Fostering and adoption are both near and dear to my heart. Our dogs are adopted. I love the idea of fostering, and probably will foster once a teen or two leaves home. Or we’ve moved to the country (please God let us move to the country!).
But today, since the dog shelter class has not yet been scheduled, I’d like to step away from dogs for a moment and tell you a little bit more about my heart.
I love the idea of fostering and adoption in general, not just for animals.
When I was a girl, my step-dad adopted me, making me his daughter. I think I was eight years old. I think I had to go to court and tell the judge that I wanted to be adopted, wanted to have his last name. From that point on he was Dad. I belonged to a family again.
My husband has two little sisters adopted from another country. They belong to a family, and have for more than 20 years.
Many times, after having my husband neutered, we discussed adopting more children, giving them a home and a family. Three just didn’t seem like enough children. Truth be told, growing up I was convinced I’d have six boys. Turns out two boys was plenty.
I’ve had more friends than I can’t count who have adopted children, from a multitude of countries, as well as in-state, via DHS, both babies and older children. Their stories are amazing. A-MA-ZING. I rejoice when they rejoice and cry when they cry. Heart break and all, those children belong to families now.
I have a variety of friends who foster babies and small children. Many of their stories are less than amazing. I’m convinced that there’s a very special place in Heaven for moms who take care of someone else’s child for a brief period of time, then let them go, having their hearts ripped out. Over and over.
I’m also convinced that there’s a very special place in Hell for a lot of parents whose children make it into the foster system in America. I’ve heard a ton of stories and they are NOT pretty, people.
One of my foster friends is Bella’s mom. Y’all remember Bella, my favorite Aussie?
Her mama is foster mom to an adorable little three year old and I’m one of two people lucky enough to be certified (that’s probably not the right word, but I took a class and they ran a background check) to sit the foster daughter. Let me tell you – when that little girl has to either go back into the system or be adopted by a different family, after more than a year with this family. it’s going to rip MY heart out. Seriously. She needs to belong to a family that won’t harm and abuse her.
And there ya go. Families hurt each other. They hurt their children. I’m hurting one of my children by making her ride the city bus to work. Sometimes pain is necessary for growth. Abuse, however, is not. I heard it put best when someone said that dentists, by filling a cavity or pulling a tooth, inflict necessary pain. Temporary pain. In order to avoid long term, permanent harm.
So here’s where I bring this back to dogs. I know there are plenty of us in the choir who adopt and foster. But there’s someone reading this who maybe thinks they can’t keep the dog or cat they currently have. Please, please ask yourself why. I’m asking why. Will keeping this animal harm them? Or is it somehow going to harm you or your family? Or can you get through a tight spot and it will just hurt for a bit? Or, like so many parents whose children wind up with DHS, would it benefit you to take obedience (parenting) classes with your dog instead of sending it away? You might find that’s the best solution in order to have a best friend for the rest of its life.
Think about it. Please. Be honest with yourself.
Until I write again …