I sincerely hope you are enjoying this series of emails as much as I am enjoying sharing them with you.
Oh, adoption! Such a beautiful, complicated and integral part of the circle of life!
(I certainly hope this doesn’t rub you the wrong way, but yes, I am going to compare some attributes of adopting animals with adopting/fostering humans here. It’s all relevant, in my opinion!)
So, every time I’ve sought to adopt a dog from a rescue society, I knew that everyone was going to want those cute, wiggly, soft-eared puppies. Puppies and kittens practically get adopted in the blink of an eye. They are completely irresistible!
Something inside me has always led me to adopt “older” dogs. I’m so pleased that my son has followed suit and is an “older” cat adopter:) The greatest benefit to this practice is, no house-breaking! These non-puppy/kitten-aged animals already have that essential skill, well hopefully!
The flip side is, they bring some hidden history that makes them have certain inexplicable behaviors, so you have to be extra-aware and uber-kind. And give them extra-extra love!
When you get a puppy/kitten, they pretty much have a clean slate with little to no “mysterious past” issues to be concerned with.
When you adopt an older animal, enough time has elapsed that there could have been tumultuous experiences for that creature. This makes adoption (and fostering) all that much more important, and often more challenging.
I am of the deep opinion that all humans AND animals deserve a chance to thrive in a loving home, whether they are given that chance from birth or not.
That’s why adopting and fostering is SO INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT, people!!
Although I was adopted at a very young six weeks, I still suffered, albeit on a short-term basis. According to Helen, my adoptive mom, my foster mother was “working the system” and used the money she got to support me not with good formula (which was expensive) but with evaporated milk (which was comparatively cheap), which made me viciously colicky!! I certainly don’t hold some 50+ year grudge against that woman because she also must have been experiencing hard times and found some way (however misguided) to try to make ends meet.
Also, they did not hold me. They propped the bottle up in my bassinet.
If you do any research, you’ll confirm quickly that a human baby experiences myriad changes in the first weeks and months of life and needs to bond by being held; I did not consistently have this need met until I was welcomed into my adoptive family. Helen said I was so stiff and it took some time for me to relax into being held!
The research is fascinating and also heartbreaking. Brief PSA here: hold those babies!!
When you know, you know…
If you have gone to a shelter and looked at prospective animals, visiting with them in the special rooms, you have likely felt that experience of when you “knew” you’d met the right animal, the one who was meant to live in your home forever!
Bob and Helen Leary had that, too. While working with the Canadian adoption agency, they were offered a perfectly healthy baby girl to adopt, but they TURNED THAT BABY DOWN because she wasn’t “Ryan”!
I know that these days that would be unheard of, but that was 1970…anyway, lucky for me because when they were offered a less-healthy looking, runny-nosed, colicky baby girl, they jumped up and said, “Yes!! SHE’S OUR RYAN!”
Every single day I feel incredibly lucky and blessed because of the gift of adoption. And of that gut feeling you get when you KNOW. Thanks, Bob and Helen, for KNOWING.
And finally, remember how in my video I said that I so wanted my birth mother to know she’d made the absolute right decision to put me up for adoption? Well, stay tuned…because next week I have a special gift for you!
For your Thanksgiving present, I will share more of our “finding each other” story plus the reunion video of when I met my amazing birth mom for the first time. Ok, technically for the second time:)
GET OUT THE KLEENEX.
Thanks for all the “likes” of this month’s Nonprofit Shoutout social media posts! Keep it up!
All month long on my FB page and Instagram, we have been highlighting the Texas-based nonprofit Carrying Hope. What an amazing organization that supports kids in the foster program! With your mouse you can support them: like/follow them on Facebook!
***This Friday at 12pm CST, live on Organizing4Good FB page, we will interview the Executive Director Kristin Finan! (And this will be the last live interview in the Nonprofit Shoutout series for 2022)