Ferrets and Foster Care Advocates:  What Shall We Call Them?

My daughter came to me recently and mentioned that someday she’d like to own a business.  Upon further discussion, I realized that we were not actually talking about her entrepreneurial aspirations.  She is an animal lover and she had discovered that a group of ferrets is called a “business”. While I’m pretty sure that owning a lot of ferrets is a bad idea, I’ve had hilarious visions of ferrets with sport jackets sitting in cubicles making sales calls to, well, whoever.

Telling this story to some friends prompted us to do further research into the names of various groups of animals.  Some of these will come as no surprise and some of them are surprisingly awesome:

  • A sleuth of bears
  • An obstinacy of buffalo
  • A crash of rhinoceroses
  • A caravan of camels
  • A glaring of cats
  • A quiver of cobras
  • A bask of crocodiles
  • A murder of crows
  • A drove of donkeys
  • A convocation of eagles
  • A parade of elephants
  • A cast of falcons
  • A stand of flamingos
  • A charm of foxes
  • An army of frogs
  • A gaggle of geese
  • A tower of giraffes
  • A bloat of Hippopotami
  • A cackle of Hyenas
  • A troop of kangaroos
  • A conspiracy of lemurs
  • A leap of leopards
  • A pride of lions
  • A parliament of owls
  • A pandemonium of parrots
  • A prickle of porcupines
  • An unkindness of ravens
  • A shiver of sharks
  • A stench of skunks
  • A scurry of squirrels
  • An ambush of tigers
  • A knot of toads
  • A gang of turkeys
  • A colony of weasels

(these were found at grammar.yourdictionary.com)

What I especially love about these is that they sound utterly unscientific but are helpfully descriptive.  The collective noun for so many of these clearly tells you what these animals are like or what they intend to do to you (i.e. a crash of rhinoceroses).  

So I was thinking:  What do you call it when you get a whole bunch of foster care advocates in the same place?  

We need a word for it, because it is happening more and more.  It is happening at a national level like at CAFO2019 this past month in Louisville. It is happening in many, many states.  And it is happening in communities like yours all over the country. Groups of foster care advocates are gathering regularly to build trust with each other and work together to see foster care transformed in their own counties.

One thing that foster care people understand better than anyone is that we can’t do it alone.  The journey is too hard and too long to go it alone.  Whether it is parenting kids from hard places in our homes, finding forever families for waiting children in our communities or engaging churches in foster care, we are better together and we know it.

So what should we call these groups of people that drag their exhausted selves out of bed in the morning to fight for other children and families in their communities everyday?

I’ve been brainstorming a few options:

  • A transformation…
  • A proclamation…
  • A dedication…
  • A faithfulness…
  • A journey…
  • An anticipation …
  • A hopefulness…
  • A renewal…
  • A restoration…
  • A reclamation…
  • A redemption…

…of foster care advocates.

So pick one that suits you and the other crazy people in your pack and keep doing the great work you are doing.  Whether you see yourselves as “a restoration” or as “a faithfulness” of foster care advocates (or any of the others), know that there are people praying for you and cheering you on.  More than enough is possible in the county where you live and, Lord willing, your small and mighty band is going to be there to see it happen.

P.S. If you consider yourself part of a group of foster care advocates in your community, be sure to sign the new MORE THAN ENOUGH declaration at MoreThanEnoughTogether.org and ask the others in your group to do the same.  

This post originally appeared in our Foster Roster e-newsletter which is delivered each Friday. We keep it short and sweet and fill it with practical articles, videos, blog posts and other tools for leaders like you working to help kids and families in foster care.  To sign up, go to http://bit.ly/1rwn6eO.