We are told in Chapter 17 that after a time of sixteen years, Godfrey Cass, married now to Nancy but without children, unfortunately, dreams of adopting Eppie for his and Nancy's daughter. However, we are given access to Nancy's point of view, who is extremely reluctant to consider such an option and manages to persuade her husband not to proceed with this plan. Her point of view is as follows:
To adopt a child, because children of your own had been denied you, was to try and choose your lot in spite of Providence: the adopted child, she was convinced, would never turn out well, and would be a curse to those who had wilfully and rebelliously sought what it was clear that, for some high reason, they were better without.
This is her opinion that she sticks to, in spite of her husband's pleadings and arguments otherwise. So, Godfrey Cass, hoping to perhaps make amends for his past actions and salve his guilt, now wants to adopt Eppie and give her what should have always been hers.