Adopt don’t Shop…
This phrase has always wound me up. And it winds me up even more now. When thinking about getting a puppy lots of people will share the news or discuss options with friends and family and I would bet my right arm that at some point, somewhere within these discussions, the idea of rescuing a dog will arise. It’s an option isn’t it? One which seems to be growing massively of recent (which, don’t get me wrong, I am very happy about). Where dogs are concerned (or, to be fair, lots of domestic animals – if you’ve ever been told you are 145th in line for the adoption or a bunny you’ll know what I mean) we seem to be able to look past snarling, possible biting, not being toilet trained, being unable to co-habit peacefully with other animals and coming with a host of medical and behavioural problems. We look past ‘looks’ and temperament and size and age and we are encouraged, wholeheartedly to adopt. However…do you think that anyone has been a fly on the wall of a conversation about a couple wanting to try for a baby and someone telling them not to do that, but to adopt? I would say that that fly would be hard to find.
Now, before anyone thinks that I am calling our foster children dogs or animals or even likening them to them, then please untwist your knickers and jump off that high horse. This is obviously not what I am saying. But if you are asking whether children in the foster care system deserve to be campaigned for, fought for, cared for and spoken out for then I am afraid the answer is a resounding yes. I feel sometimes that children in care are almost the ‘forgotten ones’. I see so many animal activists on social media platforms ranting and raving about fox hunting and wearing fur yet I don’t seem to see that same passion for our children. Am I wrong? If I am and someone follows children’s activists on a social media platform then please point me in their direction because I would really love to have my viewpoint evened out.
As a rough number there are about 80,000 children in foster care at the moment. Children who are displaced, traumatised, fearful and incredibly anxious. Due to this, some (not all) display behaviours which are hard to manage, behaviours which, yes, might interrupt your Sunday Roast or which may delay your trip to the beach or may just simply make you want to pull your hair out but, these are children who need you to care. Care about their futures, care that they are missing parents who they completely understand have hurt them, care that they remain (where appropriate) with siblings. We don’t put photos of children in the foster care system on social media platforms or splash them across nationwide television adverts but just because you can’t see their faces doesn’t mean they aren’t there. That they don’t need you to care enough to open your home and do something which is both absolutely petrifying and also absolutely incredible.
Now, I am not going to try and come up with a catchy saying which rivals ‘Adopt don’t Shop’ because, quite frankly, our young people deserve better than to be just a campaign slogan, but I will ask anyone who is reading this that is not a Foster Carer, to think about whether you care enough to make a difference.