One of my sisters is four years younger than me. She has always been nurturing and kind and it’s no surprise she is a nurse. She married a Texas Ranger in Houston, Texas. They each settled into their new careers, saved for a down payment, and purchased a home in a section of town with good schools and rising property values.

I went to visit them one summer and asked Patricia and Jesse why they had chosen to purchase a four-bedroom home which seemed too large for just two people. I’ll never forget Jesse’s booming laugh as he explained, “To fill it up!”

Patricia and I come from a family of eight children and while I don’t know how many children they wanted they told me this was a starter home and they’d move to a larger home after the three bedrooms were filled.

As it turns out, there were fertility problems and after many years of living in a home with those three empty bedrooms, they decided to adopt.

Patricia had training as a neonatal nurse and said she would take medically fragile children. They would take babies or toddlers, any color of the rainbow, though their preference was for African-American kids, whoever needed a home was fine with them. Despite owning a house, having two good jobs, and their willingness to take any child who needed a home, it took years until they were able to adopt their first little boy. One became two and finally three and by then their house was filled and that was that.

My mother used to tell me that anything worth having was worth waiting for. Weeks turned into months and then into years until Patricia finally completed her family. All those babies she didn’t get weren’t hers to have. She got the exact family she needed and those kids got the parents who were best for them.

How many of you feel like my sister? You are ready to adopt a dog. You can afford the vet bills and food, you have so much love to give, a fenced yard, the time and the willingness to train them, and you are open to breeds and ages, colors and size. You just want a dog. Why does it have to be so hard?

All I can say is to hang in there. We have people who waited for three or four months to add a dog to their family. They’d look at the pictures and read the bios and be convinced they had found “their” dog or puppy. They followed the rules, got to the shelter as early as possible, signed up, and waited. And waited. Each time they were told the dog had just been adopted by another person. They were “the almost family” a number of times. But then it happened.

Maybe she was a little older than they thought they wanted. Or he was much smaller than their dog who had died. Or they had said no puppies but there they were driving off with a puppy in the back. Your dog really is waiting. He might not yet be born or maybe she was just surrendered to the high-kill shelter in Kentucky and will be on the next transport here. You just never know.