He’s a loggerhead sea turtle weighing over 200 lbs, and I adopted him for my kids a few weeks ago. Fred has been a resident sea turtle at the Padre Island Sea Turtle Rescue center for a while now. He can’t be released again. He’s already been released 3 times, after the 3rd time a turtle is stranded at shore, the Sea Turtle Rescue center proclaims them a resident turtle. Fred is missing his front right flipper. When he was found the first time, a fisherman’s hook was so imbedded into his flipper and gangrene had set in, the only way to save his life was to amputate his flipper. He was released, and returned stranded to shore hurt by predators two additional times over a course of 5 years.
Wondering why I adopted Fred? I have a daughter dying to be a marine biologist. She has always been fascinated by the ocean and the animals in it. I couldn’t be more proud, I have always been too. She’s 11, I realize she may change her mind a thousand times before she pursues any career. That’s fine with me. The more she changes, the more she’s growing. My thought was, if this is what she’s interested in, this is the best chance to encourage her. I do everything I can to show my girls that they can do anything they want to do. I felt like by adopting Fred, I not only showed her the value of her interests, I have shown Both my kids the value of preserving the world around us and taking care of it. My youngest is 5. Marine biology may be too complicated for her to understand, but she loves animals too. I felt like this would give both of them a chance to see first hand how we have to work together to save our environment. My kids don’t litter now, but I guarantee you neither of those kids will ever leave trash on a beach after adopting Fred. They know his story, and how he wound up in a tank to save his life.
It was defining moment in my life, and hopefully theirs, when we returned to the car and I handed them the adoption folder for Fred. His certificate of adoption is now framed in the hallway between their rooms. They have received a letter, and can get online to see what he’s doing via webcam. They are so proud. We continue to discuss marine biology and various aspects of the oceans. They are often telling me where they’d like to visit the beach next. Fred comes up in conversation around here almost daily. Sometimes I smile as those conversations end because I know they will always remember that I adopted Fred for them simply because I wanted to. It was my way of demonstrating to them that I support their interest. I would never say they can’t achieve something, and often kids have to see that rather than be told.
Of course, when I called my best friend and told her I adopted him she replied, ”where are you going to put that?” Just the mere thought that me bringing home a sea turtle wouldn’t surprise her absolutely made me proud too. My sister was with me that day and she made me feel good too. She said “you always encourage them in the best ways”. It takes a village parenting kids, it’s often nice to hear your dearest friends understand your efforts.
As for Fred’s adoption, my kids have shown everyone they know pictures of him. They have watched him with their friends and shared his story. Maybe all those kids will think twice before littering and causing any further harm to the animals.