Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Proper Adoption

Meet Rocket J. (Rocky) Westbrook. Rocky is a six-year-old, Rat Terrier- Chihuahua mix. He is extremely well-behaved, neutered, housebroken and an all around very good dog.

I had been bugging DH about getting a dog (I was angling for a Chihuahua puppy but backed off because of the prices) for a few years. He was ready to give in and to pay $500 to $700 for a purebred puppy, but I decided to see what the annual adoption fair at the animal shelter had to offer. It was one of the best things I ever did.

Rocky had been the companion of an older gentleman whose health became too bad to care for his doggy. His children decided to put Rocky in the shelter after their Dad went into hospice care. Rocky was scheduled for euthanasia this week. He had been in the shelter since February.

He was the first small dog I saw when we walked in and he came right to me. All the dogs were yapping for attention and he was doing his best to yap louder. I didn't have to look any further, although Hubby was looking at a female, long-haired mixed breed of similar size, but I insisted that Rocky has chosen me. I was a "chosen adopter!"

He stopped the yapping the minute the shelter attendant gave me his leash. It cost $11.00 for license and senior citizen adoption fees, we were given a crate, food, collar and leash, medical history and tags which denoted that he had already been given a microchip, as well. We just had to call and register him. He jumped right into the car as if he knew he was going home. He investigated every room, when we walked into the house, and then came back to me and laid his head on my lap for petting, as if to say, "Thank You!"

Hubby fell in love right after I did. He took off to PetCo and spent about $130 on a new collar, leash, toys, snacks, a doggy jacket that fits him perfectly, a Christmas bandanna and other goodies. Yesterday, I took our new boon companion to the vet for a complete going over, blood and "other" tests, a cortisone injection for an allergy, flea and parasite medications, etc., to the tune of $261.00. I figure this is the most expensive $11.00 dog ever. But he is worth it.

Now, I don't call myself Rocky's "mommy" and he is an adult dog, but I think that this is the area in which adoption belongs. I didn't tear him away from his mother. I kept the name his first owner had given him and I am the grateful beneficiary of the care and training his former owner gave him. Rocky NEEDED rescuing. He deserved a chance to live to a ripe, old doggy age. It is now up to me to be a responsible dog owner. This is a proper adoption.

Children cannot be owned like that and that is what adoption of a child, especially infant adoption, seems to be. I have a friend who refers to her daughter's adopters as her owners because that is how they act. A child, a human being, is not and never should be a possession. To adopters whose adoptees are older, please remember that you took on a responsibility, not a right and not an ownership. If you can think in terms of what is "best" for the child, then try to understand what is best for the adult. Reconnecting with their mother is important for many adoptees and to assert ownership, to demand loyalty and gratitude is not the way real parents behave.

You didn't "rescue" a baby from certain death or destruction or a horrible life. You adopted to fill a need in YOUR life, so put that adult child's needs ahead of your own, this time, and let that relationship with their natural family happen. If you can't love that adoptee enough to do that, then it isn't a very "proper adoption."

To those who believe they MUST adopt, look into the millions of older children in foster care who truly need someone. Take them in and don't change their name or try to alter their identities and heritage. That womb-fresh infant is all about YOUR needs. Taking in an older child is about that child. That could be a proper adoption, although a legal guardianship would be even better.

You can own a dog, but you can't own a person.


Unknown said...

Be sure to note the date on your calendar, so that next year you can celebrate this truly wonderful Gotcha Day event. This is a wonderful adoption story, Robin. One of the best I have ever read, and if there is a grateful adoptee in the story, he will lick your hand and wag his tail to prove it. Happy Holidays, Dear Friend, and enjoy your new Family Member, who I am sure will end up owning the joint, as his peer in W. Texas does here. Princess Sophia wishes him a wonderul homecoming!

Robin said...

LOL, Sandy, his real birthday is in November (they had good records on him) and his "Gotcha Day" is in December and DH's birthday is in November. We are going to be celebrating fools this time next year. ;o)

Anonymous said...

What a lovely story! Celebrating Fools? Ain't no such thing, methinks, when families are involved and love abounds. My current handicap accessible home does not allow dogs, but my kitties are great comfort, and match my grey hairs. To jump discussions, when folks talk about the term "forever homes" I am reminded of the SPCA, as they use that term in this area, so I generally do not use it for people's family inclusions or adoptions. My forever home is this consciousness, then on to the next; or maybe not. It's an interesting year for celebrations. Party on, Sisters.

Marley Greiner said...

Welcome, Rocky! You've got a great new home. Love the picture. You look so happy!

Anonymous said...

We may be writing to the converted here, but anyway, please see the link >


Robin said...

Interesting post at your link, Anonymous. Verrier got a few things right, but her idea that adoption can be the right thing to do and that mothers need to apologize to their adult children gets a big thumbs down from us. We are not the "converted." We are the pioneers. We've been saying that adoption is not the warm, fuzzy, lovely thing that the industry and adopters say it is for years. We senior mothers were saying that when we were divested of our children, against our wishes, by coercion and shaming. What you are doing is preaching to other preachers.

I like your negative turn on international adoption. The truth is that many of these, so-called, "orphans" are children stolen from loving but poor families. These criminals see the crazy Gringos willing to pay big bucks for a little one that doesn't come with the baggage of a natural mother in the same country and they seek to fill the demand with a kidnapped product.

No one changed out minds about adoption. We felt, from the first, that our babies belonged with us. We were not given a choice in the matter.

Anonymous said...


I am trying to track down more on this story you mentioned on Daily Bastardette

I had this case mixed up with another case involving two natural children and one murdered adopted child from Laos. That happened two years ago and never made the papers, just the rounds of gossip.

Do you remember a name of the parents, was the child from Laos or Cambodia or Thailand?

Karen H

(you can post this comment or not... I just wanted to contact you somehow).

Robin said...

Karen, I have no idea where the child was born or the name of the parents. Let me check out the post and I will see if I remember anything. Senior problems, you know. LOL