The word adoption is used interchangeably for the adding of a dog or a child to a family, for taking care of a highway by picking up the trash (adopt-a-highway) or enacting a piece of legislation. Over at Don’t We Look Alike, Luanne suggested a new word be created specifically for the adoption of a child to elevate it to a separate and distinct status. I agree and here’s why.
I’ve heard it said too many times that adoptive families are overly sensitive about the words used when it comes to talking about adoption. The reason for this is simple. We’re trying to ensure our children feel secure in their families and that they belong. When adoption is used to describe things unrelated to human family formation it undermines the validity of the adoption of a child.
About four years ago we decided, due to intense pressure from the children, that we needed a dog. We went to the local humane society, made friends with a handsome fellow, brought him home and in less than two days discovered we had an animal who didn’t like my husband or any other man. We couldn’t keep him.
When we broke the news that he was going back to the animal shelter one of our children said “But we adopted him! It’s like you’re giving one of us back.”
So don’t tell me language doesn’t matter. Don’t tell me that adoptees don’t care. Don’t tell me that people know the difference and that it’s all a matter of context.
Still not sure what all the fuss is about? Here’s an illustration to help you understand.
5 easy steps to adopting a pet
1. Contact an adoption facilitator.
2. Start a homestudy, find a licensed adoption practitioner (social worker) who will interview you and deem you adequate enough to proceed through the bureaucratic approval process and do the following:
- meet with the social worker for approximately 15 hours
- approach 5 friends and family members to provide written references
- obtain local and RCMP police clearances
- demonstrate adequate financial resources
- demonstrate good health
- complete a provincially sanctioned, 27 hour adoption parenting preparation course
- obtain provincial approval to proceed with your adoption
3. Pay fees to adoption facilitator, social worker and other agencies involved in the process.
4. Wait, minimally one year and possibly never, for a match.
5. Congratulations! You receive your pet – maybe.