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Miracle: The saga of Talia

By Kay S. Pedrotti One heartbroken 12-year-old had just named her new kitten after her hero when the tiny little white cat disappeared from the Hatten home in Barnesville. Photographer Jan Hatten, mother of Alexandria, 12, and Victoria, 14, tells the story of how her younger daughter survived the death of a beloved pet some months ago, adopted a new kitten, named it, lost it and got it back with what Alexandria called a miracle. ’The kitten appeared on the steps of the church,’ Jan said, ‘when we were visiting the Church of the Nazarene in Barnesville. Woody Horst took it home and said we could come and look at it, knowing Alexandria had been wanting a new cat. When I told Alexandria there was a kitten who had appeared on the church steps, she said, ‘˜Well, that’s a sign.” It was love at first sight between Alexandria and the little white fur-ball. Jan said her daughter took a while to come up with a name. ‘She kept telling me there was nothing that felt right, even though she’d written down two pages of incredible names.’ Alexandria, Victoria and many other young people had been following on facebook the tragic story of cancer-fighter Talia Joy Castellano, 13, of Orlando, Fla., who lost the battle the day after Alexandria named her kitten Talia. ’I know Alexandria picked the name as a way of honoring this brave girl, who refused to wear wigs and used makeup for an upbeat appearance. She also may have felt it was her way of keeping Talia Castellano close to her heart a little longer,’ Jan noted. Then the unthinkable happened ‘“ in the midst of pool construction work at their home, Talia disappeared. They looked everywhere. Jan began to think the little one would have a lot of trouble finding her way back to a place she’d been only a week or so. Nevertheless, mother and daughters prayed every night for the kitten’s safe return. When they took a brief trip to the beach, Jan said, ‘Jean Dukes, Ginger Lifsey, the pool guys and other people kept looking for her and would give us a report every day.’ Jan notified The Herald Gazette and the kitten’s photo and the story of how she came to be named Talia was posted on Enter the miracle. Candy Babcock, a staff member at Gordon State College, saw the kitten’s picture on Babcock had just found a new kitten in Barnesville. ’She called me,’ Jan said, ‘and said, ‘˜there’s no doubt I have your kitten.’ She was so sweet. It turns out she lives in Griffin, and had Talia at her home. We never would have found her.’ Jan and Babcock arranged to meet on the college campus for the kitten return, ‘but I didn’t tell Alexandria anything about it. She just thought we were going for a golf cart ride.’ ’When Alexandria saw little Talia, she just went crazy,’ Jan said, ‘jumping up and down and crying tears of joy. We believe somewhere in God’s care is another Talia who’s happy for my daughter.’

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