Let me preface what I’m about to say with this fact: I am a huge animal lover. My husband and I have two dogs and one cat—our fur babies outnumber us—and two of them were rescued. So, to you animal lovers out there, I’m with you . . . but also highly disappointed in where society’s priorities lie as a whole.
Have you ever searched for the word “adoption” on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter? I’d be willing to bet that most of the content you saw was about animal adoption. Six of the nine “Top Posts” on Instagram related to the hashtag #adoption show pictures of cats or dogs. Sub-hashtags include #animalrescue and #rescueanimals. Go down a little further, and you’ll see the same ratio for the “Most Recent” posts. Scrolling through Twitter, it is largely the same, overwhelmingly populated with #AdoptDontShop hashtags and blurbs about how adopting the puppy from the pound “changed someone’s life, and the dog’s.”
It disappoints me on many levels that the discussion of adoption on the Internet is centered on pets when, on any given day in the United States, there are over 420,000 kids in the foster care system. On top of that, more than 250,000 children enter the system every year! We are experiencing an epidemic of family-less childhoods, and something must change.
Take a moment and try to imagine a childhood without a home to go to. Try to picture birthday parties without a family, or learning to drive a car without a parent or guardian there to teach you. It’s heartbreaking to imagine because most of us never had to experience anything like it. Thousands and thousands of kids are experiencing this every single day, and nobody is talking about it.
Our most vulnerable population is in the midst of a crisis, and mainstream culture wants us to care more about what’s cute and easy and comfortable. Really, we should all be very uncomfortable right now, because outside of our own little bubble we call home, there are tens of thousands of kids wishing they had a little bubble somewhere to call their own. As a nation that cares about its people, we should be bringing awareness to this perpetuating human crisis, not sitting in our comfort zones pretending it doesn’t exist.
For the number of times I share a picture of my dog, I share something about adoption ten more times. I am on a mission to infuse social media (and the internet in general) with foster care and adoption facts, resources, and stories. I plant as many seeds as I can wherever I go with the faith that they will bear fruit and change the life of at least one waiting child—or adoptee looking for someone that understands what it’s like.
I challenge you, readers, to join me and #RedefineAdoption on social media for the sake of kids waiting for families. Let’s come together to start a movement on one of the most powerful human platforms and start a trend of caring more for humanity than what’s comfortable.