surgery so they'll be ready for adoption during our big city-wide Mega Adoption Event at the Fairgrounds this weekend. As we were loading them up in their carrier this morning, Livvie said, "Mama, my heart feels like it's going to break out of its chamber," with big fat tears running down her cheeks. So not only does my heart break from sending our little charges off to their new lives, but it breaks even more so for this little girl in particular. Livvie has definitely been the Mama to these babies. She's fed them, cleaned their litter box everyday, and played with them every day, knowing from day one that we would not be keeping them; our job was simply to help them grow strong and healthy and socialize them. Ivy and Lily are actually our second set of foster kittens we've had, but we had these two a little longer so Olivia got a little more attached. I asked her after the first two to let me know when she was ready for another set, so this was her choice. And I've told her that we'll wait until she's ready to do it again ... and until I'm ready to do it again, too! We're also currently fostering a dog, a sweet, crazy Pit/Boston Terrier mix named Lucee who was a long-timer at the shelter. Thankfully, we've found her a forever home and she'll be moving on to her new home at the end of this week.
I'm hoping that my girls are learning from these experiences. They're learning to care for someone, or something, outside themselves, they're learning how they can help out their communities, and hopefully, they're learning how to say goodbye, as difficult as it can be. I'm thankful I'm blessed with such sweet, big-hearted girls.
Update 7:00pm: When I came home today, Olivia had a little surprise for me. When she got home from camp, she got out a new journal and created "Olivia's Foster Journal." Inside were pages filled with hand drawn pictures, written descriptions, and favorite things for each of the fosters we've had so far. She is such a good little foster Mama! Melted my heart.