Little girl asks the kindly neighbors if they want to be her grandparents and they let her "adopt" them

by Mark Bennett

June 14, 2022

Little girl asks the kindly neighbors if they want to be her grandparents and they let her "adopt" them
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When you grow up as an only child, you often miss having a playmate, a little brother or sister, or simply a friend in the neighborhood with whom you can share many wonderful adventures. Katelynn Martinez lived with her father and her mother - a loving family she could rely on, but at the same time a "lonely" family: Katelynn had no siblings or even grandparents. In fact, she had no other relatives except her parents. Her father also worked as a truck driver, so he was often away, travelling for his work. Little Katelynn wanted someone to talk and play with besides her mother, and luckily she found that her elderly neighbors were a very friendly couple.

via Instagram / Humans of New York

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Humansofny/Instagram

Humansofny/Instagram

Katelynn had a loving family, but she lacked the reassuring figures of a grandfather and grandmother in her life. And this is perhaps why she developed an incredible bond with Arlene and Bill, an elderly couple who lived next door to her. The couple had never had any children, and they were immediately friendly with Katelynn. One of the first interactions she had with them - and which Katelynn remembers very well - is chatting to Arlene while she was tending to her strawberries in her garden.

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Humansofny/Instagram

Humansofny/Instagram

As the days went by, Katelynn and the couple greeted each other more frequently and chatted more often but always seperated by the garden fence - until they began to get even closer and built a more lasting relationship. Katelynn walked around to their house every day, even if it was just to say hello. And Arlene and Bill were always more than happy to see her.

One day, little Katelynn asked the elderly couple something that moved them deeply: "Do you want to be my grandparents?".

Humansofny/Instagram

Humansofny/Instagram

Bill and Arlene couldn't hold back their tears at that sweet question: they both had never had children and the idea of having a granddaughter warmed their hearts. Of course, they could never "adopt" Katelyn as grandparents, as they had no blood ties and Katelynn already had a mother and father. But Bill came up with an idea about making it as "official" as possible. The grandfather printed a made-up adoption certificate to hang in the living room: "Arlene & Bill are now officially adopted by Katelynn".

That certificate hung there for more than a decade, testifying to the bond between Katelynn and the couple. Arlene and Bill have always encouraged her to follow her passions, whether it be painting or sewing; Bill also offered to give her driving lessons once she grew up. In short, Arlene and Bill acted like the grandparents Katelynn had never had.

Qwennigan/Instagram

Qwennigan/Instagram

Katelynn once confided to the couple that she wasn't sure that she wanted to go to college due to the high costs, but Arlene encouraged her to apply anyway. The young woman did not know that she and Bill had saved up in order to give her the necessary funds to continue her studies. Before leaving for college, however, she Katelynn wanted to know why Arlene and Bill had never had children.

The two "grandparents" had had a difficult childhood and life: Arlene had had problems with alcohol, resolved only in her late adulthood, when it was too late to start a family. Both of them financially helped the young Katelyn during her college years and beyond.

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Humansofny/Instagram

Humansofny/Instagram

Unfortunately, sad news came in 2013: Bill called Katelynn to tell her that Arlene had passed away - and it was only two days before the date of their adoption anniversary.

During the woman's funeral, Bill confessed to the young woman that raising her as their granddaughter was the greatest joy that he and his wife had had. Katelyn could never have imagined that she had filled such a huge void in the life of this couple, and this is one more reason why she will never forget them.

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