Adoption: A Lost Art?
It has come to my attention over the years since the new transfer system was released that the “trading” of Neopets has come along. Whatever your moral position may be, this is not what this article is about, not directly at least. Adoption agencies are the focus of this humble article, and how slowly, due to trading, they are fading away. It's a terrible shame and something should be done about it.
A Noble History
Long before there was trading there was this magical place called the “pound” where cold, heartless owners would abandon their pets to (hopefully) be adopted by a new owner who would love them unconditionally. The pound itself was not wholly bad, though that shady Techo who runs it does not take very good care of those in his charge. Often pets that are left there for long periods become sick, starving, and all around unhappy. Some loving Neopians would adopt pets from the pound, paint or zap them, and return them with the hope that it will quickly be adopted and kept forever. It was a fantastic time.
After the new pound was released, there was this new section labeled “transfers” (often recognized by the Robot Hissi standing at its entrance). Unforeseen were the effects of this “transfer” system. Neopians, now being able to send a pet straight to another owner, began to trade one pet for another. Slowly adoption agencies that had formerly thrived began to fade into the background, for not many would give up a pet for free when they could receive a “better” one in a trade. Some noble Neopians still run humble adoption agencies, myself included, but nowadays the Neopian Pound board is filled with people just looking for trades.
What Is An “Adoption Agency?”
For those of you who have no idea as to what I am talking about, an adoption agency is an agency run by private citizens of Neopia. They are required to charge nothing for the pets they choose to adopt out (hence the dwindling popularity) and often, though not always, are run by those who have access to the Lab Ray. Many agencies have themes; for example, mine revolves around the (somewhat) lovable Swamp Witch, Sophie. This is my agency. Many focus on a special species, I have even seen a Lab Ray themed agency. No matter the skin or theme, at the core the purpose of these little sites are to find homes for those poor pets that have been abandoned by their last owners.
What is a “Foster?”
Since I am explaining adoption agencies, I will go ahead and explain what a foster owner is as well. Those who own adoption agencies cannot create twenty accounts, each with its own lab map, to fill an agency. To help out, some generous Neopians will agree to host pets that will one day be adopted out, caring for them, making them more appealing, giving them petpets (sometimes), and keeping them happy. The fosters are often recognized in a special thank you section, because of all the hard work and loving care they put forth to make those pets' lives better.
The Problem With Trading
Though the issue of the morality of trading is very polarized, TNT has stated that although they don't approve of the idea of trading, it's legal so long as each trade involves a pet ratio of one to one and no pet is paid for. Meaning no giving “extras” for trades. At its core it is not maniacal, though it causes quite a conundrum for those of us with adoption agencies. First, Neopians are less willing to become Fosters for agencies, which adds a lot of strain onto the owner, and prevents agencies from growing. Second, those pets that do get adopted out are often traded away for other pets, promoting the cycle of trading and disheartening those who took such great care for the pet before it was of “value”. Third, there's an entire generation of Neopians who know only of trading. Those who don't know about adoption agencies can't possibly support them. Lastly, to get publicity for an adoption agency when the boards are swamped with offers for trades is nearly impossible. Relatively few people visit board on adoption, and even fewer are interested in adopting.
How Adoption Is A Dying Art
For reasons stated above, trading is far more popular than adoption. Though trading agencies have started to pop up, high quality adoption agencies are a dying breed, much like unconverted pets and classic neohomes. Some may say that adoption is “old fashioned”, which, in a way, it is. Though nowhere near as old as say... Tyrannia, adoption agencies have a colorful (excuse the pun) history although not much of a bright future. Unless something in the minds of Neopians change, we may see all adoption agencies vanish by Year 15.
What You Can Do To Help
You may be thinking, “Well, this all sounds sad, but what can one lone Neopian do to fix this?” Good news is you're not alone! You could start a guild promoting adoption over trade, become a Foster for a quality agency, talk about this problem on the boards, link back to this article in your signature, talk to your neofriends about it, dedicate a petpage to supporting adoption... the possibilities are endless! Though please don't harass those who participate in trading. Link here, give them information to consider, but being rude or hateful will only sour them to our cause. Just remember that every little bit of publicity helps. If everyone who reads this article supports an agency by putting even just 1 pet up for adoption, imagine the possibilities! Adoption could be put back on the map as a viable option for pets to find a new home and for owners to get the pet of their dreams. No matter how you feel about trading, support adoption agencies.