Why not me?

By Nancy Black

Yikes! Dallas Animal Services is over capacity! Hundreds of dogs and cats are facing death if they aren’t adopted ASAP!

It’s a good thing we don’t have a law in this country allowing humans to be euthanized due to overcrowding. Because more than 6,000 children in Texas are waiting to be adopted, too! 

I know, I know. There is a lot more responsibility involved when adopting a person as opposed to an animal. But, when you think about it, both require pretty much the same thing: food, water, education and love. And, ideally, a bed of their own.

Not everyone is in a position to adopt a child. But all children up for adoption need a home. Infants through teenaged children are placed in foster homes because they have been removed from their own families. It may be from abuse or neglect, but it’s always because of problems that endanger their safety.

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services has a department dedicated to finding foster and forever homes for children in our state. One way the Texas Adoption Resource Exchange (TARE) encourages people to adopt a child is by sending out weekly newsletters with pictures and links to children who need homes.

“Children never outgrow the need for parents,” the TARE site states. “But for thousands of Texas children without permanent, loving homes, the wait to be adopted may be long and discouraging. Regardless of their age, most of these children still hold out hope that someday, someone will open their heart and give them a place they can call their own.”

There are a number of “myths” about adoption TARE debunks:

The “independence” myth 

Some people think teens automatically become adults at 18 and outgrow the need for parents. The truth is, regardless of their age, teens draw on the relationship with their families for strength and support long after they turn 18. Without the bonds of adoption, a young adult has no such safety net.

The “unwanted child” myth 

Saying no one wants an older child is an easy way to let ourselves off the hook. In many extended families, there is an aunt or an uncle, grandparents, or a mature individual or couple who have love to share. Those with a true commitment to raising children know their relationship will continue past the teen years into young adulthood and beyond.

The “un-adoptable child” myth

Some think older child adoptions are rare, and these children may not want to be adopted. Too often, however, teens are faced with the uncertainty surrounding the concept of adoption, not the warm reality of a family willing to share their lives. Prospective adoptive parents or foster parents can help older children realize the rewards of being with permanent families.

The “older children are too hard to raise” myth

Being an adoptive parent or foster family isn’t easy, but just as in birth families, adults get through with a good sense of humor and tolerance for a growing youth. Anyone who adopts or fosters an older child must be comfortable with the fact that they will make mistakes. It takes love, courage, endurance, commitment and faith. Most of all, it takes someone who cares and can advocate for that child.

You don’t even have to be married to adopt, a myth I believed before I did my research. Single or married, you could meet the requirements to be a foster parent or to adopt a child. If you’re interested in opening your heart and home, either as a foster parent or an adoptive one, visit dfps.state.tx.us/Adoption_and_Foster_Care.

If you only have room for a furry friend right now, visit dallascityhall.com/departments/dallas-animal-services.

Love is all they need.