Kathryn van Beek shares her story of adopting a tiny baby and becoming a family overnight.
Whether you adopt from overseas, make a baby in a lab or push one out your pudendum, getting a baby is not easy.
Simply finding an infant is the most hassle-free method to acquire a baby. And even in this day and age, even in developed countries, people find babies on their doorsteps with surprising regularity. (Google it if you don’t believe me.)
But I found my baby on the footpath.
I was trudging home from work one grey Auckland day. Clouds huddled overhead and the ground was slick with rain. I turned a corner and there he was, lying on the pavement, helpless and alone. He was cold but he was still alive. I picked him up and realised his umbilical cord was still attached.
Obviously, I knocked on a couple of doors to check that he didn’t belong to anyone. But no one knew where he’d come from, so I took him home.
My husband tore home from work with bottles and formula. We warmed, fed and settled the baby and put him down in a makeshift bed. It felt like a dream, so I set an alarm to make sure I’d remember to check on him during the night. I needn’t have worried – he woke us every two hours with a cry that seemed too loud for his little body.
We considered turning him over to the authorities, but we didn’t feel that anyone else could love and care for him as much as we could. So we kept quiet.
We discussed names and settled on Bruce. It’s a family name, and it’s also the name of that famous orphan, Bruce Wayne.
We quickly got into a routine. We turned the study into a nursery, bought a new jug to make it easier to sterilize all those bottles, and surrendered to the constant washing and feeding. I’d never understood why new mums say it’s difficult to find time for a shower, but within a few days I’d resigned myself to living in pyjamas, my hair in a greasy knot, my dignity abandoned.
I told my boss we were having a family emergency and she was really good about letting me work from home a couple of days a week. The other days, I packed a ‘mum bag’ with bottles, formula, baby wipes, hand sanitizer, blankets and toys each morning and dropped Bruce off to spend the day with caregivers.
As much as we loved our new arrival, it was a stressful time. On top of the sleep deprivation and the uneasy feeling that we weren’t really qualified to look after the little guy, Bruce started getting sick – really sick. It was touch and go during those first few weeks, and we spent a lot of time anxiously sitting in the waiting room at the emergency vet.
Vet? Oh yes, Bruce has a tail.
Because it turns out that the easiest, most uncomplicated, hassle-free to way to acquire a baby is to find a kitten.
Bruce the Cat has over 32,000 followers on Facebook and Kathryn van Beek (his adoptive mum) has written a children’s book about his story. You can visit the ‘Bruce Finds A Home’ crowdfunding page on Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kathrynvanbeek/bruce-finds-a-home
Click here to see Bruce in action on You Tube.