D O N A T E !
Adoptable dog at HRA

Support the Humane Rescue Alliance today!

Learn more

Preparing for Adoption

The Goal is Goodbye

The Goal is Goodbye

As a foster parent, you are a part of an animal’s story. If you care for baby animals you’re the beginning of their story. Others will be part of the middle chapter of an animal’s life. Some of you will even choose to be a part of the final chapters of an animal’s story by welcoming a fospice animal into your home. You are an important part of your foster animal's journey to find their new family. It truly is a gift to say goodbye to your foster because it means you’ve helped an animal find their place in the world.

What "Adoptable" Means
Being an Adoption Advocate
Meet and Greets
Next Steps
Tricky Topics
Handing off your Foster to their New Family

What 'Adoptable' Means

This just means that your foster animal has met all medical and behavior requirements to be placed in an adoptive home. Your case manager will guide you through the process of getting your foster ready for adoption. Once an animal reaches the adoptable stage they will be advertised on our website and our partner websites (like Pettango and PetFinder).

Being an Adoption Advocate

Having spent some time with the animal in your care, you are the best person to find a good match in a potential adopter. Wait until your animal is available for adoption to promote them to adopters and schedule meet and greets. If you have a kitten waiting for their shots or a dog who is recovering from a medical issue, enjoy your time together until they're made available for adoption.

  • Help complete your animal's online bioSend three photos and a cute description of your animal to [email protected]. Describe your animal’s unique qualities, special quirks, likes/dislikes, anything you think that makes your particular animal unique. Be creative, but please keep your language positive. Include an email address at which potential adopters can contact you. This information will appear on your animal’s profile, found at http://www.humanerescuealliance.org/adopt when he/she becomes available.
  • Respond to inquiries about your animal in a timely manner. Your animal's bio is now public on our website, so people may be contacting you for more information or to arrange a meet and greet. Your animal's bio will also be featured on any websites that cross-post available animals from the website--including allpaws.com, petango.com, Petfinder.com, and more.
  • Use social media to promote your animal. Do you have Facebook? Share your animal's photos with your friends. Savvy on Instagram? Several foster pets have gathered quite an Instagram following with their antics in the past, and this may be a good avenue for your foster animal.
  • Advertise your foster animal on Craigslist. Regular adoption procedures apply, but this is a good way to capture people who may be looking for pets online.

Quick Tips

We anticipate that you may see many potential adopters reaching out to you expressing interest in your foster. We suggest these QUICK TIPS to help you keep up with correspondence:

  • Create a response template for all of those first inquiries about your foster. Include all of the basics about your foster and any special care needs your foster may have so that you can just copy and paste this as your response. Then, when you get their response work from there to arrange a meet and greet.
  • If you are fostering a very popular type of animal, like kittens, set up an auto-responder giving the basics about each of the kittens in your care. Let potential adopters know you'll be in touch within the next 24-48 hours about the next steps.
  • When contacted by multiple interested adopters, contact the first few to schedule virtual meet and greets, and do one meet and greet per household. If two-three interested adopters all submit applications, it is very likely that one of them will end up adopting the animal. You can let others know that the animal already has several interested adopters and that you'll reach out if those fall through.

Meet and Greets

Kittens/Puppies/Small Animals

  • As much as possible, please schedule a virtual meet and greets using Facetime or some other video conferencing app.

Adult Cats

  • As much as possible, please schedule a virtual meet and greets using Facetime or some other video conferencing app.
  • As you and the potential adopter are comfortable, arrange for potential adopters to meet your foster cat in your home, practicing recommended social distancing and frequent hand washing.


  • As much as possible, please schedule a virtual meet and greets using Facetime or some other video conferencing app.
  • As you and the potential adopter are comfortable, you can arrange to meet at a local park (not a dog park) or area that will not have a lot of other people in the area for your meet and greet.

Next Steps

If the potential adopter wants to adopt, let them know about next steps:

  • You'll send them an email with the online adoption questionnaire. (Your case manager can provide you with this link.)
    • PLEASE save this link so you have it handy when you need to send it to a potential adopter.
  • Questionnaires will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis, so encourage them to get it completed ASAP.
    • Inside tips -- Our adoption process is first-come, first-served by application timestamp, but adopters must meet the animal first. If you give them the questionnaire link before the meet and greet, we may not be able to fairly determine who was "first in line" to adopt your foster animal. When you send the link, make sure they know that we can only hold one animal for each adopter (or two if they plan to adopt two cats at the same time).
    • Wait for a coup[e of days after sending the adoption questionnaire before contacting more interested adopters. Out adoption staff will be contacting anyone who fills out the questionnaire to schedule counseling, and we'll let you know when your animal has been adopted. Ideally, we'd like to avoid having too many disappointed potential adopters who have met the animal, so it's best to hold off on more meet and greets at this stage.
  • Adoption staff will be in touch to schedule a remote counseling session and discuss the next steps to finalize the adoption.
  • Adoption staff will confirm with you once the adoption has been finalized and let you know when you can hand over your foster to his/her new family.
    • Get in touch with the adopter to schedule a time for them to pick up your foster animal within 24-28 hours. At this point, your foster animal belongs to their new adopter, so it's best to get them into their new home (and honeymooning with their new family) as soon as we can.

Tricky Topics

NO trial runs or sleepovers.

  • If an adopter asks if they can take your foster home before the adoption is finalized, do not allow them to do this. Let them know that if they have concerns about living with your foster they should contact our adoptions team so that a counselor can talk through their concerns.

An adopter has issues with completing the online form.

You have concerns about a potential adopter.

  • Please reach out to our adoptions team using one of the above email addresses.

Tips for Maintaining Social Distancing while Handing off Fosters to their Adoptive Family

Cats/Kittens/Small Animals

  • Have the adopters bring their carrier and leave it by your door.
  • Adopters step back at least 6 feet.
  • Take the carrier inside of your door, close the door.
  • Place your foster in the carrier.
  • Place the carrier outside of your door, close the door.
  • The new family picks up and goes on their merry way.
  • Wash your hands!


Option 1

  • Meet in a completely fenced-in area (this could be your yard, the adopter's yard, or a park).
  • Ask the adopters to bring tasty treats.
  • Stand six feet apart.
  • Have the adopter use the treats to lure the dog over to them.
  • Drop the leas once the dog is to the adopter (if you need to change harness/leash/collar this would be the time to do that).
  • Adopters pick up the leash and go their merry way.
  • Wash your hands!

Option 2

  • Adopters drive up to the designated meeting location.
  • Unlock their car door.
  • You put the dog in their car and close the door (if you need to change harness/leash/collar this would be the time to do that).
  • Adopters go on their merry way.
  • Wash your hands!