Naturally, yes, when I envisioned my family, I always thought a husband, two daughters and four elephants. Don’t we all? Yep, we’re a family of eight trying to be seated at a restaurant, which is hard enough itself without four members being 200-pound baby pachyderms. Never mind babywearing. If these new siblings grow any more, my size seven wraps won’t cut it anymore.
A little over a year ago, a friend posted an article about the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust on her Facebook page, and I was hooked. K-Hubs came home from work, and I said, “I want to foster orphaned elephants who live in Africa.” Without missing a beat, he said, “Sure, okay. Elephants it is.”
Here’s my thing. After having Twinkle, our family felt complete. While K-Hubs and I often talked pre-children about not having any children, we later changed our tune to wanting children and, more specifically, two. Once we had our two, that story didn’t change. But the feeling of not wanting more children didn’t seem right either. I realized it isn’t that I don’t want more children. Without having anything against either, I simply do not desire to be pregnant or give birth again. But the maternal-ness. Omigosh, the maternal-ness. The floodgates have opened. I have all sorts of motherly love to impart on any little who is interested. Apparently, this includes pachyderms. I also had that moment last year where it dawned on me, for as hard as it was having K-Hubs laid off, our worst days were still better than some regular days for individuals of the human and animal varieties. How could we just hoard all our “stuff” when others struggle to survive on so little?
So, over to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust it was. We started researching them and learning how our donation would go to help orphaned elephants return to their natural habitat. K-Hubs and I decided each of us would foster our own elephant so we each have a story to follow (Please note, I have provided links to each of our elephants, which are complete with photos and videos, some of which may be upsetting to some viewers). K-Hubs selected Boromoko, a lost little newborn male. For Twinkle we decided on Sities, a fellow snuggle-bug. I selected Zongoloni, my soul sister, and Toodle selected Ishanga through the following process:
ME: Would you like a boy elephant or a girl elephant for a sibling?
TOODLE: A girl, just like me!
ME: Okay. Do you want this elephant to be your age, younger than you, or older than you?
TOODLE: My age, just like me!
ME: Perfect. I found two girl elephants who are close-ish in age to you. I’ll read their stories to you, and you pick the one you like.
One story was about an elephant who was separated from her family, but little was known about her. The other elephant was literally rescused from the jaws of a lion. I thought the gruesome nature of that rescue might be a little too much for Toodle.
I was wrong.
TOODLE: Oh, definitely Ishanga. She was rescued from a lion. And I can help! I can rescue her from a lion, too, because I am a brave elephant!
I die. It’s moments like that that totally make up for sass and the “I want the OTHER song on the other station on the OTHER radio!” Of course, you know what this means, don’t you? Toodle will really think she is an elephant now living in a human household. We cannot wait to begin fostering our elephant families and start getting updates on where they are in Africa, who they are befriending, and how they are making it back out into their natural homes. Here’s an adorable video, narrated by Edward Norton, of a baby elephant, a member of the the Trust, warming up to Yao Ming. (If you have trouble playing the video, either refresh your page or click the video in the upper left of your Animal Planet screen.)
I cannot even with this overload of pachyderm cuteness. Stop it already. Because, seriously, I cannot handle it.