How do you close an adoption case? You start by signing an adoption contract. In most cases, this is merely a formality – because after the pre-screening, visits, and interactions, the decision is pretty much set, for both the foster and adopter.
Probably the kitty is the only clueless one (though I find they somehow anticipate and know something’s up). The formality of a contract is a good way to put visibility of expectations on both sides, instead of assuming mutual agreement. It is rather common-sensical, but black-and-white never hurts. Also, a contract helps to avoid future disputes and disagreements, and remind BOTH foster and adopter of their obligations. The foster should know to leave the cat and his/her family to get on with life, and the adopters should respect the foster’s need to get an update once in a while, and to take note of things he/she feel strongly about – eg for us one of the key things is food.
It is very rare, but the contract signing is actually the last filter in the screening process. If an adopter baulks at signing it, gigantic red flags will swamp the world. When we first started, I had felt silly to want to sign a contract with adopters, because really, it’s logic and sense, and I feel awful that it looks like I’m the asshole corporate raider who lords it over the nice start-up I’m forcing a hostile takeover on. But since Dawn talked about an incident last month, I’m convinced the contract is a necessary evil in adopting.
“Someone wrote in to adopt a cat. The adoption team sent a contract and asked her to sign it. The foster wrote back to complain the potential adopter would not sign. The potential adopter then wrote to the volunteer and said that she did not want to sign the contract. She said it was like signing a maid employment contract (?) and that she might as well just pick a cat up from the street. She said that if she did not want the cat anymore, then she would not feel ‘guilty’ dumping the cat back on the street unlike what would happen if presumably she adopted the cat from someone.”
These type of adopters are the ones we would kick ourselves for, if we did release a cat to, and find out after the fact. Actually, I’d like to flay her alive. There must be give-and-take of course. We try to share info on we find that may affect the cat’s well-being.
Again using food as an example, we share the info we’ve got, but we do not force the adopter to feed the same thing we do, the brand references are only that- references, except when it’s brands-that-you-shouldn’t-feed-your-cats. Still, the contract has its purpose, and that’s something both foster and adopter need to understand.
(Created: 10 Apr 06)