Saturday, September 19, 2009

Adopt a critter?

Some people are strongly opposed to the use of the word "adopt" in sponsorship situations (adopt-a-highway, adopt-an-animal).  Here's one such argument, taken from an article I found online:
Think it through with me for a minute: we try so hard to reassure our adopted children that adoption is permanent and forever. Then we tell them we are adopting an animal, say a gorilla, at the local zoo. We send the zoo some money and go visit "our" animal, then go home. Perhaps we visit once or twice more that year. The next year our family gets together to decide how to spend the money we've set aside for donation to the community. This time we decide to let someone else sponsor the gorilla this year because we'd rather try a whale.
I can understand their argument, but usually, I shrug it off and have decided there are bigger things to worry about.  Would I prefer a "Help a Highway" sign along the road and a "Sponsor a Cheetah" program at the zoo?  Sure.  But I feel like I can't change society's use of the word adopt, so I'd rather focus my energy on helping T be comfortable with the word, and understand its different uses.

At a recent trip to our nearby zoo I was pleasantly surprised to see this display:

Their "Befriend-An-Animal" program uses no "adoption" language.  I guess I shouldn't have been surprised.  This was in Madison, after all, which is a particularly progressive city (76 square miles surrounded by reality).  It was nice nonetheless.



rosemary said...

Yea, I don't care for "adopt an animal" slogans either. I wish more places would do stuff like this! That's funny about Madison being 76 square miles surrounded by reality. That sounds like Charlottesville (where we live).

Jay and Chandra and Penny Regan said...

I used to wonder what Penny would think about the phrase to "adopt" a pet. So, when we went to the humane society to get our cat I said nothing about it. But, I noticed that Penny picked up on the language being used all on her own. She didn't seem upset about it at all. In fact, she started using that term and it seemed to mean that she was proud of having Jenny become a permanent member of our family. So, if it doesn't bother her as an adoptee than I'm not going to make a big deal over it.

Hannah said...

I agree, there are so many words that have multiple meanings and uses....I've been one to get up in arms about this either. I'm far more offended by the other ignorant things said about adoption. :)