Tuesday, 21 June 2011

The importance of pets in an adoption

Today on the blog we hear from Hazel, an adoptive mother who reflects back on meeting her son and daughter for the first time and explains why she feels pets play an important part adoption.

As we approach the 5th anniversary of our adopted son and daughter moving in with us, it feels like a good time to reflect on how far we’ve come as a family. When we first heard about them their names were not their real ones, to protect them, and all we had was a little photo and a few lines of text –apparently our son was into motor racing (at the age of 3!) and our daughter was into Disney princesses (at the age of 6 – aren’t they all!?); later a short video where our future daughter was clearly building up to a tantrum but quickly got cut off by the social worker filming her!

So, onto meeting the foster carer, eventually going to matching panel (one panel was cancelled due to incomplete paperwork – a complete nightmare) and finally onto introductions. One of the criteria my son had put for his new family was that we should have ‘a big cat’. Well, we don’t have any lions or tigers, but we do have two wonderful cats who really didn’t know what hit them when our son & daughter arrived that summer…! Our son was a tiny, angry whirlwind, all cats and people were in danger if they got in his way. Our fat (ish) ginger tom was used to a quiet life and spent the first 6 weeks in total shock & disbelief, whereas our sociable tabby (his brother) was delighted to have two new friends to play with and loved it from day one! The cats have just been the most amazing pets for our little ones to help them settle in.

It’s a little bit like Noah’s Ark here (not on a grand scale) but we have 2 adults, 2 children, 2 cats and now 2 guinea pigs – I relented after a few months of badgering from our daughter and yes I do most of the feeding and cleaning out but they are surprisingly good fun – we all know cats have amazing personalities (don’t we!?) but I never expected guinea pigs to as well! So, I write this whilst my children are asleep upstairs, now aged 11 and 8, I could never have imagined that I’d have a son and daughter who are the most amazing and beautiful children in the world (of course). There’s a cat on each of their beds, having helped them settle down for the night, helped them settle into our home and family and been the most wonderful pets a child could wish for. The guinea pigs rattle away in their cage next to me – I’m too soft to put them out in the cold so they are indoor pets too! For anyone thinking of getting a pet for a child I’d say just go & do it, they will give the child so much love and affection, there’s nothing like it.

For more heartwarming experiences of pets and adoption check out The Colours In Me, a collection of writings and poems by adopted children and young people.

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