How adoption is portrayed in books (about animals) ... does it make you uncomfortable? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 09-03-2012, 06:26 AM - Thread Starter
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My 18 month old daughter loves the bubble guppies, a tv show. Its not like she watches much tv but every once in a while I need 5 minutes to myself :) Anyway, I picked up a book with the characters from the show and she LOVES it, wants me to read it a million times a day.


But... here's the issue I have. Its about 'adopting' a dog. I get that its not about people but they say "These puppies are up for adoption. That means we're looking for people to take them home and give them nice places to live" and then later the adult tells the kids "adopting a pet is a great thing to do". As someone who works in animal rescue I was really glad to see the message of rescue vs buy for kids, but I can't help but feel a little uncomfortable about the message of adoption in the book.


I am worried my kids will connect the puppy adoption message with their own adoption. What do other adoptiive parents do when they come across things like this? Scrap the book? Keep it anyway? Am I being overly sensitive here? Thanks!

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#2 of 7 Old 09-03-2012, 06:58 AM
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Could you just swap out rescue for adoption when you read the book?


For what it is worth, my eight year old loves that she is adopted and so are our pets.  She has a very complicated relationship with dogs, and we had a very special dog when we adopted her.  When he died, she found great comfort that he was adopted by our family and had become so completely part of our family.  Honestly, I would have never even made this connection, but we worked this through with her therapist.  I was a bit squeamish about the word adoption for pets before this therapy session, and now I am not.

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#3 of 7 Old 09-03-2012, 07:04 AM
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Interested in others thoughts too... we haven't adopted yet but I was reading or listening to something the other day and they brought up that issue about how we use the words for animals as well as children and that they were not the same thing at all.

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#4 of 7 Old 09-03-2012, 07:42 AM
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Adopting a pet is a similar thing if you take it seriously though, but is usually lesser. You bring that animal into your family and commit to it. It isn't quite one of your children and it's a shorter term relationship since they have shorter life span. But you don't give up on it lightly, because it's family. I had to remind my then 5 year old of that several times when we had hardships with our dog when we first got her and he said send her back. In our family we believe we're adopted children of God, to us that's a greater relationship family can only shadow, almost like pets can only shadow human family.

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#5 of 7 Old 09-03-2012, 08:08 AM
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I'm not offended or worried by the use of the word "adoption" in regards to animals. I think it's just an opportunity for a teachable moment.
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#6 of 7 Old 09-03-2012, 08:32 PM
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It doesnt offend me, as a PP said, i'd use it as a teachable moment. The word "adopt" is used in many different contexts and so its better to just talk about that early on. If its the story that we saw on an episode of Bubble Guppies where one of the boys (?? guppies?? whatever they are...) raises a puppy and the puppies are to be adopted out to new homes, but he's so sad because HE wanted the puppy. And in the end they surprise him, HE is the new owner. In a way, you could relate that to foster care adoption in that you take care of this child for a long time, not knowing if the child will stay, but in the end we were so happy that WE were the family chosen to be the adoptive family. The word "adoption" in terms of animals is meant to convey taking on a lifelong responsbility, not merely "buying property"...and there may be paperwork, a contract, etc. Of course not totally like human adoption but perhaps on a level the child can understand.

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#7 of 7 Old 09-04-2012, 10:06 AM
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We say "adoption" when we refer to how our dog joined our family, b/c that's the most accurate. We didn't buy him (although we paid an adoption fee to the rescue, which apparently doesn't completely cover the cost of care/feeding/vet bills for each dog). We didn't rescue him, as he was never in danger (at least not once he was delivered to the rescue organization). We definitely didn't buy him.


And we do treat our animals as if they were part of the family. The dog comes with us on outings when it's practical and we give him lots of love and attention, just like we do each other. He is treated differently because he is a dog and not a human, but just like between kids, he gets what HE needs, not what everyone else wants/has.


So to me, for us, it is very similar to adoption. We actually had to do paperwork for the rescue, and were matched with a dog who we then went to meet to decide if we thought he'd be a good fit for us. The only real difference is that a "disruption" if the match is not good is much easier with a dog than with a human, but for us, that's not an issue.

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