President’s Letter

“I’m adopted.”

Seriously, I AM adopted. Being adopted defines me and has propelled me into a career which has always included caring for others less fortunate. Here I am, now at your Rancho Coastal Humane Society, and it has been quite a journey to take me where I was destined to be.

My parents are wonderful people. Note, I do not say “adoptive parents” because there is no need to qualify their status. They rescued me from an orphanage when I was eight months old and welcomed me into a home which was already full of love. I had two brothers, both adopted through the same agency. My parents were told a story about my beginnings – most of which I have now learned with DNA testing not to be true – and it was romantic and full of wonderful, warm details about a mother who loved me enough to give me a better home than she could provide.

I knew I was adopted at a very early age – before I went to school. My parents worried that my classmates would make fun of me because I was adopted, so they bought a beautiful, two-volume boxed book which explained all about the wonders of adoption. I read those books over and over again, often out loud to my little brother when he was too young to understand. I thought I was “so special” because I was adopted. I never wanted for more. My parents were loving, devoted, supportive, encouraging, brave, selfless people who gave me what I needed to succeed in all aspects of my life. They taught me patience, kindness, loyalty, respect and discipline. My parents wanted more for us than they had growing up. Their love and almost-70 years of marriage shows me the power of “forever.” I never changed my name when I married as a tribute to my parents, who were so proud that high-schoolers raised a daughter who became a lawyer!

In my legal career, I searched for opportunities to represent families seeking adoption, to bring children from under-developed countries into the United States, to recognize a “parent” who raised a child of another, and to formalize legally the bonds borne of a lifetime of loving and caring. Representing adoptive parents and children simply made me happy.

Of course, my husband Mitch and I adopted – three special needs Yorkies named Gilbert, Lucy and Madeleine. For a while, our family included a RCHS adoptee named Martha, who was named “Grammy” while she was in the shelter. Martha had congestive heart disease and was given a dismal prognosis of 6-12 months. We had a glorious 2 years with Martha and have room in our hearts and home for another. Candidates need only “woof!”

So, here I am, at your Rancho Coastal Humane Society, presiding over adoptions of companion animals. Could there be a more perfect position? Every day, a companion animal finds a forever home. Every day,[1] a family finds room in their hearts and their homes for a new “furbaby.” Every day, someone leaves the shelter with a grin, a sparkle in the eye, and a heart full of hope, promise and love. I have learned that adoptions take time, but that the love arrives instantly. I love my job!

[1] The lawyer in me needs to do this:  “Every day (except Tuesday, when the shelter is closed). . .”