Cottontailcat's Guide to Adoption
You've researched, budgeted, talked to your pets, and bought some supplies. Your pets are fed, happy, and clean. They have an abundance of clothing, books, toys, and those useless but oh-so-tempting gift items. You have less than four pets... and you're ready for another.
So what's next? Create a brand new pet, search and fight for a perfect name, and fork over the hundreds of thousands (or millions!) for that perfect paintbrush? Of course not! There are thousands of perfectly good pets in the pound. But not your dream pet, you say? Are you sure? Many of the abandoned pets, probably out of fear and shyness, need to be called by name. There are several fansites that list some of these names, but you can try it yourself by calling out some random names to see if any pets respond. Remember to have some neopoints on hand for the adoption fee, and remember, if you've been in Neopia for less than four months you won't be allowed to adopt (or even see) some levels and colors.
Still can't find that perfect pet? Not to worry. Neopian adoptions aren't limited to those poor homeless pets, many UFA (up for adoption) pets are fostered by loving owners working to find them a forever home! These pets can be found on the Pounds Neoboards, several fansites, a few guilds, and many user profiles. Most UFA pets have been adopted from the pound by their foster owner, then zapped by the Lab Ray, painted, trained, morphed, or bettered in some other way.
UFA foster pets tend to have an application process. This usually involves a couple of rules - often along the lines of asking you to truly care about the pet as an individual, take a pledge of good ownership and/or read some form of specific adoption literature. You will often need to have lived in Neopia for at least four months and have less than four pets, in order to be allowed by TNT's rules to adopt the pet. You should also still have a transfer for this month - that is, not have transferred any pets through the pound, whether on the receiving or sending end, in the last month.
When applying to adopt a pet from another user, write out your application on a document outside of Neopets. This way, if your absent-minded Blumaroo's Snowbunny chews through your laptop cord or your baby Chia spills milk into your mother board, your application is safe. Er, well, maybe not in that last scenario. Be sure to include several well-thought out sections of information, such as an 'about me', your plans for the pet, why you want their pet, why you're the best owner for the pet, the pet's personality as you see it, your other pets, and any extra sections you can dream up - these will earn you major points in Foster Land.
The most interesting applications are those with a fun theme. Maybe you want to hire the pet to work in your shop and write the application as a request to hire. You could write an acceptance letter asking the pet to come attend your school with your other pets, or a draft letter to ask them to protect your family during battles. Whatever the pet's role, consider if you can reflect this in your application formatting. Some of these may work better via Neomail, but you might also like to use a layout on one of your petpages to reflect the theme of your application. Remember, though, no foster owner can force you to apply via petpage - this is purely optional!
If your pet has no specific "role" in your Neopian family, perhaps an interview between you and the pet or a conversation between one of your current pets and the pet you wish to adopt would be the way to go! Did your pink Bruce bump into the snow Kacheek you're after at the Igloo Garage Sale? Did your Ixi's Barbat steal a bite from the UFA Grundo's green pepper omelette? Maybe you simply met them at a foster meet-and-greet and struck up a conversation to get to know them better. Write out dialogue like a script or make it a full-fledged story - be creative! Comics or artwork would spice up any application, but an app primarily in graphic novel format could to win over even the most attached foster owner. Do what feels right, but be sure to flaunt your talents a little bit. Try to stand out against the crowd.
Once your application is typed out, edited and ready to go, you're almost ready to submit. Yes, almost! Re-read the rules on the lookup of the pet you wish to adopt. Are you SURE they're up for adoption? If you are, check the name of their owner and the account the rules ask you to neomail. When these are one and the same, you can use the "Neomail Owner" button right on the pet's lookup. Other times, the pet will be held on a side account and messages should be directed to a main one, in which case you can type in their name manually on the neomail page. Finally, double-check the pet's gender, name, and other such stats and run through your application to be certain you have them right. Now send in that application and wait! Remember not to harass the owner for a response, they will neomail you when they're ready - this is a surefire way to NOT get the pet.
Now that you know the various ways to add to your Neopian family, you're ready to open your home. No matter the method you choose, be sure to follow the rules and adopt a pet you really love - there's no sense in adopting just to throw your pet back to the pound. Now, go off and search for your dreamies, and remember the rules of good applications. Best of luck to you and all the hopeful adoptees out there!