I’m going to begin my letter with a true story that may leave you wondering what this has to do with November being Adoption Awareness Month. Hopefully by the time I close, it will come together.
This past spring, my children and I decided we wanted to adopt a kitten from our local animal shelter, after passing their sign every day advertising a need for good homes. Upon arriving, I was told there were approximately 700 kittens alone that come through the shelter every spring. After looking in the eyes of many, I found a kitten I could not break my gaze away from. After the attendant allowed me to hold her, she instantly started purring madly and hugging me tightly. I could barely put her down in order to fill out the application and pay a reasonable adoption fee. Two days later she was ours! Being too young to receive her sterilization surgery at the time of her adoption, I had to make an appointment to bring her back in 8 weeks. So, as scheduled, I bring her back in for her appointment. While dropping her off, I stated to the attendant, “I’m glad we’re getting this taken care of, I think I saw the neighbor cat prowling around.” The attendant’s head WHIPS UP, and she says to me, “WHY WAS THE CAT OUTSIDE?” So, after that tongue lashing, I stutter, “Well, well…she’s a cat and she likes to go outside and play and get fresh air too??!!” At that point I was PROMPTLY told their cats are indoor friends only, and if I was going to continue to allow my cat outdoors, I would have to bring her back.
Being a mom to 3 adopted children, I’ve thought a lot about this scenario. Number one, wouldn’t it be WONDERFUL if we could pass a sign daily, reminding people of the number of children who are adequately taken care of, but still, not part of a PERMANENT loving family? I’ve often thought, as a society, we have more “animal rights” awareness, than we do “children’s rights” awareness. It seems to me, we have become a society of being too politically correct, and it makes people uncomfortable to think about children not having loving, permanent homes. So as I think of my beautiful pure white cat with one blue eye and one green eye, who is very loved, overfed, and who, yes, goes outside to play as she wishes, I’m reminded that while I’m not the perfect parent to my cat, there is NO DOUBT, she has HER perfect life.
And if you believe that you can’t make a difference in a child’s life, you are wrong. Where there is a will, there is a way! The resources are out there, to give you the tools to be successful. My best advice is start by contacting Marion County Children Services. They can best advise and educate you on the process of fostering and adopting and get you started.
Yes indeed, Kitty and I sleep well at night. I know there is ONE LESS homeless lost Kitty “in the system.”
I hope upon reflection, it was obvious I used the story of my adopted kitten, to convey the thought; you do NOT have to be perfect, to be the perfect parent.
Jodi Fidler is a foster and adoptive parent with Marion County Children Services. Potential parents are reminded that children in foster care don’t need perfection; they need the commitment and love a “forever family” can provide. To learn more contact the Placement Unit at 740-389-2317. Or visit www.marionkids.com.