Darcy has been with us for little more than a week but seems to be quite in control of the whole re-homing situation and very decisive about where she will sit, how close she will get to Maisie, our Old English Sheepdog, and whose lap is worth a visit. She has even established her place in my study - so I find myself apologising to her if I dare to put anything on the desk to the right of my laptop. Or carefully pulling my notes out from under her as she sleeps. Her place by the keys, watching my fingers as if about to pounce, is something of a compromise. I'm relieved we could come to a point of agreement - her first preference was to sleep across the keypad.
We first saw a picture of Darcy on the Cats' Protection League website along with information about 'adopting a cat'. I have worked with children in the care system and three of our children have been adopted by us so that phrase set my teeth on edge. Adoption as I see it is a completely different experience. It is taking a fragile human being into the family to be our own child, building bonds as strong and secure as those for our dear much-loved offspring. It is nurturing and loving a hurting small person and reaching out beyond the defences that they put up, helping them to be able to receive all we have to offer. It is a lifetime's joy to see them develop and change.
Paul wrote in Romans 8:
The Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.'
It is not my cat which comes to mind when I read that verse. Instead, I think of my Heavenly Father making a much better job of adopting me than I have done with my children. For Him, adoption means accepting me as I am, nurturing me, helping me when I am hurting and finding me when I feel lost. And loving me - really loving me so deeply that in Him I find security. Perfect parenting.
But don't worry, cat lovers, Mr H and I will look after our cat well and she will have a safe place to live and a lovely unruly garden to explore. We will give her affection, food and warmth and she will repay us with her rich purr and, who knows, maybe a dead mouse or two if she finds one. She will grace us with her presence when she wants to and find the warmest comfiest places in the house.
She's just Darcy, our lovely cat.
Annie Try is the pen-name of Angela Hobday who is the Chair of the Association of Christian Writers. Her new novel, Trying to Fly, is full of trauma, mystery and romance will be out in January 2017 published by Instant Apostle.