I am about to do much rambling.
Fostering Steve has gone beyond my wildest expectations. He improved so rapidly, though he still has a long way to go. Even better, he's found an amazing home, something that wouldn't have happened without this blog. It will be difficult to see him go, but I'm so happy for him to start his new life!
Several of my birds were intended to be fosters, but we fell in love with them and kept them. Although we've fallen in love with Steve, we promised ourselves that we would not keep him, and we're keeping that promise. I truly believe that Steve will have a better life in his new home than he would have had with us -- it's a much better fit. Rationally, we know that we can make a difference for more birds through fostering. Emotionally, it's hard to send them into that unknown.
We can work with damaged birds, get them to the point where they can happily live in a home, and find them that good home. I think it will always be hard to see them leave, but I'm planning on staying in touch with their new owners, will always take the bird back if problems arise, and I have 100% control over where the bird goes (an agreement I made with the rescue when we agreed to foster.) As Thomas said, we'll act as a sort of parrot halfway house.
Since I am a planner, I was thinking ahead to the time after Steve has gone. Should we just wait a week or two and bring the neediest bird into our home, or should we leave that space open until a truly needy bird is surrendered? That's what I thought my biggest dilemma was. Until this weekend.
A bird was surrendered to the rescue, in horrible shape. A long-time rescuer and the person who was the liaison for bringing this bird to the facility where I volunteer, wrote that, "This amazon by far is the worst case of abuse I have ever seen. I am still thinking about him and crying." His condition has brought several other long-time rescuers (including myself) to tears and sleepless nights. They weren't sure he'd survive the night -- it was that bad.
What to do?
He would be at my house right now if Steve's space were open. Is it fair to Steve to add this additional upheaval to his life, when he's about to go through so much change (currently unbeknownst to him)?
Steve goes home three weeks from Thursday. Can this new bird wait a month to come into our home? I actually have not gone up to see him yet; my information is based entirely on pictures and discussions with the woman who runs the rescue. I will go up during my normal time on Thursday, meet him, and discuss his condition further. His vet appointment is today, so we'll know more about his condition after that. And then we'll have some decisions to make.
Update -- I had made the decision that we couldn't bring anyone in to the house until after Steve leaves, but it was all unnecessary. At this bird's vet appointment, it was discovered that his condition was far worse than expected, and the only humane thing to do was euthanize.