One of the worries surrounding the home study process regards having pets in the home. Will owning a pet automatically disqualify you from the process? The short answer: no.
During the home study interviews and home visits, if you have a cat or dog, your social worker will want to meet and observe them. If your family pet interacts well with children and other people, and is current in all of their vaccinations, you should have nothing to worry about. In fact, raising infants around cats and dogs have amazing benefits!
1. Pet Allergies Reduced
We all hate allergies. The runny noses and itchy eyes make daily life pretty miserable. Pet allergies, especially, can lead to some challenging choices down the road if the symptoms cannot be remedied. However, raising a pet around an adopted infant has proven to drastically reduce the risk of pet allergies. Studies show that babies who grow up around cats and dogs develop stronger immune systems. This includes lowering an infant’s risk of contracting a respiratory illness or asthma later in life as well.
2. Increased Physical Activity
Without those nasty symptoms, your infant will have more energy to play and engage in other activities. Having a pet roaming around with your infant can encourage this. Especially if you have a dog. By nature, dogs are more active creatures. So, as your child grows, the dog can enhance their desire for more physical activity. From scooting and crawling after them, to playing and taking them on walks later on.
Cats can teach your child about hide and seek, and enhance motor skills with the games of chase and climbing up and down stairs.
3. Lower Stress Levels
Cats and dogs have an amazing tendency to make us laugh and lower our stress levels. Something about their calming and loving personalities. Your child will feel this, too. This will, in turn, lower your stress levels because you know that your child is safe with your pet and enjoying their life.
There’s nothing quite like watching your infant laugh and clap as they watch your pet. Or how adorable it is to watch your pet and child curl up together during nap time. It has been said that a cat’s purr is therapeutic and assists the body in healing infections.
4. Pets Teach Coping Skills
The adoption journey for an adoptee is fraught with seasons of feeling rejected and abandoned by their birth parents. This can cause emotions of loss and grief. Characteristically, both cats and dogs can pick up on human emotion. They can detect and sympathize with our anxiety, fear and depression, and have an innate sense of how to respond. In the moments where your child is experiencing this, pets can be a source of comfort and safety, and teach your child how to better cope. If your child begins to withdraw, your pet can make them smile and offer their unconditional, gentle support.
Research shows that pets can improve your child’s self-esteem, and allow them to develop social and coping skills without a fear of rejection because of the pet’s natural forgiving, loving nature. Also, if your adoptee is an only child, owning a cat or dog can curb loneliness and provide companionship.
5. Faithful Protector Secured
Pets can make excellent protectors. This, of course, is a bit truer of a dog than a cat. But, once your pet has claimed your child as “its human,” you can be sure that they will faithfully protect them to the best of their abilities. Should a stranger come up to them, or if they feel a situation is unsafe, the safety of your child will become their top priority.
Raising your adopted child and pet together can teach so many valuable lessons. Another priceless gem is responsibility. Pets and children take a lot of daily care. As your child grows, they can learn the importance of feeding, playing and picking up after your pet. Show them how to scoop out the cat’s litter box, or how to clean the yard after your dog finishes going to the bathroom.
Not only will this ingrain responsibility with your child, but it will also encourage social skills and relationship bonding.
Adoption Choices of Nevada
If you are currently in the process of adopting a baby and have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact, Adoption Choices of Nevada. You may visit the website here or contact us by 775-825-4673 (Reno Office) or 702-474-4673 (Las Vegas Office). Our hours are Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm PST.
Help Make a Difference
Adoption Choices, Inc. is partnering with Crowdrise, a fundraising website for nonprofits, to help our adoptive parents and birth parents with much needed financial assistance. We understand that expenses keep clients from fulfilling their dreams. Both with birth parents making a plan for adoption, and with adoptive parents growing their family. It is our mission to provide financial assistance through grants and scholarships, awarded annually in November, in honor of National Adoption Month. Funds assist adoptive parents with matching and placements, adoption finalization and helping birth mothers improve their lives through higher education — and much more.
However, we can’t do it alone. Please read up on our programs and donate money where you are able. Your donation will make a huge impact.
About the Author
Rachel Robertson is a published journalist, book editor, certified Publishing Specialist, and aspiring novelist. She graduated from Central Washington University (CWU) in March 2011, having found her writing voice within the Creative Nonfiction genre and grew to work as a freelance book editor for small presses all across the United States.
In June 2018, she embarked on an internship with Virginia Frank and came on board with Adoption Choices Inc., Not for Profit 501(c)(3), in December 2018. Between her mutual passion with adoption and surrogacy, and her own personal history with adoption, Rachel is excited to research and share topics each week that will spread awareness and better serve the faithful patrons of Adoption Choices Inc.
When Rachel isn’t haunting her local Starbucks or Barnes and Noble, she’s avidly pouring over her Writer’s Digest subscription or cozying up with a cup of tea and book. She currently resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her beloved wife and Border Collie.
Care.com, Inc. “Getting A Domestic Cat: 15 Benefits For Your Kids.” Care.com, www.care.com/c/stories/6134/getting-a-domestic-cat-15-benefits-for-your/.
Mack, Lindsay E. “7 Surprising Benefits To Adopting A Dog When You Have A Newborn – Yes, Really.” Romper, Romper, 17 Dec. 2018, www.romper.com/p/7-surprising-benefits-to-adopting-a-dog-when-you-have-a-newborn-because-yes-they-do-exist-8886441.
“Pets and Home Study: Are Animals a Problem for Adoption?” Adoptive Families, 25 Oct. 2016, www.adoptivefamilies.com/adoption-process/pets-and-home-study/.