It's no secret that I'm a huge animal lover. In discussions with people, I refer to all the animals that live with me "my children." Some of the people on the other side of the dialogue really seem to get it, and they even smile, knowing how important my animals are to me. Others have told me, "they're not really your children," which I find to be a little frustrating because I do everything for my animals that a mother would do for their human children.
I feed them, buy them clothes (collars, leashes, sweaters, etc.), comfort them, take them to the "doctor," show them affection, bathe them, buy them toys, participate in activities with them, and of course, love them. I am also planning on enrolling Angel into school to become a therapy dog. While I may not use the English language to speak to my kids, we still communicate.
My animals depend on me to care for them, provide them shelter, and love them unconditionally. I believe that they view me as their mother.
I know that I'm also not the only person who views their animals as their children. Recently, a couple at my parents' church requested prayer for their daughter whose dog had recently died. She unable to have children herself, and she'd decided to adopt a dog instead. That dog became so important to her, that the loss of the dog was devastating.
I've been asked when Aaron and I will have children, and I think that most people assume that young couples will have children, and of course, I don't fault anyone for assuming. Some seem confused as to why Aaron and I have chosen not to have kids. While there are many reasons, the answer is pretty simple: we don't feel like we have to have our own children in order to nurture children, and having our own kids doesn't fit into our plans for life.
We hope to be able to nurture kids in the church that we go to, our sibling's kids (if they decide to have them), and our friends' children. I can't wait to be the fun aunt!
We also plan to continue to spend a lot of our time volunteering to help animals and pursuing our goals of traveling.
If we ever change our minds and want to have children, we will adopt a child. But whatever our choice, we are determined to avoid being persuaded by others' thoughts and expectations of what we should do.